Air Force Water Polo Announces 2006 Team Awards
March 26, 2007
USAFA, Colo. - Air Force head water polo coach Jeff Ehrlich is proud to announce the recipients of the 2006 team awards, as given out during the team's annual awards banquet last month.
The Falcons' top awardwinner this year was senior Denver Saunders (Roseville, Calif.), named the 2006 Air Force water polo MVP. Saunders, the Falcons' starting goalkeeper tallied 304 saves on the season, ranking third in the nation.
The team's captains' awards went to seniors Danny Kimmich (La Jolla, Calif.), Blake Pickell (Santa Ana, Calif.), Matt LeBlanc (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Kyle Schafer (Irvine, Calif.). Kimmich and Pickell served as the Falcons' Academy-recognized captains, while LeBlanc and Schafer served as the weightlifting and warm-up captains, respectively.
Newcomers Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.) and Jack Hines (Riverside, Calif.) shared rookie of the year honors. Churnside notched 23 goals and 21 assists, while Hines added 11 goals and six assists for the Falcons. Receiving recognition as the most improved player was sophomore Kevin Williams (River Forest, Ill.), who recorded 11 goals and five assists on the season.
Sharing offensive MVP honors for the second-straight season were juniors Clark Condict (Irvine, Calif.) and Justin Berry (Windermere, Fla.). Condict, who currently ranks among the Falcons' top-25 career scorers, finished the season with 38 goals and 19 assists. Meanwhile, Berry recorded a team-best 40 goals and added five assists. Garnering top defensive honors was sophomore Tyler Hewko (Laguna Hills, Calif.), a utility player who led the team with 25 assists on the season.
The final three awards handed out at the Falcons' annual banquet included nods for the Hardest Worker, Most Inspirational and the Derek Argel Memorial Award. Junior Chris Pace (Santa Ynez, Calif.) was a repeat recipient of the Hardest Worker award, Joey Brewer (So., Clovis, Calif.) was named Most Inspirational, and Kimmich was given the Derek Argel Memorial Award, named for the former Air Force water polo player who was involved in a fatal aircraft crash in Iraq in May 2005. The Derek Argel Memorial Award, in its second season, will be awarded annually to the player who demonstrates perseverance and an incredible work ethic, those attributes which most exemplify the character of Argel.
Additional recognition at the awards banquet included the members of the Falcon Club, as well as academic achievement. The Falcon Club recognizes the team's elite athletes. Eight past and present Air Force water polo players are currently members of the Falcon Club, including Saunders, Schafer and Berry.
On the academic side, Schafer, a recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Award, earned the team's Scholar-Athlete Award for recording the highest GPA. Also honored for having at least a 3.0 GPA were Kimmich, Pickell, Berry, Pace, Matt Duncan, Kevin McDonald (So., Santa Ynez, Calif.), Miles McMullan (So., Irvine, Calif.) and Jordan Rozsa (Fr., Hacienda Heights, Calif.).
Air Force is slated to go on its annual spring training trip at Navy next month, April 20-22.