Champagnie headlines Pitt’s weekly award winners


Carolyn Pallof | Staff Photographer

First-year forward Justian Champagnie put up 30 points during Saturday’s 73-64 victory over Georgia Tech.

By Trent Leonard, Sports Editor

As the college sports world announced its weekly award winners on Tuesday, it became clear just how successful of a week it was for Pitt athletes. First-year men’s basketball forward Justin Champagnie and senior gymnast Michaela Burton headlined the group by earning national recognition, while junior second baseman Lolo Sanchez and junior high jumper Greg Lauray were named Pitt’s male and female Student-Athletes of the Week.

Justin Champagnie

Champagnie earned CBS Sports’ Freshman of the Week accolades after averaging 25 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in Pitt’s two contests at Notre Dame and against Georgia Tech. The distinction makes him the first Panther to earn a national weekly award since Tray Woodall was named USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week Feb. 6, 2012.

Champagnie was one of Pitt’s lone bright spots in a loss to the Fighting Irish last Wednesday, leading the team with 20 points and 11 rebounds on 2-5 shooting from 3-point range. He was even better on Saturday, leading Pitt to victory over Georgia Tech with a career-high 30 points on 12-17 shooting from the field, 3-4 from deep and 3-3 from the foul line.

As the 11th recipient of the award this season, Champagnie joins a list filled with the nation’s top young talent. Projected NBA draft lottery picks to earn Freshman of the Week honors this season include Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr., Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey and Memphis’s Precious Achiuwa.

Michaela Burton

Burton, for the second time this season, was named the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Gymnast of the Week for her efforts in Pitt’s Saturday match against NC State. She led Pitt on every event in which she competed — on bars (9.850), balance beam (9.875) and floor exercise (9.875 – career high).

With her performance on the uneven bars, Burton has now won the event at four of the Panthers’ five meets so far this season. She leads the EAGL on bars with an average score of 9.840, ranking 50th in the nation.

Burton is one of five Panthers ever to earn the honor, along with Lindsay Offutt (three times in 2016), Tracey Pearson (2016), Alicia Talucci (2009, 2010) and Alix Croop (2009).

Greg Lauray

Lauray was one of two Panthers to receive Pitt’s in-house weekly athletics honor, the Office Depot Student-Athletes of the Week, for his record-setting performance at the track and field team’s Meyo Invitational held over the weekend at Notre Dame.

With the pressure on Lauray to tie Rutgers junior Perry Christie for a share of the men’s high jump title Friday night, he rose — literally — to the occasion and cleared the bar at seven-feet, 3.75-inches. In the process, Lauray also broke his own Pitt record that he set last season.

Lauray now has the highest jump in the ACC and seventh best in the NCAA this season.

Lolo Sanchez

Sanchez had already earned recognition in The Pitt News’ Panther Spotlight, but the University confirmed her stellar week by making the junior its second recipient for the Office Depot Student-Athletes of the Week award.

The California native looked right at home in Pitt softball’s season debut at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament in Los Angeles over the weekend. Over the Panthers’ five games, Sanchez impressed with 10 total bases, two RBIs and two runs. She led Pitt with a .571 batting average and .714 slugging percentage, and the team finished with two wins over CSU Bakersfield and San Diego.

The softball season remains in its infancy, but Sanchez currently ranks fourth in the ACC in batting average and on base percentage (.625). Pitt will hope for Sanchez to carry that momentum throughout the season as it looks to improve upon 2019’s 13-41 record.