Student-athletes in basketball dominated major awards – including Jenna Cooper-Jackson and Parrish Hewitt earning the prestigious Roscoe Snyder Award – when Wayland Baptist handed out accolades at its spring awards ceremony Monday night in the McClung University Center.
Not only did Cooper-Jackson and Hewitt earn recognition as the top senior student-athletes, basketballers Kaitlyn Edgemon and Josh Servantez received the Bill Hardage Champions of Character Award while Thad Udoh, along with golfer Mason Garrett, earned the Wallace & Janis Davis Spirit Award.
In addition to athletic achievement, the Roscoe Snyder Award recognizes academics and character and traditionally honors the top senior male and female student-athletes at Wayland.
The recognition for Cooper-Jackson comes 24 years after her father, Flying Queens coach Jason Cooper, earned the same award in 1999 also as a WBU basketball player. It’s believed to be the first time in WBU athletics history that a parent and their child received the recognition.
Cooper-Jackson, a forward from Claude, was a three-time NAIA All-American who finished her career as the sixth-leading scorer in Flying Queens history with 1,871 points and as the top percentage career free throw shooter at 86.2 percent (294-of-341). She was 2019-20 Sooner Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year after transferring from Abilene Christian University, three-time all-conference and an NAIA Scholar-Athlete, in addition to earning the Wallace & Janis Davis Award of the Spirit last year and the Hutcherson Award this season. She led the NAIA in assists in 2022 and was third in both assists and field goals last season. Known for hitting lengthy 3-pointers, Cooper-Jackson tied the program record for most 3s in a game with eight.
Hewitt made a big impact at Wayland after transferring from Northwestern Oklahoma State two years ago. After playing just six games in 2021-22, the native of Memphis, Tenn., was team captain and one of the top guards in the NAIA last season. He averaged a dozen points and 4.7 rebounds a game while leading the Pioneers with 87 assists to go with 35 steals. “Parrish will be the first in his family to graduate college and made the President’s List last fall,” his coach Clint Galyean said. “P has grown a lot since he arrived at Wayland and talks about how basketball and Wayland saved him. He is a perfect example of what Wayland and what athletics can do for someone.”
The Bill Hardage Champions of Character Award recognizes student-athletes who exemplify the NAIA’s five core character values of respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, servant leadership and integrity, and this year two basketball players earned the honor.
A sophomore forward from Littlefield, Kaitlyn Edgemon this past season ranked in the top five in the conference in scoring, rebounds, blocks and steals, earning her a third straight all-conference honor. A former SAC Newcomer of the Year, she carries a 4.0 GPA as a biology major and is an NAIA Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-American. “Kaitlyn is a hard-working player with a kind heart and sweet spirit. She is someone that is always looking to help others. She has a servant’s heart and a Christian leader on our campus,” said Coach Cooper. Edgemon also received the Flying Queen’s Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Servantez is a junior guard from Shallowater who will soon graduate with close to a 4.0 GPA. He is active in FCA and his church. “Josh started off on the J.V. team and worked his way into a 20+ minutes-a-game guy and captain for a 23-9 national tournament team,” Coach Galyean said. “He is a servant leader, and his character, work ethic and resilience will help him be successful in everything he does.”
Winners of the Wallace & Janis Davis Award of the Spirit exemplify spirit, courage and commitment to their team, their coach and the university. The award traditionally is given to a student-athlete who is not necessarily the MVP of the team but does all of the little things to make the team successful.
Earning the award for women was golfer Mason Garrett, a junior from Mount Pleasant. The first-year transfer from Midwestern State also won the Pioneer women’s golfer of the year honor after logging six top-25 finishes, including one runner-up. A recreational leadership and sports ministry major, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her college career and has been named to the President’s List every semester. Garrett is active in campus activities such as FCA and, according to her father/coach Matt Garrett, often invites fellow student-athletes for church, in addition to being involved in the children’s ministry.” She has two mission trips planned this summer.
The men’s Davis Award winner is Thad Udoh. An all-conference honoree last season, Udoh’s brother, Bonny, suffered a heart-related issue prior to this season and doctors advised both that they should refrain from physical activity. “During this difficult time, Thad never wavered. He maintained his grades, was a leader and another coach on the sideline for us and kept his great spirit,” Coach Galyean said. A 4.0 student, Thad plans to attend engineering school at West Texas A&M.
