Toppin praised the loyalty of the Flyer fans, saying “It’s like we got the No. 1 fan base in the world.” Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn.
Incoming Sports Editor
The eighth annual R.U.D.Y.S. awards, which were held on social media Tuesday night due to the COVID-19 pandemic, still allowed for the best in UD athletics to be recognized for their achievements over the 2019-20 school year.
The RUDY award, the most prestigious of the R.U.D.Y.S. — which stands for Recognition and celebration of University of Dayton Student-Athletes Year-end Showcase — was co-awarded to men’s basketball junior Obi Toppin and football senior Adam Trautman for the men and to softball senior Mallory Kimmel and women’s basketball senior Jayla Scaife for the women.
Toppin and Trautman achieved incredible success in their final seasons at UD, and both are projected to be selected in their respective drafts (Toppin: NBA Draft, date TBA; Tratuman: NFL Draft, April 23-25).
Leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record, a perfect 18-0 in A-10 play, and a prospective No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Toppin averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, all while becoming one of the nation’s best on the way to winning several of college basketball’s most prestigious awards, including the Wooden and Naismith awards for the nation’s best player.
With 916 receiving yards and 14 TDs on the way to an 8-3 record for the football team, Trautman is projected to be one of the first tight ends taken in the NFL Draft. His tall frame, receiving skills and excellent blocking ability (recognized by NFL scouts and even Todd McShay at the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama) will fit in well in the NFL.
Although Kimmel’s senior season was cut short, the way Kimmel epitomized what it means to be a Flyer was recognized Tuesday night. Scaife was also unable to play in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but her Flyer excellence and impressive statline (13.3 points, 5.7 rebounds per game in 2019-20) earned her the award along with Kimmel.
Other awards given out included: Unsung Hero, Breakthrough Performance, Rookie of the Year, Rising Star and Most Outstanding Leaders.
Unsung Hero: Male- Will Majercak (cross country); Female- Kaci Bornhorst (cross counrty/track) and Christine Szabo (basketball)
Breakthrough Performance: Men’s Basketball 2019-20 season
Rookie of the Year: Male- Connor Bruce (tennis) and Toluwalase Oladeinbo (soccer); Female- Alexis Goins (soccer) and Amelia Moore (volleyball)
Rising Star: Male- Jonas Fjeldberg (soccer) and Mariano Ricciardi (baseball); Female- Colleen McDonald (rowing) and Taylor Robertson (track & field)
Most Outstanding Leader: Male- Ryan Culhane (football) and Domenic Maricocchi (golf); Female- Shakeela Fowler (basketball)
The 2020-21 executive board for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was also announced.
Baseball senior Tyler Jones will use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to return to be next year’s president of the SAAC at UD.