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Previewing the 2021 Cuse Awards

A look back at the highlights of a strange year

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight will be the annual ‘Cuse Awards where the top performers and moments for the Syracuse Orange in the 2020-21 year will be recognized. It’s usually an opportunity for athletes to get together and celebrate their accomplishments but like most things this year the event has gone virtual.

Let’s look at some of the categories and nominees announced and see who should take home some hardware.

Rookie of the Year

On the men’s side we have Owen Hiltz (Lacrosse), Sean Tucker (Football) and Deandre Kerr (Soccer). The nominees for the women are Kamilla Cardoso (Basketball), Lea Dahn (Rowing), Lauren Hogan (Volleyball), Eefke Van De Nieuwenhof (Field Hockey), Viktoriya Kanapatskaya (Tennis), Emma Ward (Lacrosse) and Tatum White (Ice Hockey).

You can’t go wrong on the men’s side but Tucker seems like the favorite as one of the bright spots for football. Cardoso should take the women’s award but with her transfer to South Carolina it could go Kanapatskaya or Ward who are certainly deserving.

Performance of the Year

It seems like Meaghan Tyrrell’s seven goals and three assists against Loyola in the NCAA Tournament stands out among this group.

Phaup and Tucker certainly had memorable games but Buddy Boeheim’s performance against San Diego State certainly stands out for this year.

Game of the Year

Many of you are probably going to say Men’s Basketball over West Virginia to advance to the Sweet Sixteen but was that even the best game of the hoops season? The men’s crew domination on the Charles and the hockey win over Penn State in the CHA Tournament warrant strong consideration here.

I didn’t see nominees for some of these other categories but we can still do predictions.

Male Athlete of the Year: Garrett Williams (Football). Buddy Boeheim had a great run in late February into March but Williams became the first college defender to turn a Trevor Lawrence pass into an interception return for a touchdown and he also provided the possible play of the year.

Female Athlete of the Year: Meaghan Tyrrell (Lacrosse). The track loyalist in me wanted to recognize Amanda Vestri’s year but the way Tyrrell took over for the Orange lacrosse team was incredibly impressive.

Team of the Year: Women’s Lacrosse. With a special nod to Men’s Rowing which performed well this Spring getting all three boats to the grand final of the IRA Regatta, it was the Orange women who stood out as they overcame devastating injuries on their way to the National Championship game.

Now it’s your turn to make some predictions in the comments for your chance to score some NunesBucks.