The Roy McClung Service Award winners were WBU staff members Teresa Young and Steve Long.
Young currently serves as Wayland’s development officer for annual and foundation gifts and has worked with WBU Athletics in a number of areas through the years. Just a few of the ways include raising money, organizing reunions and assisting with Hall of Honor inductions. She also keeps the scorebook at basketball games.
Long, associate professor of communications and media studies at Wayland, has served as the unofficial streaming director for WBU Athletics for the past 14 years, working with students in his media class to stream game broadcasts for football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, wrestling and baseball. “Since 2009 Mr. Long has attended most home sporting events, whether they’re in the evenings, on weekends or during holidays,” said Kevin Lewis, WBU’s sports information director. “He very much cares for Wayland athletics and wants it presented in the best way possible, which he’s done despite a limited broadcasting budget.” Long is retiring this summer after 33 years at WBU.
A number of sport award recipients were repeat winners from last year, Alex Spencer who earned the men’s track & field Character Award for the second time. Benjamin Lubker, last year’s Freshman of the Year in men’s golf, this season was named Player of the Year.
In eSports, Ilan Joffe, who last year took home the Mothership Master Award, this year was deemed Player of the Year. In men’s wrestling, Malaiki Owens repeated as Most Improved, and in cheer Kira Weatherton repeated as winner of the Leadership Award.
Others recognized as most valuable in their respective sports were Tedrick Wolfe, men’s basketball; Jake Green, baseball; Reagan Davis, softball; Alex Pena, men’s wrestling; Alexandria Hernandez, women’s wrestling; and Case Drum and Lorenzo Luces, men’s track & field.
Voting for department-wide awards was by WBU coaches and athletics staff members; voting for program awards was by coaches and/or student-athletes within that sport.
2022-23 WBU Athletics Department Awards
Roscoe Snyder Award: Jenna Cooper-Jackson & Parrish Hewitt
Bill Hardage Champions of Character Award: Kaitlyn Edgemon & Josh Servantez
Wallace & Janis Davis Spirit Award: Mason Garrett & Thad Udoh
Top Scholar Awards: TBA
Roy McClung Service Award: Teresa Young & Steve Long
Pitcher of the Year: Ty Jackson
Offensive Player of the Year: Samuel Fabian
Defensive Player of the Year: Jake Green
Most Valuable Player: Jake Green
Brandon Henegar Award: Connor Leach
TMac Award: Justin Porter
Offensive Player of the Year: Mikayla Carrillo
Defensive Player of the Year: Clarissa Rejino
Outstanding Pioneer: Reagan Davis
Best Debut: Alli Ferguson
Completionist Award: Bailey Hair
People’s Champ: Jackson Kent
Player of the Year: Ilan Joffe
MVP: Tedrick Wolfe
Coaches Award: Parrish Hewitt
Scholar Award: Josh Servantez
Fighting Heart: Emily Sigala
Hutcherson Award: Jenna Cooper-Jackson
Offensive Player of the Year: Kaitlyn Edgemon
Most Improved: Taylor Houston
Newcomer of the Year: Jaykob Mills
Wrestler of the Year: Alex Pena
Most Improved: Malaiki Owens
Servant Leader: Zack Pena
Strength of Character Award: Aidan Medina
Johnny Cobb Pioneer of the Year: Alex Pena
Newcomer of the Year: Tess Barnett
Wrestler of the Year: Alexandria Hernandez
Most Improved: Danyl Pippin
Servant Leader: Genesis Rios
Strength of Character Award: Leah Ford
Johnny Cobb Pioneer of the Year: Alexandria Hernandez
Men’s Track & Field
Most Valuable Athlete: Case Drum
Most Valuable Performer: Lorenzo Luces
Newcomer of the Year: Daeandre Harris
Most Improved: Malachi Macias
Character Award: Alex Spencer
Women’s Track & Field
Player of the Year: Benjamin Lubker
Freshman of the Year: Leonard Lebrun
Most Improved: Carson Grawunder
Manning Trophy: Benjamin Lubker
Golfer of the Year: Mason Garrett
Freshman of the Year: Alexza Madrid
Most Improved: Bianca Cunningham
Leadership Award: Kira Weatherton
Most Improved: Hannah Gray