At Center Stage: Fans to recognize student-athletes with Chippy awards


(Cori Kromrei | Staff Photographer) Central Michigan University football player senior Deon Butler accepts the Spirit of Special Olympics award and was made an honorary captain of the team Sunday night during the Chippys Award Night at Plachta Auditorium.

ESPN has the ESPY Awards. Central Michigan has the Chippy Awards.

The Chippy Awards — which will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at Plachta Auditorium in Warriner Hall — leave the results to a fan vote to decide the best in CMU athletics from the past three semesters. 

Fans can vote via a link on the @Chippys2016 Twitter page. Voting ends Friday at noon.

The Chippys will be hosted by senior baseball infielder Joe Houlihan and senior football defensive tackle Shafer Johnson, while the show will be produced by soccer junior goalkeeper Maddie Bunnell. 

(MORE: Sports Editor Taylor DesOrmeau gives his picks for the 2016 Chippys)

The categories include Best Female and Male Athlete of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Best Game, Best Championship Performance, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, Best Team, Assistant Coach of the Year, Professor of the Year, Fan of the Year and Coach of the Year. The nominees are selected through CMU Athletics Communications and student nominations.

The award show was started about eight years ago by two baseball players as a fundraiser, celebrating the success of student-athletes while also raising money for charity, said Associate Director of Student-Athlete Services Jeremy Ploch. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organizes the event, which also includes feature skits and other performances.

Tickets will be sold at the door for $5 with all proceeds going toward Special Olympics Michigan. The awards will be handed out by Special Olympics athletes. 

“We have been involved with the Chippys Awards for three years,” said Aaron Mills, Senior Marketing and Communications Director for Special Olympics Michigan. “The donations help provide year-round sports training, health programs and help costs of putting on the programs for our 23,000 athletes.”

Last year, between 600 and 700 people attended and the award show raised more than $7,000 for Special Olympics Michigan.

“We have a great partnership with the Special Olympics within the athletic department,” Ploch said. “It’s great way to give back to a great cause and a good time to show our support for the student athletes, as well as the others were recognizing.”


Male Athlete of the Year

Chris Fowler - Men’s Basketball

Pat MacKenzie - Baseball

Mike Ottinger - Wrestling

Cooper Rush - Football

Cole Walderzak - Men’s track and field

Female Athlete of the Year

Taylor Bolender - Gymnastics

Devene Brown - Women’s track and field

Kaysie Gregory - Field Hockey

Tinara Moore - Women’s Basketball

Katelyn Rentschler - Softball

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year

Jordan Bueter - Volleyball

Jordan Ellingwood - Wrestling

Abbey Kelto - Women’s Track and Field

Tinara Moore - Women’s Basketball

Best Championship Performance

Jordan Ellingwood - Wrestling

Megan Lamphere and Bryttany Kaplan - Gymnastics

Tinara Moore - Women’s basketball

Justin Oliver - Wrestling

Freshman of the Year

Sara Hansen - Softball

Presley Hudson - Women’s Basketball

Kasey Janowicz - Gymnastics

Zach McKinstry - Baseball

Justin Oliver - Wrestling

Romello Ross - Football

Lorenzo Wells - Men’s track and field

Best Game

Field Hockey vs. Missouri State

Football vs. Buffalo

Women’s basketball vs. Bowling Green

Wrestling vs. Ohio

Soccer vs. Miami

Baseball vs. Michigan State (Clash at Comerica)

Golf at Red Bird Classic

Best Play

Men’s track and field - 4x300 Relay at the NCAA Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida

Women’s Basketball - Presley Hudson’s buzzer beater vs Bowling Green

Football - Cooper Rush to Ben McCord - Late touchdown at Syracuse

Wrestling - Jordan Ellingwood’s takedown with seven seconds left in the MAC semifinals

Baseball - Morgan Oliver’s game winning hit vs. Michigan State

Soccer - Kaelyn Korte’s overtime goal vs. Bowling Green

Softball - Katelyn Rentschler’s walk-off home run vs. Eastern Michigan

Field Hockey - Maude Stalars three line saves vs. Miami

Best Team


Men’s basketball

Women’s basketball


Coach of the Year

John Bonamego - Football

Keno Davis - Men’s basketball

Sue Guevara - Women’s basketball

Steve Jaksa - Baseball

Assistant Coach of the Year

Ben Bennett - Wrestling

Greg Colby - Football

Heather Oesterle - Women’s basketball

John Ridgway - Track and field

Mose Rison - Football

Professor of the Year

Judy Chandler - Physical Education

Ken Cherry - Marketing

Mike Garver - Marketing

Tim Otteman - Recreation and Event Management

Ken Sanney - Finance and Law

David Wisner - Health Sciences

Fan of the Year

The 6th Man Band

Ryan “Bones” Colpitts

CMU Superfans - Nick Gembarski, Shannon Brandon and Grant McPherson

Dave, Margie and the Therapy Dogs

Tim and Joellyn Malmquist

Brian Mielke


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