Utah Athletics Announces This Year’s Crimson Carpet Awards Nominees

Apr 18, 2023, 4:54 PM | Updated: 6:00 pm


The Utah Utes honor Jordan Lowe during a timeout in a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. (Photo Cred: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Photo Cred: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Athletics announced the nominees for every Crimson Carpet Award ahead of the annual student-athlete awards show on Wednesday, April 19.

The awards include Rookie of the Year, Most Outstanding Athlete, Athlete of the Year, and Most Inspirational Team.

There were a total of 89 student-athletes nominated for ten awards.

Four awards have no nominees and await a selection during the award show. These awards are the Dr. Bustis Evans Scholar-Athlete Award, John Crawford Community Service Award, James R. “Bud” Jack Team Community Service Award, and the Fern Gardner Scholar-Athlete Award.

A press release from Utah Athletics reads, “The Crimson Carpet Awards bring all student-athletes together for an evening to celebrate academic success, athletic talent, community service and leadership. Teams put forth their nominees for many of the awards while coaches made the nominations for the senior awards. Student-athletes vote on the winners.”

Crimson Carpet Awards Nominees

Wellness Advocate Award

This award goes to a student-athlete who demonstrated a commitment to personal wellness and advocated for mental health awareness.


Kenzel Lawler (Football)

Dominic Mata (Lacrosse)

Hannah Truax (Swimming & Diving)

Jaedyn Rucker (Gymnastics)


Social Justice Advocate Award

This award goes to a student-athlete who is committed to creating and maintaining actionable change surrounding social justice issues.


Hannah Truax (Swimming & Diving) 

Maya LeBar (Track & Field)


Rookie of the Year Awards

This award is given to the student-athlete who excelled in their first season of collegiate competition.

Nominees (Women) :

Makenna Smith (Gymnastics)

Lani White (Women’s Basketball)

Kathryn Grant (Diving)

Erin Palmer (Swimming)

Karlie Davison (Softball)

Erin Vringer (Cross-Country)

Brooklyn Blaylock (Soccer)

KJ Burgess (Volleyball)

Harley Daniel (Track & Field)

Celine Mayer (Skiing)

Marcela Lopez (Women’s Tennis)

Nominees (Men) : 

Lander Barton (Football)

Nikko DiPonio (Lacrosse)

Cameron Gurney (Baseball)

Elias Petersen (Dive)

Tom Mancini (Ski)

Evan VanBrocklin (Swimming)

Berk Bugarikj (Tennis)

Keba Keita (Basketball)

Tanner Telford (Golf)


Occie Evans Leadership Award

In honor of Occie Evans, this award is based on qualities of athletic ability, leadership, and scholastic achievement. It is presented to a senior female athlete in a team sport.


Madelyn Robinson (Volleyball)

Courtney Brown (Soccer)

Ellessa Bonstrom (Softball)


‘Ute Proud’ Most Inspirational Award

This award is given to senior student-athletes who display dedication and pride in representing their school and team.

Nominees (Men):

Tomas Birkner (Skiing)

Branden Wilson (Lacrosse)

Devin Kaufusi (Football)

Zac McCleve (Baseball)

Eli Ballstaedt (Men’s Basketball)

JP Hynes (Swim)

Nominees (Women):

Megan Yett (Volleyball)

Katie Parker (Skiing)

Jillian Hoffman (Gymnastics)

Summer Stanfield (Swim)

Haley Denning (Softball)

Maya LeBar (Track)

Haley Farrar (Soccer)


Dr. Chris Hill Leadership Awards

This award is given to student-athletes who demonstrate leadership for their team, the athletics department, the campus, and surrounding communities.

Nominees (Women):

Katie Vesterstein (Skiing)

Abby Brenner (Gymnastics)

Kayla Miller (Swim)

Jordyn Gasper (Softball)

Haley Farrar (Soccer)

Rachel Whipple (Track & Field)

Madelyn Robinson (Volleyball)

Nominees (Men):

Dominic Mata (Lacrosse)

Parker McOmber (Men’s Swimming & Diving)

Davis Cop (Baseball)

R.J. Hubert (Football)

Noel Keeffe (Skiing)

Jaxon Brenchley (Men’s Basketball)


Most Outstanding Athlete Awards

Nominees (Men):

Samuel Cambere (Lacrosse)

Dalton Kincaid (Football)

Andrei Ungur (Men’s Swimming & Diving)

Samuel Hendry (Skiing)

Branden Carlson (Men’s Basketball)

Nominees (Women):

Novie McCabe (Skiing)

Ellessa Bonstrom (Softball)

Cristal Isa (Gymnastics)

Holly Waxman (Diving)

Madelyn Robinson (Volleyball)

Emily Venters (Cross-Country)


Play of the Year Award

This award honors the moment that illustrates the most extraordinary athletic accomplishment.


Women’s Basketball (Alissa Pili’s drive for game-winning shot with 0.8 seconds to beat UCLA)

Football (Cameron Rising’s QB keeper for 2-point conversion to beat USC)

Lacrosse (Josh Rose’s leaping behind-the-back goal against Marquette in 18-16 win)


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Athlete of the Year Awards

This award is presented to student-athletes who consistently performed at a high level in the 2022-2023 season.

Nominees (Women):

Novie McCabe (Skiing)

Alissa Pili (Basketball)

Maile O’Keefe (Gymnastics)

Summer Stanfield (Swimming)

Holly Waxman (Diving)

Mariah Lopez (Softball)

Dee Denis (Track)

Maryn Granger (Soccer)

Anastasia Goncharova (Tennis)

Emily Venters (Cross-Country/Track & Field)

Madelyn Robinson (Volleyball)

Nominees (Men):

Andrei Ungur (Swimming & Diving)

Tyler Bradbury (Lacrosse)

Dalton Kincaid (Football)

TJ Clarkson (Baseball)

Samuel Hendry (Skiing)

Geronimo Espin Busleiman (Tennis)

Branden Carlson (Basketball)

Javier Barcos (Golf)


Most Inspirational Team Award




Women’s Basketball


Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.

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Utah Athletics Announces This Year’s Crimson Carpet Awards Nominees