This past Thursday evening, May 12th, Arizona Christian University held the third annual Westphal Athletic Awards Ceremony at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Scottsdale, AZ.  Over 300 guests enjoyed the black tie event honoring outstanding student athletes for their achievements and character. Athletes and teams were nominated by ACU’s coaching staff and winners were chosen by an independent group of staff members. The sixteen “Westphal Awards,” named for former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal, who started his coaching career at ACU (at the time, Southwestern Baptist Bible College), were awarded throughout the evening by student presenters. Jared Cohen of Sports 360 AZ was the night’s emcee, sharing comical and inspiring personal stories about specific stand-out ACU athletes.

Arizona Christian University’s President Len Munsil and his wife Dr. Tracy Munsil opened the evening by presenting the Female and Male Faith Awards. President Munsil encouraged the crowd to continue using their talents and abilities for God’s glory, using the compelling story of the Olympic runner, Eric Little, as an example. Each award winner gave a humble “thank you” speech and Coach of the Year winner, Randy Chambers, received a standing ovation from the crowd for his service as Spiritual Formation Coach to all teams. Coach Westphal shared personal stories of failures and triumphs throughout his career, encouraging the student athletes in the importance of being a strong and reliable team player. He ended the night by awarding senior basketball player Jackson Helms with the Westphal Award for being ACU’s “best teammate.”

ACU’s 2016 Westphal Award Winners:

Female Faith Award: Emily Devore (Softball)
Male Faith Award: Zach Vogel (Baseball)
Record Breaking Performance: Women’s Golf
Best Game: Women’s Tennis
Best Come-From-Behind Performance: Tia Okano (Women’s Tennis)
Service Award: James Riesing (Men’s Soccer)
Break-Through Performance: Football V. Langston
Most Inspirational: PJ Sparks (Football)
Best Upset: Men’s Golf
Comeback Athlete: Julie Springerley (Women’s Cross Country)
Best Play: Ashlynn Preciado and Meaghen Nelson (Softball)
Best Team: Softball
Coach of the Year: Randy Chambers (Spiritual Formation Coach)
Female Athlete of the Year: Abby Beasley (Softball)
Male Athlete of the Year: Gerrit Groenewold (Football)
Westphal Award: Jackson Helms (Men’s Basketball)

Congratulations to all the 2016 Westphal Award Winners!