Hoos Ready For Hoos Choice Awards

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The Hoos Choice Awards, formerly known as the UVA All-Sports Banquet, return on Wednesday night. Virginia’s athletes and coaches will gather at the John Paul Jones Arena to celebrate the Cavalier sports year.

The event is not open to the public, but fans can watch a live stream on ACC Network Extra.

Among the honors announced at the event are the IMP Award for the top female athlete and the WINA Award for the top male athlete. That’s already started some conversations on the candidates on the Olympic Sports message board at TheSabre.com. Leah Smith and Malcolm Brogdon took home the recognition last year.

Let’s take a quick glance at some of the leading candidates for those two awards.

IMP Award – Top Female Athlete

Alexis Shaffer/Soccer: A semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy this past season, she helped the team reach the Sweet 16 for the 12th straight season. When her season ended, Shaffer led the ACC in goals (13) and points (32) and was sixth in assists (7). She finished her UVA career ranked sixth all-time and second among midfielders (behind only Morgan Brian) with 37 goals and 103 points.

Leah Smith/Swimming & Diving: Smith won the award last season and added to her all-time great status in the 12 months since. She won two medals, one gold and one bronze, at the Rio Olympics last summer. Back at UVA, she capped off her career as a 13-time All-America honoree with five this season alone (first-team in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle, and the 800-yard freestyle relay; honorable mention in the 400-yard freestyle relay). She swam the second fastest time in NCAA Championship history in the 500 and beat the pool record in a second-place swim in the 1,650, both behind the world’s top women’s swimmer Katie Ledecky.

Tara Vittese/Field Hockey: The repeat NFHCA National Player of the Year and 2016 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Vittese helped the field hockey team win its first ever ACC Championship. She had 15 goals and 11 assists this season and will enter her senior year ranked ninth in points (131), 10th in goals (47), and sixth in assists (37) at UVA.

Other possibilities include Christine Bohan/Track & Field (shot put titles at outdoor meets) and Cleo Boyd/Track & Field (10,000 meter winner at ACC meet last season after these awards and 3,000 meter school record holder in February).

Would you add anyone else? Let us know in the comments or on the boards!

WINA Award – Top Male Athlete

George DiCamillo/Wrestling: DiCamillo wrapped up a stellar career as the ACC Wrestler of the Year, the fourth person to earn that honor at Virginia. He matched the school’s best ever NCAA finish as well by taking home second at 141 pounds as he led the team to match the program’s best ever finish (15th). He finished his season with a 25-5 record.

Taquan Mizzell/Football: Mizzell finished his career as the only player in ACC history with 1,500+ yards rushing and 1,500+ yards receiving in a career. He ranked No. 16 all-time at UVA with 2,075 rushing yards and No. 12 all-time at UVA with 1,560 receiving yards. He’s No. 2 at-time at UVA with 195 receptions, the most in ACC history by a running back.

Jimmy Stanger/Golf: Stanger became just the third Cavalier to ever win the ACC individual title when he took the crown in a playoff. He forced his way into a four-player tie with a birdie on his final hole and then followed it up with a birdie on the first hole of the playoff to win. He earned a spot on the Ben Hogan national player of the year watch list and ended the fall ranked No. 2 nationally in the Golfstat standings. He led UVA in stroke average and took home three top 10 finishes in the fall.

Jordan Young/Track & Field: Young won the ACC Men’s Field Indoor Performer of the Year honor this winter. He finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw, the eighth time he’s earned All-American recognition. He won the ACC title. Young has won a field MVP award in the ACC three different times. The Cavaliers finished seventh at last season’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Other possibilities include Adam Haseley/Baseball (pitcher and center fielder among candidates for ACC and national awards again this spring), London Perrantes/Basketball (helped UVA win an NCAA Tournament game for the fourth straight season and finished among the school’s all-time leaders in wins and assists), and Zed Williams/Lacrosse (first-team All-ACC and UVA leader in assists; first player in the nation to reach 50 points and 50 ground balls; 2017 Tewaaraton Trophy watch list).

Would you add anyone else? Let us know in the comments or on the boards!

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