As the 2015 season has come to a close, Utah announced its team awards last Saturday at the annual team banquet. The categories of awards are Most Valuable, Most Inspirational, Most Improved, Academic Achievement, and Mr. Reliable.
This year’s MVP award goes to sophomore Parker McGuiness from McKinney, Texas. Parker joined the Utes this season after playing at North Carolina State for one season, where he finished with a 6-4 record in singles and 5-3 mark in doubles.
During his first season at Utah, McGuiness garnered a 15-9 singles record primarily from the No. 2 position. He also netted an 8-5 doubles record mainly at the No. 2 spot. He made a splash in the Pac-12 with wins over Washington and Arizona. His non-conference singles record was highlighted by wins against No. 37 New Mexico and No. 44 Penn from the No. 1 singles position
McGuinnes earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for his role in defeating rival BYU on the road. Partnering with Jamey Swiggart at No. 3 doubles, he clinched the doubles point for the Utes beating Shane Monroe and Jeremy Bourgeois, 7-6(2). McGuiness earned a straight set victory at No. 2 singles over Andrey Goryachkov, 7-5, 6-2, propelling the Utes to the 4-2 victory over the Cougars.
A freshman from Mexico City, Santiago Sierra has been named the Most Inspirational Player for this season. As a junior player in Mexico, Sierra ranked in the top 10 in the nation (under 18) and earned an ITF ranking of 430.
Santiago exhibited passion throughout the season, inspiring his teammates and coaches with his energy and fight on the court at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions. Although he did not clinch a Pac-12 singles victory, Sierra earned crucial 3-set victories to secure two neutral site wins for Utah. As a last minute substitute, he defeated Neal Port 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-3 to clinch the match against No. 55 Elon, 4-3, in the first round of the Kick-Off Weekend, after a 4 hour and 35 minute battle. Utah defeated Yale, 5-2, following Sanitago’s 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 victory over Daniel Faierman.
Sierra and fellow freshman Johan Jonhagen found success at the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions. Playing against primarily upperclassmen, the tandem clinched 9 doubles victories for the Utes, including a conference win over Arizona.
Junior Jamey Swiggart has won the Most Improver Player award. He hails from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and this is his first season with Utah after compiling a 25-10 singles record during two years at Idaho State.
Swiggart did not make the traveling team at the beginning of the season, but he didn’t let that hamper his motivation. Jamey’s hard work this season paid off, as he played No. 5 and No. 6 singles during Pac-12 Conference play, securing a 1-2 record. Following senior Slim Hamza’s season ending injury, Swiggart teamed up with Parker McGuiness at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to amass a 4-3 record, including a victory over Washington in the Pac-12 tournament.
Junior Matt Cowley has won the Most Academic award. This honor is bestowed based on GPA, rigor of courses taken, and overall academic performance.
Cowley grew up in Bountiful, Utah, where he attended Woods Cross High School. Cowley found success the court this semester, securing a 12-9 doubles record with parter Cedric Willems at the No. 1 position and positing 7 wins primarily at the No. 3 and No. 4 singles spots. Cowley’s performance is the classroom is just as impressive as his achievements on the court.
Cowley will major in psychology, and he plans to pursue the highest level of education possible after graduating next year. He strives to attain a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and a Masters in Business Administration. He also desires to be a professor
Freshman Johan Jonhagen, from Stockholm, Swewden, has been given the first Mr. Reliable award. This honor is given to the player who exhibits accountability and work ethic throughout practices, training, class attendance and meetings.
In junior play, Johan reached an ITF ranking of 629 and helped his team win the Swedish National team Championships. His success continued with the Utes, as he netted a 8-6 record from the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions. While Jonhagen was reliable in dual match play, his responsibility was particularly noticed by his coaches and trainers. Jonhagen never missed an appointment and was present at every practice and training session throughout the year, setting an fantastic example for his team.