Wingard, Henderson Honored as UW Athletes of the Year During Sunday Banquet

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From the desk of Harry Endicott

Wyoming Athletic Department

LARAMIE – Football free safety Andrew Wingard and Ja'la Henderson of Women's Track and Field were honored as the Male and Female Athletes of the Year during the the University of Wyoming Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the WESPYS award show on Sunday.

Women's basketball coach Joe Legerski, who recently announced his retirement, was honored as the Head Coach of the Year.

The fourth annual event honored Wyoming Cowboy and Cowgirl team and individual accomplishments over the last year.

Josiah Hall, of football, and Molly Kuhbacher, of soccer, served as the emcees for the event, playing host to a crowd of about 250 student-athletes, coaches and administrators in attendance.

“I’m excited to host the WESPYS because it’s really the one time of year where athletes from each sport get to come to the same place and have fun,” Hall said. “The WESPYS has gotten more established. I think my freshman year was the first year and I don’t think I knew about it until the day of, but people get more excited for it now and look forward to it every year.”

Wyoming track and field senior Allegra Carson has served as the SAAC president for each of the last two years and has been instrumental in the planning of the event, which continues to grow each year.

“The WESPYS witnessed a major increase in attendance when Jackie McBride (volleyball) took the throne as host of the second and third annual event,” Carson said. “It’s put on entirely by and for student-athletes, and each year the committee focusses on what new things student-athletes want to see and what they liked at past events, whether it be the food, décor, activities or even the hosts. We like to make sure every student-athlete can relate and have fun celebrating their accomplishments.

“We involve coaches, administration and student-athletes in the voting process. There are typically three rounds of voting. It can be difficult to keep up, but we make sure it’s even across all departments. We also form separate committees to represent the voices of more student-athletes when creating the show. The WESPYS are filled with student-athlete ideas and creations; however, none would come to life without our donors.”

Awards were presented in 17 different categories, including male and female athletes of the year, female and male student-athletes of the year (based on academic performance), team excellence awards and team leadership awards.

“This year’s show was arguably our best WESPYS yet,” said Peter Prigge, Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance also serving as SAAC advisor. “We had a veteran crew running the operation behind the scenes and they showed it. We had nominees and winners from every single sport – and when you combine that with great attendance by all student-athletes, coaches and staff members, it makes for a great night. 

“Our emcees (Molly and Josiah) kept the night going and were fantastic hosts. Any time that we can get all of our student-athletes in one place to celebrate their year-long successes, it makes for a special event. On behalf of SAAC, I would like to personally congratulate all of our award nominees and winners!”