Arizona Wildcats' sports senior awards
Best Leader: Ansel Ivens-Anderson
Wildcat hockey forward Ansel Ivens-Anderson distinguished himself this past season as arguably the best leader of any UA sport. Head coach Sean Hogan dubbed him the 2013-14 captain because of his strong academics, his experience in college hockey and support from his teammates.
He wore the “C” on his sweater during his second and final season with Arizona. Ivens-Anderson finished second on the team with 43 points. While he was hampered by a fractured bone in his foot for the majority of the year, he still played in 33 of the Wildcats’ 41 regular-season games.
Ivens-Anderson’s defining moment as a true leader of the program came in Arizona’s 2-1 victory over ASU on Feb. 1. The night before the game, he developed flu-like symptoms and even had to leave for the locker room multiple times during the game to vomit. But that didn’t stop Ivens-Anderson from scoring the game-winning goal in the third period to snap the Sun Devils’ 37-game win streak over the UA.
Also in the Wildcats’ first-round national tournament loss to Illinois, two of the their three goals came from Ivens-Anderson. He tallied an assist that game as well.
1- Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat: Estela Piñon pitches during Arizona Softball's 7-1 win against Utah on April 25. Piñon went 17-7 with a 2.54 ERA during the 2014 regular season. 2- Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat: All-around gymnast Shana Sangston is graduating with a 3.84 GPA in family studies and human development. Sangston was Pac-12 First-Team All-Academic. 3- Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat: Senior quarterback B.J. Denker looks for an open receiver during the game against Washington. @VanillaV1ck7, Denker's handle in the Twitterverse, is known for his funny tweets. 4- File Photo / The Daily Wildcat: Nose tackle Tevin Hood was known for his distinctive ski mask and long dreadlocks. Hood passed his mask to projected starting nose tackle Dwight Melvin in hopes that the new style will flourish. 5- Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat: Forward Ansel Ivens-Anderson served as hockey team captain for the 2013-2014 season. Ivens-Anderson scored the goal that ended Arizona's 37-game winless streak against ASU despite suffering flu-like symptons.
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo
Hardest Worker: Shana Sangston
In a sport where so many athletes fall to injury and must end their careers at an early age, Arizona women’s gymnastics senior Shana Sangston is one of the first athletes in Arizona gymnastics history to compete in every meet since the beginning of her career.
According to Elsevier Global Medical News, for every 1,000 gymnasts, there are 4.8 injuries per year. Sangston has also earned a career total of over 1,110 points. Besides working hard in competition, she has also received outstanding grades in the classroom, recently earning a 3.84 GPA and First-team All-Academic honors for the third time in her gymnastics career.
Sangston has career bests of 9.825 on vault, 9.775 in uneven bars, 9.825 in balance beam and 9.850 on floor.
—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20
Best Style: Tevin Hood
Having swag while being a big guy can sometimes be hard, but Tevin Hood puts it together in a 6-foot, 302-pound package.
No one’s style flourished more than Arizona football’s Tevin Hood’s. The senior nose tackle was known for wearing a ski mask underneath his football helmet. It was an intense look that left only his eyes visible, and one that put fear in the hearts of many opposing quarterbacks.
It’s a look that he hopes becomes a staple for Wildcat nose tackles. After graduating, Hood gave his ski mask to the expected 2014 starting nose tackle Dwight Melvin, who has said he will absolutely help continue the tradition. Along with his mask, Hood’s long dreadlocks and many tattoos — a few of which are Arizona-themed — make him an easy pick for the most stylish senior at Arizona.
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella
Best Turn Around: Estela Pinñon
After losing staff ace Kenzie Fowler to a back injury last season, the Arizona softball team had to turn to other pitchers to pick up the slack. The team relied on then-juniors Shelby Babcock and Estela Piñon to carry the majority of the load.
Babcock led the 2013 team in wins and strikeouts, while Piñon led the team with a 3.53 ERA. However, the duo combined for 29-20 and the team won only 33 games.
The 2014 team has rebounded despite both Fowler and Babcock struggling through injuries and inconsistency this season. The major reason behind the eight-win turnaround, with the NCAA Championship still to go, was the drastic improvement of Piñon on the mound.
Piñon went 17-6 with 124 strikeouts and a 2.35 ERA in her 143 innings of work over 32 total appearances during the regular season, after going 13-8 in 2013.
Arizona head coach Mike Candrea expressed his confidence in Piñon throughout the season and often leaned on her, by necessity, to finish games.
It’s safe to say Piñon saved the 2014 season for Candrea and his coaching staff.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555
Best Tweeter: B.J. Denker
With a Twitter handle like “@VanillaV1ck7,” Arizona fans knew what they were getting from B.J. Denker on their Twitter timeline, even if he didn’t wow them on the football field at first.
While the quarterback took time to mature into the AdvoCare V100 Bowl Offensive MVP, he was consistently a good tweeter.
Denker was known for his love of Chipotle: “Lately I’ve been cheating on Chipotle with In-n-Out. #Unfaithful.”
He also tweeted gems like, “Just had my first cup of coffee from Starbucks in my life. White girls, it’s not that serious!” and proclaimed that it was “weird” to see grown men wearing jerseys of other “grown men.”
Denker was usually the go-to guy for Daily Wildcat sports editors to find a “Tweet to Note” each day.
—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520