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Top student-athletes honored by Cal Athletic Study Center

The annual awards were handed out during a virtual celebration

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 24 Women’s Utah at Cal Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The offseason awards and recognition just continues to pour in for your California Golden Bears across all athletic programs. Stemming from this Saturday’s virtual Senior Celebration & Recognition of Student-Athlete Success, the Cal Athletic Study Center handed out their annual awards, albeit virtually.

These performances came from student-athletes in the classroom during the 2019-20 scholastic/sport year.

Per the Cal Athletics official release, here’s the rundown of the awards handed out to those student-athletes.

The Cal Women’s Soccer team had the highest cumulative GPA, checking in at 3.53 while the men’s basketball team was honored as the team with the most improved GPA.

The most prestigious award handed out was arguably the Tom Hansen Conference Medal as it recognizes the top male and female athlete at every Pac-12 institution. Men’s soccer player Simon Lekressner and women’s swimmer Abbey Weitzeil took home these honors.

Weitzeil, of course, won the 2020 Honda Sport Award and is the US record holder in the 50-meter freestyle while Lekressner was the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2019 in men’s soccer.

The Neufeld Scholar-Athlete Award was given the graduating male and female student-athletes with the highest GPA, and men’s cross country runner Benjamin Harper and women’s rower Cubbie Kile were awarded.

Jake Gimbel Prize & Anna Espenschade Awards were next, each of which were established at completely different times as the Gimbel was started in the 1930s and the Espenschade in 1987. These two were given to Kyte Crigger, men’s gymnast, and Chen Yue, women’s basketball star, for their ‘exemplary Golden Bear’ spirit.

The Joseph McDonnell Kavanagh Award recognized the student-athlete who made the most exceptional improvement towards their academic pursuits at Cal. Lone Toailoa of the football team was honored this time around.

Elijah Hicks also received an honor, being selected as the Jonathan and Judy Hoff Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The award recognized a football student-athlete who dedicates himself to a holistic approach toward academic, athletic and personal development by ‘demonstrating consistent daily routines, persistent community outreach and leadership ability.’ We all know how great Hicks was with his community efforts immediately during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, so this should be no surprise.

A third football player was honored as well as Marcel Dancy joined softball player Jordan Fines as the award winners of the Walter A. Haas Jr. Community Service Award. This award is given to the student-athletes with outstanding contribution to community services.

And then there was the Athletic Student Center Scholar-Athlete of the Year. This year’s award recipient was beach volleyball player Bridget Gustafson as she was honored for his achievements developed through practice, study habits, course performances and leadership.

The night’s virtual presentation also included a list of the top athletes on each steam with the highest GPA for the year.

Sport - Name - Major
Baseball - Reubin Drogin - Mathematics
Men’s Basketball - Andre Kelly - Undeclared
Women’s Basketball - Archer Olson - Economics
Beach Volleyball - Bridget Gustafson - Molecular & Environmental Biology
Men’s Cross Country - Ben Harper - Music
Women’s Cross Country - Elizabeth Ordeman - Genetics & Plant Biology
Field Hockey - Brynn Zorilla - Undeclared
Football - Matthew Cindric - Undeclared
Men’s Golf - Connor Golembeski - Undeclared
Women’s Golf - Katherine Zhu - Undeclared
Men’s Gymnastics - Kyte Crigger - Business Administration
Women’s Gymnastics - Nina Schank - Molecular & Cell Biology
Lacrosse - Nikki Zaccaro - Film and Political Science
Men’s Rowing - Jack Robertson - Anthropology
Women’s Rowing - Cubbie Kile - Business Administration
Rugby - Henry Poon - Undeclared
Men’s Soccer - Noah Texter - History
Women’s Soccer - Emily Smith - Applied Mathematics
Softball - Cameron Kondo - Business Administration
Men’s Swimming & Diving - Pawel Sendyk - Computer Science
Women’s Swimming & Diving - Elizabeth Bailey - Mathematics
Men’s Tennis - Can Kaya - Economics
Women’s Tennis - Anna Bright - Business Administration
Men’s Track & Field - Diab Davis - Molecular & Cell Biology
Women’s Track & Field - Tess Callan - Mechanical Engineering
Volleyball - Jessica Houghton - Cognitive Science
Men’s Water Polo - Cade Kruse - Economics
Women’s Water Polo - Claire Sonne - Gender & Women’s Studies