Athletics News
    2009 Tommy Athletic Awards Celebrate Fifth Year

    April 7, 2010

    WATCH Tommy Awards Athlete Recap (3:00)

    The USC Athletic Department celebrated another year of Trojan success with the fifth annual Tommy Athletic Awards, honoring outstanding accomplishments by USC student-athletes in the 2009 calendar year. Ten different USC teams were represented in this year's awards presentation, which is organized annually by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). The 2009 edition of the Tommy Awards played to a full house of USC athletes, coaches, administrators and staff at the Galen Founder's Room on Tuesday evening.

    A big winner on the day was the USC men's water polo team, which won Male Team of the Year honors for its back-to-back NCAA Championship victories to go along with senior Jordan Thompson's honors for Male Individual Day Performance and men's and women's head coach Jovan Vavic's second straight selection as the Coach of the Year. 2009 Pac-10 Champion women's tennis picked up Female Team of the Year honors for the first time.

    The Male Athlete of the Year award wound up in co-honors going to Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Year Robert Farah -- who helped the Trojans claim the 2009 NCAA Team Championship - and football's standout wide receiver Damian Williams. The 2009 Female Athlete of the Year was bestowed upon women's water polo player Kami Craig, who was the conference player of the year and also won the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award in 2009.

    Track also was well-represented on the awards list, with Zsofia Erdelyi winning the Female Individual Performance award for her efforts at the 2009 NCAA West Regional and Ahmad Rashad honored for Best Comeback after overcoming injury and finishing second in the 100-meter dash at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

    A mainstay on the Tommy Award podium throughout her career at USC, swimmer Rebecca Soni picked up the Record-Breaking Performance award as the USC, Pac-10, NCAA and American record-holder in the 200-yard backstroke.

    This year's Trojan of the Year honorees were men's volleyball player Jon Hackett and women's track and field athlete Shalina Clarke, who have each made significant impacts within USC athletics and around campus. Accolades also went to three USC student-athletes who held 4.0 GPAs in both the spring and fall semesters in 2009, with football's Steve Blackhart and cross country's Katherine Ellis and Shea Wickland earning the Highest GPA award. A complete list of winners and their achievements are listed below.

    2009 Tommy Athletic Award Winners

    Male - Individual Day Performance
    Jordan Thompson, water polo
    NCAA Championships
    - Scored two impressive and important goals in the NCAA championship game to help USC to a 7-6 win over UCLA in claiming back-to-back national championships for the first time in program history.
    - Named NCAA Tournament MVP for his efforts

    Female - Individual Day Performance
    Zsofia Erdelyi, track
    NCAA West Regional
    - Broke her school record with a time of 10:01.99 in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
    - Placed second in the event.

    Best Comeback
    Ahmad Rashad, track
    - After a sophomore season plagued with hamstring injuries, he bounced back in 2009 to win the 100-meter and 200-meter dash titles at the Pac-10 Championships, and the 100-meter title at the NCAA West Regional.
    - Placed second in the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Championships, recording a time in the finals of 10.10 -- the fourth-fastest ever by a Trojan.

    Record-Breaking Performance
    Rebecca Soni, swimming
    - Broke the USC, Pac-10, NCAA and American records in the 200-yard breaststroke at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships.
    - Won the Pac-10 title with her time of 2:04.75 (breaking the previous American record of 2:05.73).

    Best Athlete - Female
    Kami Craig, water polo
    - Became the fifth USC woman to win collegiate water polo's highest honor - the Cutino Award.
    - Scored 40 goals in her junior season and led USC in scoring for four straight games, including a career-high five against San Jose State.
    - Also named a 2009 First Team All-American and was the MPSF Player of the Year.

    Best Athletes - Male
    Robert Farah, tennis
    - Became the first Trojan since 1994 to be named the Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Year.
    - Won honors as the Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year for the second straight season.
    - Helped guide USC to a NCAA Team Championship, clinching a Round of 16 win over Stanford and the NCAA championship match win over Ohio State in singles.
    - Was named an All-American in singles and doubles.

    Damian Williams, football
    - Was named the Trojans MVP for football.
    - Was named to the 2009 All-Pac-10 first team as a wide receiver and a punt returner.
    - Won the College Football Performance Award for best Punt Returner.

    Female Team of the Year
    - Won USC's first-ever Pac-10 championship, finishing undefeated in the conference with key upset wins over Stanford, Cal and UCLA.
    - Snapped a 21-year hold on the Pac-10 title by Stanford & beat the Cardinal for the first time in 50 matches with a 5-2 win at home.
    - Finished with just two losses in the regular season.

    Male Team of the Year
    Water Polo
    - Won 2009 NCAA Championship.
    - Claimed back-to-back national titles for the first time in program history.
    - Finished 26-2 overall and posted its fifth consecutive undefeated regular season at home.
    - Was the top defensive team in the country for the fifth straight season.

    Male - Trojan of the Year
    Jon Hackett, volleyball
    - Member of SAAC 4 years and the executive board 3 years.
    - Has served as President of SAAC the past two years, leading programming development and providing a greater voice for student-athletes.
    - As a senior, was named Pac-10 Representative to the NCAA SAAC - the first student-athlete to hold this position from USC since 2004.
    - Speaks on behalf of the Pac-10 student-athletes at NCAA conferences.
    - Promotes USC's emphasis on community service to Division I schools throughout the country, including furthering the SCORE initiative.
    - Two-time recipient of the Bob Yoder "Ideal Trojan" Award

    Female - Trojan of the Year
    Shalina Clarke, track
    - Captain of the women's track and field team & member of the All-Pac-10 Conference Team.
    - Has 2 consecutive NCAA West Regional Championships & 3 NCAA All American titles.
    - Listed on the All-Time Women's Performers List at USC in 100M & 400M hurdles, 4x100M relay & 4x400M relay.
    - Competed at the 2008 Olympic Trials & the World Junior Championships in Beijing. - Made the Dean's List and All-Academic Team the last 3 years.
    - An active member of the leadership team for Athletes In Action.
    - Founder of CryOut, an event designed to bring assistance to inner city communities.
    - Member of the SAAC Executive Board her junior year.
    - Participated in JEP, LA Urban Project, and Day In Troy.

    Coach of the Year
    Jovan Vavic, water polo
    - Led the USC women and men both to NCAA finals in the same year for the second straight season.
    - The women won the MPSF Championship.
    - The men won the NCAA Championship in 2009 - USC's fifth men's national
    championship and second straight NCAA title.
    - Guided the women to their eleventh consecutive 20-win season.

    Highest GPA
    Steve Blackhart, football
    - 4.0 GPA in both spring and fall 2009 semesters

    Katherine Ellis, cross country/track
    - 4.0 GPA in both spring and fall 2009 semesters

    Shea Wickland, cross country/track
    - 4.0 GPA in both spring and fall 2009 semesters

    Staff Member of the Year
    Gregg Millward
    - academic counselor in Student Athlete Academic Services