by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
Darik Dillard and Cali Roper took home the top honors as Rice Athletics celebrated the accomplishments of its student-athletes during the annual Night of the Owls awards ceremony in Tudor Fieldhouse on Thursday night. The annual event was presented by the R Association and the Rice SAAC chapter.
Dillard was named the 86th winner of the Bob Quin Award, while Roper was named the 42nd recipient of the Joyce Pounds Hardy Award, which are presented each year to Rice’s most outstanding all-around male and female student athletes.
Dillard will graduate in May with a 3.35 GPA while majoring in Mechanical Engineering & Economics. He finished his career at Rice ranked sixth with 26 touchdowns, seventh in carries (446) and rushing (2,196) and tied for 10th with 156 career points. He combined with older brother Jarett for 86 career touchdowns to set an NCAA recover for total touchdowns by siblings. He was also a two-time selection to the C-USA All Academic team, a four-time member of C-USA Academic Honor Roll a three-time Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar. He was a Rice Honor Athlete in 2015 and a Rice Scholar Athlete in 2016.
Roper will receiver her Rice degree after posting a 3.75 GPA in Sports Management while winning a total of nine Conference USA Championships in distance events. She has captured four outdoor gold medals, including three consecutive titles in the 10,000 meters, three indoors and added a pair of individual titles in cross country while also leading the Owls to the team title in 2016. She was named the 2015 C-USA Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year swept both the indoor and outdoor Female Track Performer of the Meet at the C-USA Championships. She was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in March.
A pair of Dillard and Roper’s teammate were honored as Rice’s top scholar-athletes. Linebacker D.J. Green received the Dr. Hubert E. Bray Scholar Athlete of the Year at the top male scholar-athlete, while fellow distance runner Elsa Racasan was honored with the Margie E. Sass Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Rice head women’s track and cross country coach Jim Bevan was honored as the Rice SAAC Coach of the Year, while men’s assistant track coach Brek Christensen received the Assistant Cpach of the Year accolade.
Rice baseball’s Ford Proctor was named the Freshman of Year while Ruth Seleznick, Chelsey Harris, Austin Riddle, Peter Godber and J.T. Ibe were presented with Iron Owl Awards for the efforts by their team strength and conditioning staffs.
The volleyball team was honored with the Community Service Award for their combined number of hours working on various activities.
The MVPs for a number of sports not previously were announced including:
Men's Basketball -- Billy Wohn Award -- Marcus Evans, Egor Koulechov
Women's Basketball -- Gene Hackerman Award -- Maya Hawkins
Men's Cross Country -- Jeff Wells Award – Marco Ruiz, William Roberts
Women's Cross Country -- Mikki Hebl Award -- Katie Jensen
Golf -- Vic Cameron Award – Mario Carmona
Swimming -- Catherine Hannah Award -- Marie-Claire Schillinger
Men's Tennis -- Sammy Giammalva Award -- David Warren
Women's Tennis -- Kay Pearson Keating Award -- Katherine Ip
Men's Track and Field -- Fred Hansen/Dave Roberts Award -- Evan Karakolis
Women's Track and Field -- Eva Jean Lee Award -- Cali Roper
Women's Track and Field -- Fred and Florence Stancliff Award -- Daisy Ding