An honor just to be nominated/Michael Bleach

The red carpet season has come and gone, complete with Jennifer Lawrence’s now-annual pratfall into the plush crimson swag.

Oscars were handed out, some deserved, some not so much. Twitter broke, Lupita Nyong’o made you cry, Meryl Streep confused a tweet and a selfie in the most adorable way and Ellen DeGeneres finally answered the age-old question of, yes, there is such thing as bad pizza.

But just because the Academy Awards have rebooted for another cycle does not mean the critical acclimation must come to an end.

As the View From the Bleachers loves a good gimmick column, here presented for the first time, come the Michigan Tech Trophies for the 2013-14 season!

First, I’d like to thank my Mom, Dad and all the people who never mind, this joke is as stale as DeGeneres’ pepperoni and sausage bit. I’ll play myself off.

On to the awards.

Best (One Game) Short Film – Jan. 31, Michigan Tech hockey at Bowling Green, 5-2 win.

The Husky hockey season basically hinged on this Ohio series.

Tech had won just 2 of their previous 12 games entering the weekend, and were in danger of missing the playoffs altogether, much less competing for home ice. Fast forward a month, and the long-waited goal binge has the hockey team on the verge of hosting a playoff series for the first time since 1993.

None of that happens without four straight goals from David Johnstone (2), Malcolm Gould and Tanner Kero to lift the team from the morass of mediocrity.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Football, Taylor Ziolkowski, linebacker.

Lots of worthy candidates in this category, with hockey freshman Reid Sturos’ late-season emergence from healthy scratch to top-six forward and senior Alex Culy’s (basketball) steady, unselfish, constant leadership.

But it’s Ziolkowski’s emotional performance on the last game of the season that nets him the hardware.

The undersized linebacker proved to be Tech’s most consistent playmaker all season, and came up biggest when it mattered most. ‘Z’ ended his career with a last-second, game-saving interception on the edge of the end zone, to see off Wayne State with a 28-21 win and clinch a fourth straight winning record for Tech.

Disney endings are less clich.

“You make an interception, in the red zone, to end the game, in your last game. Wow,” Tech coach Tom Kearly said at the time. “All we need now is a cheerleader running out from the third row and they will live happily ever after.”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Soccer, Lindsey Van Rooy, midfielder.

I’ve gushed plenty about the Tech soccer team’s journey from startup program to NCAA Tournament qualifier in four years time, and no player better sums up that journey than Van Rooy.

Not blessed with speed or size, Van Rooy found a way to score 21 goals with 12 assists in four years from the midfield thanks to uncanny instincts and a lethal shot.

Her double-overtime winner – on Youtube under “Last second double-overtime goal 11/5/13” – remains the most amazing athletic feat I have ever seen live.

You are not supposed to have buzzer beaters in soccer, but Van Rooy found a way. You are not supposed to have a winning soccer program in the U.P., but the Huskies have found a way there too.

Best Sound Editing – Video scoreboard, John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

There have been some rumblings in the Copper Country community that the new videoboard – complete with traditional kiss-cams and Husky goal montages – is taking away from the Michigan Tech Pep Band experience.

This is stupid.

A video scoreboard gives the hockey games an actual Division I sports feel. It is the same atmosphere you pay for at a Red Wings or Tigers game.

The Pep Band has their place – energy, tradition, funny chants, poorly played instruments – and they can coexist with shots of laughing toddlers and overplayed Icona Pop songs just fine.

Best Director (Coach) – Michelle Jacob, soccer.

Again, it is four degrees in Houghton in March. Michigan Tech has no business winning in soccer, much less a 14-5-2 record with an NCAA appearance to boot.

Jacob might be a sorceress.

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Austin Armga, basketball, guard.

I’ve covered Armga ad nauseam in this space and with the regular beat work, so few more words need to be said.

He has the most enjoyable offensive arsenal I have ever seen though. His last game (probably) at the SDC comes Wednesday. Tech fans should not miss it.

Best Actress in a Leading Role – Dani Blake, basketball, guard.

When Ferris State guard Sarah DeShone has nightmares, I bet the bogeyman’s arms look an awful lot like Blake’s.

The 6-foot guard absolutely wrecks offensive talents in the GLIAC. She manages somehow to be both quicker, and much, much longer than her opponent. Plus, she revels in guarding top scorers.

Add 13.5 points per game and the team’s leading rebounder to her resume, and you get what (should) be a first-team All-GLIAC contender, and solid argument for GLIAC Player of the Year in a league sans-Division I transfer Shareta Brown.

Best Picture – ???

The one you have all been waiting for. And it’s not ready to reveal yet.


The Husky basketball and hockey teams are in the thick of playoff races, with all three potentially making big noise in March. The hockey team might be turning in its best season in 20 years, while the men’s basketball team is one hot shooting stretch from a dangerous run in post season play.

The race is too close to call.

As I can hear my editor playing this too-long-column off the page, be sure enjoy the last few weeks of the busy winter sports season before your attention turns to baseball.

It has been a critically acclaimed year.