By Vince Carango

Twenty-one awards were handed out during Madonna University’s fifth annual Blue and Gold Awards at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi Sept 11.

The event started with a Mass, which attracted most of the student-athletes and their families. After Mass, teams and family members moved to the Diamond Room within the facility to proceed with dinner for all of the attendees, and then the awards ceremony. 

 The 2011 Blue and Gold Awards included several multiple award winners in Michelle Hall, Justin Taurence, and men’s baseball

Hall (women’s golf) was awarded Female Athlete of the Year, and the ‘One Shining Moment” Award, after overcoming a seven-shot deficit to take the conference title and a trip to the NAIA National Championship.

Taurence (men’s golf) took a trip to the podium three times during the night.  He was awarded the Male Champion of Character, Male Scholar Athlete, and the Sister Rose Marie Kujawa Leadership Award.

Taurence expressed his gratitude during one of his acceptance speech. 

“First off, I would like to thank God.  And then my family and peers for seeing me fit for these awards.  I am truly honored,” Taurence said.

The men’s baseball was also recognized twice, for Male Team of the Year, and the 2011 Male Academic Team with a 3.01 cumulative GPA. This award came as a surprise as last year’s host Jim Woodworth gave the diamond Crusaders some in-good-fun rib shots about their study habits, and it must have worked seeing as it vaulted them to the top of the list.

Madonna Men’s Baseball coach Greg Haeger expressed the love for his team, which has won him Coach of the Year honors two out of the past three seasons.

“I know this is an award for the coach of the winning team,” said Haeger, “but I owe all of this to my team.  They are a great bunch of guys and they deserve the credit.”

The evening’s most prestigious awards--Mister and Miss Crusader- were the final honors handed out.

Mister Crusader was handed to Jeff Bultnick (baseball).

Miss Crusader was a tie between Ashley Shay (softball) and Tabitha Wydryck (women’s basketball). 

The Mister and Miss Crusader Award winners are selected and voted on by their peers and are given to student-athletes who demonstrates the most Crusader spirit and the five core values of the NAIA; Integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.

In conclusion, Athletic Director Brian Rizzo said a few words.

“This night is about Madonna athletics and the recognition of the athletes and their coaches.  We look forward to another successful year in the 2011/2012 season.”


Female Rookie of the Year- Evia Prieditis

Male Rookie of the Year- Bobby Naubert

Julie Martin Memorial Scholarship- Amber Rafko

Female Champion on Character- Ashley Shay

Male Champion of Character- Justin Taurence

Sister Rose Marie Kujawa Leadership- Justin Taurence/ Tabitha Wydryck

Female Athlete of the Year- Michelle Hall

Male Athlete of the Year- Jeremy Gooding

Female Scholar Athlete- Karie Altman

Male Scholar Athlete- Justin Taurence

Sister Franceline Lifetime Achievement Award- Dr. Karen Ross

Mister Crusader- Jeff Bultnick

Miss Crusader- Ashley Shay/ Tabitha Wyrdyck



Blue and Gold Awards honors more than just playing sports