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PAGE B10 | Thursday, April 30, 2009

Athletes, coaches honored at 7th annual Catspys By Sam Ranard sports@kykernel.com

Exchanging their jerseys and sneakers for jackets and dresses, UK Athletics celebrated the best of the best at the seventh annual Catspy Awards. Scores of athletes and coaches from all 22 varsity sports at UK filled Memorial Coliseum to honor their peers in this year’s Catspy Awards. A total of five teams and 28 individuals were honored Wednesday night. The Catspys were created to emulate the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual sports awards show. In 2003, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart wanted to do something for the athletes and coaches to show appreciation for their hard work on and off the field, using the Catspys to do so. For the second year in a row, ESPN personality Jay Crawford

PHOTO BY ZACH BRAKE | STAFF

UK rifle head coach Harry Mullins won Coach of the Year at the 2009 Catspy Awards ceremony Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.

hosted the event with co-host Christi Thomas. In a departure from recent years, it was not the men’s basketball team or the football team that stole the show, but it was the

NCAA runner-up rifle team and the track and field teams that took home most of the hardware. The rifle team took home four Catspys, including K-Associa-

tion’s Male Athlete of the Year, given to Tom Csenge, and Coach of the Year, which was awarded to rifle head coach Harry Mullins. “They won it for me,” Mullins said. “Coach of the Year is just pretty much a direct reflection on them, they’re the ones that make me look good … Sometimes I feel like I’m just the bus driver.” The men’s track and field team took home its share of awards as well. Coming off its best season ever, the Cats wrapped up the season last June finishing ninth at the NCAA Championship. The track and field team won the Male Team of the Year, while the women’s volleyball team was honored with Female Team of the Year. Sarah Rumely, the first volleyball player in school history to win the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, won Female Athlete of the Year. “It’s such a great award,

there are so many deserving people and I just can’t believe they picked me,” Rumely said. Carly Ormerod of the women’s basketball team and Ashley Trimble of track and field were named Miss Wildcat. Trimble said she was honored to receive the award. “We’ve all been through so much and there’s plenty of times when you just want to stop and quit,” Trimble said. Jodie Meeks won the Male Performance of the Year award. Despite playing in front of over 20,000 fans at Rupp Arena, Meeks said he was nervous while receiving his award. Men’s tennis player Bruno Agostinelli, who has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, received co-Male Athlete of the Year, which he shared with Rifle all-American Tom Csenge, as well as co-Mr. Wildcat.

McClendon hopes to provide spark for Bat Cats By Metz Camfield mcamfield@kykernel.com

The UK baseball team is looking for a spark to keep its season alive. After dropping six of their last eight and 13 of their last 17, the Cats (2222, 7-14 Southeastern Conference) are staring their postseason fate dead in the eye. The top eight teams in the conference earn a spot in the SEC tournament, and the Cats are two games behind the current No. 8 seed, South Carolina. Perhaps the best player to help provide the last bit of life for the Cats is “Sparky” — senior third baseman Chris McClendon. “I wouldn’t say that my role is to actually hype

people up,” McClendon said. “But I do have the nickname and that’s the way I like to play the game. I like to come out and bring some extra energy, bring an extra spark between the lines and try to get the team going with my personal abilities.” McClendon battled hamstring and back injuries last year and has fought a nagging hamstring injury again this year. In a game against Marshall on March 31, McClendon was injured after running into a brick wall while chasing a foul ball. Recently, McClendon has seemed to find his old form at the plate during a four-game hitting streak. He has hit .429 with three RBI during the hitting streak and

has been a much-needed source of offensive production for the Cats. “Where it hurt us the most is offensively,” junior center fielder Keenan Wiley said. “He was a really good hitter for us last year. He was one of the leaders for us on our team hitswise and stats-wise. When you’re trying to produce runs in this league you need everybody you can. He’s an experienced guy and we’ve missed that.” McClendon led all returning players on UK’s roster this year with a .346 batting average in 2008. But UK head coach Gary Henderson said injuries slowed McClendon for most of this season. “He’s a guy that had a really good year last year,” Henderson said. “He’s a

guy that should be able to provide some senior leadership, hit in the middle of the order and drive in runs. Unfortunately, he got a little bit behind and he pressed a little bit. The game is hard when that goes on.” McClendon, as one of only four seniors, has a leadership role Wiley said hasn’t wavered. A self-proclaimed leader by example, McClendon said sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone and be more vocal to get the team fired up. With just three SEC series left, it may be more necessary to do that now than ever before. For McClendon, a second straight trip to the postseason would be “awesome.”

PHOTO BY BRITNEY MCINTOSH | STAFF

Senior third baseman Chris McClendon, left, is batting .247 for the Bat Cats this season. “I want to go out on top; I don’t want to go out thinking we underachieved,” McClendon said. “We just have to go out and play hard. We’re two games out so everybody’s pretty excited about

that. ... We’re just going to go out and keep playing hard and I think you might see a pretty lively club. If we can make some ground up and make the playoffs I think anything can happen.”

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that. ... We’re just going to go out and keep playing hard and I think you might see a pretty lively club. If we can make some ground up and...