WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest Athletics held the fourth annual Black & Golden Globe awards on Saturday, April 30, to honor student-athletes and coaches for athletic excellence and achievements throughout the 2015-16 academic year.
The annual event featured a red carpet as student-athletes, coaches and athletic department staff arrived at Benton Convention Center in Downtown Winston-Salem. While honoring athletic excellence, various other awards were also handed out, including the best team video and best on social media, among others.
Jessie Merckle has won two events in the javelin throw, winning each time by a sizable margin. IN her senior debut, Merckle won at the Wake Forest Open with a toss of 52.02m to out-distance the field by more than 20 feet. To follow it up, the All-American launched a school-record 56.91m throw to win the title at the High Point VertKlasse meet earlier this month. The throw at the High Point meet broke her own previous school record by nearly three meters and was 4.44m further than the event's runner up. On the national scale, Merckle's school-record toss ranks third nationally this season.
Jack Harrison broke onto the college soccer scene with a bang in the fall of 2015 in scoring eight goals to go with 11 assists for 27 points. Harrison helped lead the Deacs to a 17-3-2 season and an appearance in the Elite Eight. Along the way, the freshman was named the first player in ACC history to earn Offensive Player and Freshman of the Year in the same season. At season's end, he was also named a NSCAA First Team All-American, the first men's soccer All-American for the team since 2008, while also being named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
In her first season with the Demon Deacons, Ariel Stephenson finished second on the women's basketball team with 12.7 points per game while appearing in all 33 games with 25 starts on the year. Throughout the season, Stephenson led the team with 24 double-figure scoring games and was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team by both the Head Coaches and Blue Ribbon Panel, becoming the first Demon Deacon to be named to the team since Sandra Garcia in 2010. After the season, Stephenson was honored for academic performance in being named to the ACC All-Academic Team.
In a league full of freshman standouts, Bryant Crawford was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team at season's end in 2016 after averaging 13.8 points per game during his first season with the Demon Deacons. Crawford shined throughout the season in leading all ACC freshmen with 133 assists and 52 steals on the season. During the year, Crawford became the sixth ACC freshman since 2000 to amass 400 points, 125 assists and 50 steals in a season. Crawford had five 20-point games on the year, including when he became the first Deacon in 11 years to have a 20-point, five-rebound, five-assist, five-steal game at Pittsburgh. To open the year, Crawford scored at least 20 points in two of the first three contests, becoming the first Deacon freshman to accomplish the feat since Rodney Rogers in 1990-91.
In his first season at the helm of the men's soccer program, Bobby Muuss guided the Deacs to a 17-3-2 record with the regular-season ACC title and an appearance in the Elite Eight. To go with the outstanding overall record, Wake Forest went 6-0-2 in ACC play, which marked just the third unbeaten ACC season in program history. In the NCAA Tournament, Wake Forest earned the No. 1 overall seed and led the Demon Deacons to their deepest run in the tournament since 2009. At season's end, Muuss was named the ACC Coach of the Year over NSCAA National Coach of the Year Mike Noonan of Clemson.
Concluding his fifth year with the Demon Deacon coaching staff, Dane Brenner was named the NSCAA's National Assistant Coach of the Year in December after helping guide the Deacs to a 17-3-2 record on the season. Also named the NSCAA South Region Assistant Coach of the Year, Brenner coached goalkeeper Alec Ferrell to a career year, as Ferrell gave up just 12 goals on the season while posting an 0.66 GAA throughout the season.
Women's Team of the Year: Tennis
Wake Forest women's tennis started the 2016 season with nine wins in a row, the longest streak to start a season in program history, and didn't look back from there. Finishing the regular season and ACC Tournament with a 19-9 record, the Demon Deacons have posted their highest win total since 2002 when they won 18 matches. This season, Wake Forest posted seven ACC victories, which marked the most since winning eight conference matches in 2000. Eight of the team's wins overall this season have come against ranked opponents and the team beat then-No. 10 Virginia last month for its first win over a top-10 opponent since 2007. This week, the team awaits its NCAA Tournament fate as it looks to return to the Big Dance as an at-large selection.
Men's Team of the Year: Tennis
Wake Forest men's tennis has already set a program record with 29 victories on the year to just five losses. Along the way, 16 of the team's victories have come against nationally-ranked foes. Entering the year with five wins over top-10 opponents since 2001, Wake Forest has more than doubled that mark thanks in part to road wins over then-No. 2 Oklahoma, then-No. 1 North Carolina. In the ACC Tournament, Wake Forest captured its first-ever ACC Tournament title with a 4-3 victory over No. 1 Virginia. As the ACC's automatic qualifier thanks to the tournament championship, the Deacs are looking to host a NCAA Regional for the second season in a row this year.