Commemorating a year of new beginnings and great athletic achievements, Brigham Young University honored the hard work of its athletes and coaches in the annual Y Awards celebration Tuesday in the Wilkinson Center. During the 2011-2012 season, BYU achieved six conference championship titles in three conferences. The Cougars left their mark as the newest members of the West Coast Conference with five teams finishing in the top three in league competition. In its first season as an independent, BYU football achieved a 10-3 record with an Armed Forces Bowl victory. With 32 All-American and 25 Academic All-American citations, the Cougars showed new audiences their commitment to quality performance in sports and in the classroom. BYU athletes have also garnered 175 all-conference awards and 166 academic all-conference awards in the last year.

Female Rookie of the Year: Lexi Eaton (women's basketball)

  • Has started every game for the women’s team, averaging 10.6 points per game and 3.0 rebounds while recording double figures in points in 20 games.
  • Named to the WCC All-Freshman Team and was co-Newcomer of the Year in the WCC.
  • Has season highs in points with 26, in rebounds with eight, in assists with five and in steals with four.

Male Rookie of the Year: Ross Apo (football)

  • Was named a 2011 College Football News Freshman All-America honorable mention and the Yahoo! Sports Independent Freshman of the Year.
  • Second leading receiver on team with 34 receptions, 453 yards and nine touchdowns.
  • Nine touchdown receptions tied for No. 32 nationally.

Lu Wallace Outstanding Senior Female Athlete: Katie Palmer (women's track and field)

The oldest recognition bestowed upon a BYU female athlete; this award is annually given to the senior who has most clearly demonstrated high athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship.

  • At the 2012 New Balance Invitational, broke the BYU 1000-meter record with a 2:44.78 finish and moved up to second on the BYU all-time list in the 800-meter with a 2:03.79 finish (which tied for the second-fastest time in the NCAA in 2012).
  • Won her second career Mountain West Conference title in the 1500-meters in May of 2011, finishing the race in 4:28.49 and scoring 10 points for the team, which went on to win its third consecutive MWC outdoor title.
  • Finished the 2011 season earning Second Team All-American honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for her performance in the 800-meters while earning a degree in civil engineering.

Ed Stein Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award: Miles Batty (men's cross-country)

The oldest recognition bestowed upon a BYU male athlete; given to the senior who has most clearly demonstrated high athletic and academic performance and sportsmanship.

  • All-American runner and All-Academic All-American in neuro-science/exercise physiology.
  • Finished 14th at nationals and finished the season with four individual championships, including first place at both the WCC Championships and Mountain Region Championships.
  • Named the WCC Runner of the Month on three different occasions.

Walk-on of the Year: JD Falslev (football)

This award is given to one non-scholarship athlete at BYU who plays a significant role on his or her team.

  • No. 29 in the nation with a 10.0 average punt return.
  • Recorded 22 punt returns for 220 yards, including a 67-yard return for a touchdown, BYU’s first since 2006.
  • Caught 31 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns, including 12 receptions as third-down conversions.

Cougar Club Memorial Junior Award: Carlee Payne (soccer)

Established in memory of eight Cougar Club members who lost their lives in an airplane crash at the point of the mountain in November of 1965; given to an outstanding junior male or female athlete with high scholarly achievement.

  • Was recognized as only the sixth women’s soccer player from BYU to ever receive a Scholar All-American award from the NSCAA and majors in public health.
  • Named to the All-West Region Second Team and All-WCC Second Team.
  • Led the team with 34 shots while contributing the second-most goals (five) to put her at 11th place on BYU’s all-time career goals leaderboard.

Female Crowd Pleaser: Jennie Marshall (soccer)

Presented to the female athlete whose enthusiasm and outstanding performance have given extra excitement to the crowd.

  • Led the team with six goals on the season for a personal career-high in a single season.
  • Also contributed 40 shots and 4 assists.
  • Played in all 19 games as a senior, started 14.

Male Crowd Pleaser: Futi Tavana (men's volleyball)

Presented to the male athlete whose enthusiasm and outstanding performance have given extra excitement to the crowd.

  • Was named an AVCA First Team All-American, the Blocker of the Year and a member of the All-MPSF First Team after his incredible junior season.
  • Last season, his 160 season blocks were first in the NCAA and this season, he became BYU’s total blocks and block assists all-time leader in the rally scoring era.
  • After suffering an Achilles rupture during the summer, Futi has returned this season and played in 44 sets while contributing 88 kills and 63 total blocks.

Leona Holbrook Spirit of Sport Award: Sarah Edwards (women's track and field)

Presented in memory of Dr. Leona B. Holbrook, this award is given to the senior female athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and in life.

  • A member of the Golden Key Honor Society and the student Vice President of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Sarah has maintained an excellent GPA during her four years at BYU while majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in TESOL.
  • Was part of the record breaking 4x800-meter relay team at the New Balance Invitational, teaming up with Lacey Bleazard, Katie Palmer and Nachelle Mackie to break the 25-year old school record.
  • Served as a member of Cougar Council for three years, traveled to India with the “Rising Star Outreach” program, traveled to Peru with Ascend Alliance to help build a school, and taught the entire track team how to knit in order to send scarves to children in Nambia.

Dale McCann Spirit of Sport Award: Charles Abouo (men's basketball)

Presented in memory of Dale R. McCann, this award is given to the senior male athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and in life.

