MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis Athletics celebrated the accomplishments of its student-athletes during the eighth annual PAWSCARS awards ceremony Monday night at Rose Theatre on campus.
Gracie Morton from the softball team earned the prestigious Elma Roane Award. The award was created in 1978 and named after the former women’s athletic director at the University of Memphis. It is presented annually to the female student-athlete who possesses drive, enthusiasm and determination while maintaining a concern for others.
Taken from the coaching staff nomination of her, “Gracie has accomplished so many things as a student, athlete and teammate. She has had great success on the field but has also handled tough moments with grace. She is currently the leading hitter and has started for us regularly her entire career. Gracie has a competitive but light-hearted spirit. Gracie is the one we can rely on to lead and refocus our team. She is also the one the coaches can rely on to deliver messages to the team and help with team logistics. She has handled all tasks fearlessly.”
Quindell Johnson of the football team earned the Zach Curlin Award, which is presented to the male student-athlete who holds those same characteristics. Curlin was the men’s basketball coach from 1924-48. He coached the men’s basketball team during the Great Depression and World War II, which included a stoppage in competition in 1943 so the student-athletes at the time could serve our country.
From his nomination, “Everything that Quindell commits to, he does with intentionality and a spirit of gratitude that is uncommon. He holds himself to the highest standard of excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. His consistency and character shine in all he does, always encouraging those around him to strive to be their best as well.”
Additional awards presented during PAWSCARS ceremony include:
All-Around Tiger: Samantha Lenton (women’s track and field)
Lenton has served as a positive influence in the department in leadership capacities and is valued by many. Her hard work and determination propel her throughout difficult moments while maintaining a positive personality. Being thousands of miles away from home, this Aussie made a home in Memphis and competes at a high level.
Best Record-Breaking Performance: Elizabeth Moberg (women’s soccer)
Moberg’s record-breaking accomplishments are filled with merits that include the program record for career wins with 59, the program record for clean sheets with 43 career shutouts and ending her career as the American Athletic Conference all-time leader in career shutouts.
Best Win: Men’s Basketball in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament
No. 9 seed Memphis held off a second-half rally by Boise State for a 64-53 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers hit their stride down the stretch of the season and reached the title game of the American Athletic Conference Tournament, before earning an at-large bid to the Big Dance for the first time since 2014.
Best Individual Male Performance: Calvin Austin III (football)
Austin III appeared in all 12 games for the Tigers in 2021 and led the team with 74 receptions, 1,149 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Furthermore, Calvin had six 100-receiving yard games on the season and finished his career ranked second all-time in program history in receiving touchdowns (22), fourth in receiving yards (2,541) and fifth in receptions.
Best Individual Female Performance: Miaya Smith (volleyball)
Smith helped cap the regular season in a big way for the Tigers, as she had 19 kills in a comeback win at Tulsa. Down 2-1, Smith and the squad did not give up and rallied for a 3-2 win over the Golden Hurricane. The back-and-forth match featured 20 ties and seven lead changes in the last two sets as the Tigers picked up the win.
Breakthrough Student-Athlete: Angeline Henry (rifle)
Henry shot in all 12 matches on the season for the Tigers. They led the Tigers with season averages of 577.583 in smallbore and 591.462 in air rifle. In the GARC Championships, they placed second in air rifle and set a season high in both aggregate and air rifle.
Comeback Student-Athlete: Jamirah Shutes (women’s basketball)
During the 2020-21 season, Shutes faced recovery from a ACL tear, and this past season was her first with a full-season performance. Shutes scored in double figures in 17 games, became the 27th Tiger to score 1,000 points in her career, recorded a career-best of 120 rebounds and ranked as one of the top-10 free throw shooters in the AAC at 76.6 percent.
Community Service Team and Individual: Women’s Cross Country / Lauren Metzger (women’s cross country)
Over 60 percent of Memphis student-athletes engaged in community service this past year, and the department served over 1,200 total hours. Women’s cross country had entire roster participation over multiple events. Some of the events included the Sea Isle Elementary Tiger Takeover, America’s Heart Day Kids Challenge, Youth Villages and Turner’s Heroes Cape Kit Making.
In addition to with her team, Metzger went above and beyond seeking out opportunities to volunteer on Volunteer Odyssey. A few of her individual events included volunteering at the Shelby County Public Defender’s office and assisting organizing the Hendersonville Christmas 4 Kids Bus show during the holiday season, where she helped families in need shop for the holidays through donated funds.
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