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Friday, April 12, 2024

Column: Awards Part 2

So it’s come to this.

A full year as sports editor and I could not be more proud of the time I’ve spent working for The California Aggie.

And I can think of no better way to end my time with The Aggie than with a second edition of the Rosenblum Awards.

So here it is: one last, final, last column. (10 points for you if you get that reference).

Best “out of nowhere” performance — men’s golf Big West Conference title.

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t think the Aggies would be able to impress this season without the help of Austin Graham and Tyler Raber.

But the team proved me wrong.

After struggling through much of the season, UC Davis men’s golf made a remarkable run in the Big West Tournament to take the conference title.

The league championship might not have been enough to propel the Aggies to great heights in the NCAA Regional, but the conference title was certainly “out of nowhere.”

Worst luck — Eric Johnson, first baseman, baseball

It was supposed to be his senior day: a celebration filled with bitter-sweet reflections on his career as an Aggie.

But in the first-inning of UC Davis final game of the season Johnson went down with a crunching injury as a UC Irvine base-runner collided with Johnson’s arm at first base.

Nearly 30 minutes later Johnson was carted off the field on a stretcher, waving to the fans with his uninjured left arm.

During the extended break in play the tension around Dobbin’s Baseball Complex was palpable and there seemed to be a consensus with everyone you talked to: it could not have happened to a nicer guy or a better teammate.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Sypkens, men’s basketball, for missing nearly his entire season due to injury.

Best name — Beverly Vatananugulkit, women’s golf

This one was an absolute no-brainer.

The freshman (known affectionately as Beverly V.) had an excellent season on the golf course and her name ensures that she sticks out in the minds of Aggie fans.

The 14-character mash-up of vowels and consonants is both a blessing and a curse for Aggie writers as it provides a challenge in spelling, but also eats up about 20 percent of our available space.

Most explosive — Tom Hemmingsen, receiver, football

Hemmingsen was sophomore quarterback Randy Wright’s favorite target this season and for good reason.

After losing Sean Creadick to graduation, Wright found a down-the-field threat in sophomore Hemmingsen.

The Danville, Calif. native averaged over 12-yards a catch in 2012, including a team-long 50-yard reception in a three-reception for 85 yards performance against UTSA.

Hemmingsen led the Aggies with seven touchdown catches and his explosive nature prompted head coach Bob Biggs to name him punt-returned where he averaged 11 yards per return.

Breakout candidate — Dan Reese, forward/defender?, men’s soccer

It’s pretty rare that a player can be considered a breakout candidate heading into his senior season, but Dan Reese presents just that.

The 6-3 Reese is officially listed as a defender but played primarily as a forward this season. Despite playing just 453 minutes this season (18th on the team and well behind team-leader Brian Ford who played over 1700 minutes) Reese finished the season two goals and an assist. Even more impressive, his two scores came on just nine shots, giving him a shooting percentage of .222, by far the best on the team.

Reese’s major issue (and presumably the reason head coach Dwayne Shaffer hasn’t trusted him in the lineup more often) is his proclivity for disciplinary issues. Despite his low playing time, Reese recorded a team-high six yellow cards last season (almost an impressive statistic if you think about it).

Still, Reese has clear talent and an impressive knack for putting the ball in the net.

If he can keep his cards to a minimum and can find his way onto the field more often Reese could be a candidate to lead the Aggies in scoring in 2012.

TREVOR CRAMER would like to thank everyone who has read his column over the last year. He would also like to thank Max Rosenblum, Mark Ling and Jason Alpert for helping him develop as a writer, and wish the best to new sports editor Matt Yuen, who will do an excellent job. You can reach Trevor or Matt at sports@theaggie.org.

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