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Gamecock Gala

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Athletics held its annual Gamecock Gala on Monday, April 22, 2024, at Colonial Life Arena. The event honored the University’s top student-athletes for their accomplishments during the 2023-24 academic year.

Ayana Akli from women’s tennis took home the top award of the night as the President’s Award winner. The highest honor bestowed by the Athletics Department, the award is given annually to one student-athlete in his/her final year of eligibility to recognize a career of extraordinary talent in athletics, scholarship, leadership and service. Akli is a two-time All-SEC First-Team selection and a 2023 ITA All-American in both singles and doubles. The runner-up at the 2023 ITA Fall National Championships, Akli is ranked No. 9 in the nation in singles this season with a 24-10 record, leading the Gamecocks to the #19 in the nation ahead of the NCAA Tournament. The 2023 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women’s tennis, Akli completed her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in May 2023 and is pursuing her master’s degree in the field now. She was named to the 2023 SEC Women’s Tennis Community Service Team behind her work with Sandstorm Buddies, Richland 2 Elementary Schools, Curing Kids Cancer and the Gamecock Games.

Male Athlete of the Year went to football’s Xavier Legette who was an All-American and winner of the Blanchard-Rogers Trophy in 2023. His 71 receptions last fall ranked fifth in program history, and his 1,255 receiving yards were second in the Gamecock record books. Legette ranked eighth in the nation in 2023 with 104.6 receiving yards per game.

WNBA Draft No. 3 overall pick and 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Champion Kamilla Cardoso was the Female Athlete of the Year. The All-American was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four and the Albany 1 Regional. The program’s first WBCA Defensive Player of the Year was on the All-SEC First Team, leading the undefeated Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding throughout the season.

H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship – Female: Ayana Akli (Tennis)
H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship – Male: Kai Kroeger (Football)
Brad E. Davis Outstanding Community Service – Female: Emilia Reutimann (Equestrian)
Brad E. Davis Outstanding Community Service – Male: Daniel West (Swim & Dive)
Dodie Academic MVP Award: Junior Saint Juste (Men’s Soccer)
New Student-Athlete of the Year: Te-Hina Paopao (Women’s Basketball))
co-Female Freshman of the Year: JaMeesia Ford (Track & Field), MiLaysia Fulwiley (Basketball)
Male Freshman of the Year: Collin Murray-Boyles (Basketball)
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Skylar Allen (Beach Volleyball)
co-Male Scholar Athlete of the Year: Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (Basketball), Anass Essayi (Track & Field)
Team Impact Award: Women’s Soccer
Gamecock Leadership Award: Oby Anadi (Volleyball)
Gamecock Inspiration Award: Hannah Mackenhausen (Beach Volleyball)
Female Athlete of the Year: Kamilla Cardoso (Basketball)
Male Athlete of the Year: Xavier Legette (Football)
President’s Award: Ayana Akli (Women’s Tennis)

Previous Award Winners