May 2, 2006
Seniors Brandon Polk (Wichita, Kan.) and Victoria Mitchell (Mansfield, Australia) received the top male and female athletic awards at Butler University's annual all-sports dinner held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday, May 2. The year-ending event was held to pay tribute to Butler's 19 athletic teams and included the presentation of most valuable player and mental attitude awards, plus several special recognition and scholarship awards, to Butler's student-athletes and teams.
Polk helped lead the Butler men's basketball team to a 20-13 season, a runner-up finish in the Horizon League and a berth in the NIT. He led the Bulldogs in scoring and posted the ninth-highest single season point total in Butler basketball history. He was the top field goal shooter in the Horizon League for the second consecutive year, and he finished with the third-highest career field goal percentage ever at Butler. The 6-6 forward was named first team All-Horizon League, was picked to the All-District 10 team and was named Horizon League Player of the Year.
Mitchell closed out her career as perhaps the finest female distance runner ever to compete at Butler. An All-American in both track and cross country, she became the first female track athlete at Butler to win an NCAA national championship when she captured the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 2005, and she posted Butler's highest-ever finish at the NCAA women's cross country meet with a fourth place finish last fall. She was a two-time Horizon League Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year and a two-time Horizon League Women's Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Several other Butler athletes also received individual recognition at the dinner. Sophomore A. J. Graves (Switz City), who was the second-leading scorer on the men's basketball team, and junior Jackie Closser (Alexandria), who earned All-Horizon League honors on the women's basketball team, were named recipients of the Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle Scholarship for outstanding athletic achievement.
Juniors Evan West (Greenwood) from Butler's league champion men's tennis team and Mary Beth Arnold (Indianapolis), a school-record holder on the women's swimming team, received Helen Tewksbury Awards for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and athletics.
Sophomore Bryan Bokowy (Munster), a top pitcher on Butler's baseball squad, and junior Jamie Martin (Mason, Ohio), a two-year regular on the women's soccer team, were named recipients of a $1,000 Dean Herbert F. Schwomeyer Scholarship, presented for outstanding athletic and academic achievement.
The Frank "Pop" Hedden Award, which honors Butler's outstanding male and female freshman student-athletes, was presented to Lade Akande (Robinson, Ill.) and Jeremy Sieverts (Lutherville, Md.). Akande earned All-Horizon League recognition in women's basketball, and she's a member of the women's track team. Sieverts was the second-leading scorer on the men's lacrosse team this spring.
Senior Will Turner (Auburn), the leading scorer on Butler's men's golf team, was named recipient of the Horizon League Sportsmanship Award for exhibiting outstanding character in the field of athletics. And junior women's soccer player Julie Backscheider (Cincinnati, Ohio) received the first Catherine Sabrina DeBrosse Scholarship, presented in honor of the late daughter of Butler graduates J. J. and Emily DeBrosse. The award is given to recognize the passion, dedication and positive attitude of Butler's female student-athletes.
Three team awards also were presented at the banquet. The men's and women's golf teams and the women's swimming team received the Horizon League "Raise Your Sights Academic Award" for compiling the highest team cumulative grade point averages of all Butler squads. The men's basketball team received the Horizon League Outreach Award for compiling the highest number of community service hours, while the men's lacrosse team and the women's track and field team earned "The Shining Star Award" presented by the Division of Student Affairs on the recommendation of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) for a demonstrated commitment to academics, sportsmanship, school spirit and service to Butler University and to the Indianapolis Community.