FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State Rams volleyball team hosted its annual year-end banquet on Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Grand Ballroom at the Lory Student Center.
The evening began with a social hour and dinner, followed by a live auction. Items for sale included an autographed game ball from CSU’s NCAA Tournament match against Kentucky, a signed and framed Cassidy Denny jersey, a five-course wine-pairing dinner at head coach Tom Hilbert’s house (with service from the entire staff), and a CSU volleyball-hosted birthday party for children under the age of 14.
The 2016 season highlight video was then unveiled for the audience of donors, fans and families to witness. The video featured interviews and perspectives from Hilbert, Denny and the team’s four juniors – Sanja Cizmic, Jasmine Hanna, Alexandra Poletto and McKenna Thornlow.
Hilbert then took the mic and told the story of Denny’s upbringing and how she chose Colorado State. Hilbert summarized that Denny knew exactly what she wanted out of her experience at CSU, and how she earned that reality.
The serious tone of Hilbert’s story about his senior libero then took a humorous turn. He began to weave a tale about Denny in the near future (a successful Wall Street trader turned reality TV star and global ambassador), culminating in a rap that Will Smith himself taught Hilbert – “Gettin’ Diggy With It”.
Next, team awards were handed out by first-year assistant coach Emily Hiza:
Coaches’ Award – Cassidy Denny
BOM Squad MVP (scout team MVP) – Breana Runnels
Debbie Murphy Most Inspirational Award (voted on by the players) – Jessica Jackson
Team MVP (voted on by the players) – Katie Oleksak
Emcee Matt Wozniak closed the evening by recapping how the program isn’t just about conference championships (20 total), 20-win seasons (22 years in a row) or NCAA Tournament appearances (22 consecutive), but it’s more about the people – the players, coaches, fans, donors, support staff, and others.
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