Night of Champions to honor Bearkats

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The annual Night of Champions event will be held in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

The Night of Champions is a celebratory event held to highlight this year’s accomplishment of Sam Houston State’s athletic teams as well as players that shined through both athletic and academic achievement. The event is an award style show with a reception that follows after the conclusion of the ceremony.

Night of Champions will be a busy and festive night with the SHSU Athletic Department handing out more than eight awards, ranging from the “Most Valuable Player” on every team to the “SHSU Student Athlete of the Year.”

“The awards that will be handed out are the ‘Most Valuable Player’ awards for each of the 17 sports teams, the ‘Lettermans T’ award which is given out to the most outstanding sophomore and the ‘SH Association’ award which recognizes the top women’s sophomore,” Paul Ridings, assistant athletic director for media relations said. “We will also be handing out the ‘Student Athlete of the Year’ award which is an overall athletic and academic award for both men and women.”

Physical awards and hardware aside, Night of Champions also recognizes all of the athletes that achieved All-Conference and All-American status for their represented sport.

“Night of Champions will also honor all of the All-Conference athletes as well as the five football athletes and one bowling athlete that achieved All-American status,” Ridings said. “The event will also recognize any special honors, for example, anyone who wins Southland ‘Freshman of the Year’ or ‘Player of the Year.’ The 2014 conference baseball and football championship teams and the 2015 conference champion men’s golf team will also be honored.”

Athletes and coaches from practically every NCAA sport at SHSU will be in attendance.

“I have attended Night of Champions before and it is a lot like the ESPN award show, the ESPYs,” SHSU soccer junior goalkeeper Kylie Hambleton said. “They played a lot of videos and there were a ton of awards handed out. It wasn’t boring at all. If I had to guess as to who will bring home MVP honors for the soccer team, I would have to say either Shelby McDaniel or Caitlin Schwartz.”

Although the SHSU baseball and softball teams are still in season, and with finals week rapidly approaching, the Night of Champions event will formally wrap up the athletic season for the 2014-15 academic year.