  • A team captain for a team that has won 25 games.
  • Has never missed a game in his BYU career, playing in a program record 139 consecutive games.
  • Averages 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Female Athlete of the Year: Kristen Riley (women's basketball)

Given to the female athlete who demonstrates the competitive spirit of desire, dedication and determination, leading her to the top of competition and serving as an inspiration to both teammates and fans.

  • Named team co-captain this season while starting all games averaging a team-best 11.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per contest.
  • Ranks sixth all-time in BYU history for rebounds with 732 to date while tallying 14 double-doubles, 10 coming her senior season, and became the 22nd player in BYU history to reach 1,000 points with a total of 1,032 to date, which puts her in 20th place overall.
  • Named WCC Player of the Year and WCC All-Conference Team, and also garnered three additional league honors, including one Player of the Week citation and two WCC Player of the Month awards for the months of January and February.

Male Athlete of the Year: Miles Batty (men's cross-country)

Given to the male athlete who demonstrates the competitive spirit of desire, dedication and determination, leading him to the top of competition and serving as an inspiration to both teammates and fans.

  • All-American runner and All-Academic All-American in neuro-science/exercise physiology.
  • Finished 14th at nationals and finished the season with four individual championships, including first place at both the WCC Championships and Mountain Region Championships.
  • Named the WCC Runner of the Month on three different occasions.

Comeback Player of the Year: Brandon Davies (men's basketball)

Given to the athlete (male or female) who has overcome incredible odds to succeed as a Cougar athlete.

Brandon Davies returned to BYU this season to lead the Cougars to a sixth-straight 25-win season and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament/NIT. Davies was suspended at the end of last season for an honor code violation and missed the final two regular season games and the conference and NCAA Tournaments. After working with the university, Davies was readmitted in the fall and emerged as one of the best players in the WCC, earning all-conference honors while averaging 15.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Floyd Johnson Service Award: Riley Nelson (football)

Given to a male or female athlete who makes a positive impact in the community and among his or her teammates.

Riley takes much of his free time and devotes it to speaking to youth all over the community. He especially focuses on the blessings of serving a mission. He takes time to make everyone feel important and helps to build confidence in everyone he meets. Riley participates not only in several football team service events but, when called upon to serve at any time, Riley’s response is always, “Count me in.”

Kimball Memorial Award: Jared Rohatinsky (men's cross-country)

Given to the athlete with the highest GPA.

  • Achieved a 3.97 GPA.
  • Competed in the 2012 MPSF Championships in the mile, finishing in 4:11.
  • Placed second in the 3,000-meter in the 2011 BYU Cougar Indoor Invitational, finishing in 8:22.
  • Placed second in the 5,000 at the 2011 Annual Mt. SAC Relay, finishing in 14:12.
  • Placed sixth in the 1,500 at the Trojan Invitational, finishing in 3:50.
  • Participated in the 1,500 in the 2011 NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round.
  • Named to the USTFCCCA 2011 Division I Track and Field All-Academic team.
  • Named Academic All-MWC in 2010 and 2011.
  • Named MWC Scholar-Athlete in 2011.
  • Named to the Marriott School Dean's List.

Men's Team of the Year: Cross-country

Defeated reigning WCC champion Portland in its first season as a member of the conference to become WCC champion of the 2011 season, also taking first at the regional meet and fourth at the national meet.

Women's Team of the Year: Basketball

Ended the season 26-6 and earned its first conference tournament title in 10 years. The victory gave the Cougars an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, their first appearance in the tournament since 2007.

Coach of the Year: Ed Eyestone (men's cross-country)

Coached the men’s cross country team to its first WCC Championships title, a regional title and fourth place at nationals in his 10th year as a coach at BYU.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Melinda Bendall (women's basketball)

Helped the women’s basketball team to a 26-6 season and its first conference tournament title in 10 years and first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.

Performance of the Year: Miles Batty (men's track and field)

Recognizes great performance over the course of an entire game, match or meet.

In February, Miles Batty attended the 2012 Millrose Games in New York to compete in the first NYRR Wanamaker Mile run on a fast 200-meter Mondo track. Batty was one of only six college athletes invited to compete in the race. Finishing second overall in the race and first among college athletes, Batty broke the collegiate mile record by almost half a second with his time of 3:54.54. The record was previously held by Oklahoma State’s German Fernandez, who had a time of 3:55.02 in 2009.

Play of the Year: Riley Nelson (football)

Making his first start in a bowl game, junior Riley Nelson found his team behind 21-17 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game. After a scoreless Tulsa drive, Nelson scrambled 14 yards on a 4th-and-9 at the Tulsa 47-yard line for a first-down conversion. With 11 seconds on the game clock and BYU on the 2-yard line, Nelson faked a clock-stopping spike and connected with Cody Hoffman in the end zone, bringing the final score to 24-21. The victory pushed BYU’s season record to 10-3 for its fifth 10-win season in six years.

Y Games Winner: Women's Gymnastics

During the year, each team has a designated “Y Game.” At this contest, all athletes are encourages to attend to support their fellow athletes. The team with the greatest percentage of members at the Y Games receives this award.

Volunteer of the Year: Chuck Ryan

Given in recognition of volunteers who selflessly serve the BYU Athletic Department without thought of recognition or reward.

Serves as a host for football, gymnastics, and men’s and women’s volleyball and soccer while helping out with football practice security.

Other Teams and Individuals Honored

  • National Champion BYU Cheer Squad
  • National Champion BYU Cougarettes
  • National Champion Nachelle Mackie (800-meters)
  • Retiring swimming and diving Coach Tim Powers, 1975-2012