At Arizona Christian University, the spirit of athletic excellence and community shines brightly, as exemplified by the recent 11th Annual Westphal Athletic Awards. Hosted at the Haven Church in Glendale, Arizona, this prestigious event brought together athletes, coaches, and the ACU community to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the 2023-24 athletic year.

A Night of Recognition and Joy

The evening kicked off with basketball players Emily Till and Dominic Gonzalez warmly welcoming distinguished guests, parents, and peers, setting the stage for a night of celebration. Rick Gannon, the Dynamic Strength Training Director of Performance, initiated the awards presentation by announcing the winners of the Female and Male FIRE-Starter Awards, celebrating those who ignite passion and perseverance in their teams.

The awards ceremony continued with various esteemed presenters, including Director of Campus Operations John Hoebee and Facilities Manager Darren Neilsen, who introduced the Good Samaritan Award—a new accolade acknowledging acts of bravery and sacrifice.

A Night of Recognition and Joy

Honors and Heartfelt Moments

The event was rich with heartfelt moments, notably when former Campus Pastor Tim Reed presented the Service Award named after him, and Don King, an ACU Board Member, distributed the Inspirational Award. These moments not only highlighted individual achievements but also the strong sense of community and support among the ACU family.

The Champions of Faith recognition was particularly moving, with ten student-athletes being honored for their exemplary commitment to faith and sport. This segment, presented by ACU Campus Pastor Travis Turner and Transformation Coach Randy Chambers, evolved from the former Female and Male Faith Award, showcasing the university’s commitment to nurturing holistic excellence.

Celebrating Milestones and a Grand Finale

The ceremony was punctuated by milestone moments from nearly every ACU team, celebrating significant achievements throughout the year. Before the night concluded, Cindy Westphal and Associate Athletic Director Keith Baker presented the prestigious Paul Westphal Award to Amaya Brown from beach volleyball, recognizing her as an outstanding teammate.

The audience also participated in voting for the Best Play of the year, which was awarded to Marlon Arce for his decisive goal in Men’s Soccer, securing their spot in the GSAC postseason.

Congratulations to the 2024 Westphal Athletic Award Winners

The list of awardees is a testament to the diverse and remarkable talent at ACU. From Joelle Dowdy in Softball and Will Chambers in Football receiving the FIRE-Starter Awards to Eva Garraux in Women’s Swimming and Marques Titialii in Baseball being honored as Athletes of the Year, the event celebrated achievements across all sports.

Congratulations to the 2024 Westphal Athletic Award Winners

A Community United in Celebration

As we reflect on the Westphal Athletic Awards, it’s clear that the heart of ACU athletics beats strong with passion, dedication, and community spirit. These celebrations transcend mere recognition; they weave us closer together, fostering a community united in its pursuit of excellence. Congratulations to all the nominees, recipients, and the entire ACU community for another outstanding year in sports. Here’s to continuing the legacy of excellence and community in the years to come.

Roll Storm!

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