Seniors Jill Compton (left) and Marvelle Harris (right) were named “Bulldogs of the Year” at the Night of Champions gala Monday night at the Save Mart Center. (Fresno State Athletics)
The university honored its student-athletes for their accomplishments during the 2015-16 academic year with the “Night of Champions” gala Monday night at the Save Mart Center.
The event highlights student-athletes’ athletic accomplishments, educational successes and community efforts.
Among the stars of the night were seniors Marvelle Harris and Jill Compton, who were named “Bulldogs of the Year.”
Harris helped lead the Fresno State men’s basketball program to a Mountain West Tournament title and its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001. Along the way, the senior picked up Mountain West Player of the Year and Associated Press All-America honors.
“The award means a lot,” Harris said. “It shows that people noticed what you accomplished and the success over the years, and that everybody believed in you – the coaches and other student-athletes. It’s a great feeling.”
Compton has helped elevate the softball team to a Top 20 national ranking, a second-consecutive Mountain West title and an undefeated conference record (20-0) up to this point.
“I’ve been here since my freshman year and have seen other athletes win this award, and it really means a lot to me. It means a lot to represent the Central Valley,” Compton said. “There’s a lot of great student-athletes here, so I’m really humbled by this.”
Hosting the event were Aaron Peck of the football team and Caroline Weaver from track and field.
The equestrian team won the first award of the night, the Director of Athletics’ Team Award, for putting in nearly 500 hours of service here in the Central Valley.
The next honors, the George llg Newcomer of the Year Award, went to Mountain West Champion golfer Trevor Clayton and Ugne Mazutaityte, the MW Freshman of the Year in swimming and diving.
Meganne Weissenfels of the lacrosse team was presented with the Paul Schechter Courage Award, which is presented to a student-athlete who has overcome a physical challenge. Weissenfels was involved in a major car accident in May, 2014 while back home in San Diego and as a result, suffered a traumatic brain injury that placed her in a coma for nine days.
Despite doctors giving her a 10 percent chance of waking up, she bounced back and regained her health through cognitive, occupational and physical therapy. The redshirt junior goalkeeper returned to school in 2014 and made her return to the field during the 2015 season.
The Giant Step Academic Award – presented to individuals who overcame academic obstacles to earn their degrees – was unveiled Monday, and the first recipients of the honor were Cezar Guerrero (men’s basketball) and Lindsay Ruiz (swimming and diving).
Justin Northern of the football team and Maggie Eppright of volleyball were awarded the CLUB RED Bulldog Spirit Award.
The final award – the Harold Haak Memorable Moment Award – was presented to women’s tennis player Galina Bykov for her efforts in her team’s 4-3 win at No. 9 UCLA and men’s basketball player Julien Lewis for his go-ahead 3-pointer late in the Mountain West Tournament title game.