Women's Athletics annual year-end awards announced
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 30th annual University of Texas Women's Athletics All Sports Awards presentation took place on Tuesday, April 26th at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. The awards presentation, featuring nine special honors and 88 endowed scholarship awards, also recognized the Most Valuable Players and the Academic MVP's from all Longhorns women's teams.
Additionally, there was a music video tribute to all the 11 sports, a special video senior salute presentation, as well as recognition of this year's Big 12 Conference team championships and UT's NCAA National Championship participants. The Awards presentation was underwritten by the University Co-op Bookstore.
Guest speaker was the Honorable Cyndi Taylor Krier, Vice Chair of the UT System Board of Regents. Krier made special note of the fact that an impressive 57 percent of the Longhorn female student-athletes (a total of 108) achieved a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA) or higher over the previous calendar year, while 34 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA during the spring of 2003 and/or fall of 2003 semesters.
Headlining the Women's Athletics award recipients were four student-athletes who received Texas Athletics' highest departmental honors.
The 2003-04 Big 12 Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, given to the senior who exhibits the greatest combination of performance in athletics, academics and community achievement, went to All-American junior soccer forward Kelly Wilson (Odessa, Texas/Permian HS). Wilson, a member of the U.S. Soccer National program, has earned All-America, All-Region and All-Big 12 honors, and this past fall was a semi-finalist for the Hermann Trophy National Player of the Year award and was a candidate for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award. She tied for second in UT scoring this fall with seven goals and four assists (18 points). In the classroom, Wilson carries a 3.82 GPA as an education major. She was named to the 2003 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team and is a Big 12 All-Academic First Team honoree.
The Jill Sterkel Leadership Award, given to the student-athlete whose exceptional athletic accomplishments have brought national attention to The University, went to junior Jamie Carey (Thornton, Colo./Horizon HS), a National Player of the Year finalist this season for the 30-5 Longhorns basketball team. The junior point guard (11.0 ppg) was a finalist for The State Farm Wade Trophy and Naismith Award as the nation's top player, was named to the NCAA West Region All-Tournament Team, and was a First Team All-Big 12 pick. In addition, Jamie claimed CoSIDA National Academic All-America honors (as one of only 15 Division I basketball players in the nation chosen). She holds a 3.5 GPA and is enrolled in UT's graduate studies School of Education as a sport management major after completing her undergraduate degree in sociology this past December.
In addition, Carey was honored Tuesday night as basketball co-MVP with Stacy Stephens, was the team's Academic MVP, and received the prestigious Jimmy V Foundation Comeback Award. Annually awarded by The V Foundation in collaboration with ESPN, the Comeback Award is presented to a college basketball student-athlete who embodies the spirit and courage represented by the late Jim Valvano and his memorable and motivating challenge delivered in his acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards - "Don't Give Up. . .Don't Ever Give Up!"® The award was announced in March, and Tuesday night Carey received the award as presented by Nick Valvano, CEO of the Jimmy V Foundation and brother of the late Jim Valvano.
The Women's Athletics Department's highest endowed scholarship honor - the V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Endowed Presidential Scholarship honor - went to track and field World Champion and NCAA champion sophomore Sanya Richards (Pembroke Pines, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas HS). Established in 1976 as the first endowed scholarship in women's athletics, the Neuhaus Presidential Scholarship honors both athleticism and academics.
The Lorene Rogers Scholar-Athlete Award, presented to the senior student-athlete with the highest overall grade point average, went to two students: All-Big 12 senior diver Ally Hartzell (Cedar Park, Texas/home-schooled) and rowing standout Julia Keedy (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS).
Hartzell, the 2003 Big 12 champion on the one-meter springboard and 2004 runnerup in that event, also claimed All-America Honorable Mention honors on the one and three-meter boards this past March. A First Team Big 12 All-Academic Pick, Ally is a human ecology major with a 3.86 GPA. She will attend UT's graduate school this fall on a full scholarship, where she will pursue a Ph.D. in human development and family sciences.
Keedy is a civil engineering Honors major with a 3.86 GPA. She is an All-Central Region rower on UT's nationally-ranked varsity eight boat, and is a three-year member of the College Rowing Association's National Scholar-Athlete Team. Julia will attend Colorado State University this fall on a full scholarship to study water resource management.
All-American and 6-1 senior basketball standout Stacy Stephens (Winnsboro, Texas/Winnsboro HS) received a new award, the Texas Exes Lifetime Achievement Award which goes to a male and female student-athlete annually who have displayed outstanding leadership and academic and athletic success, with each recipient gaining life-time membership into the Texas Exes Association. Stephens also was recipient of the Coca-Cola Solid Citizen Spirit Award, given annually to both a men's and women's basketball player for his/her outstanding community relations.
Additional special awards were given to sophomore tennis player Katie Ruckert (Vienna, Virginia/James Madison HS) and senior Mary Beth Goodnight (Houston, Texas/HS for the Performing & Visual Arts). Ruckert earned the Angie Broussard Spirit Award, given annually to that student-athlete who has overcome barriers and setbacks. Ruckert came back to the courts this year after missing last spring with a shoulder injury, and helped UT to a perfect 11-0 finish in the Big 12 regular season. She is 18-6 overall at No. 2 singles. Goodnight received the Big 12 Community Champion as UT women's athletics top community service volunteer.
In addition, the Reuben McDaniel Award, given for special merit by non-scholarship student-athletes, went to senior Jodi Jones (Crawford, Texas/Crawford HS) from cross country and track and field, and to soccer senior midfielder Vanessa Martinez (Toluca, Mexico).
On the team athletic side, four Texas teams were singled out for winning a total of five Big 12 Championships to date this year. UT won Big 12 regular season titles in swimming and diving, basketball (co-champs), golf and tennis. The Longhorns basketball team, en route to their 2004 NCAA Final 16 appearance, claimed its second consecutive Big 12 regular season championship, while the swimming and diving earned its sixth consecutive Big 12 crown. The tennis team earned its seventh Big 12 title in eight years of league action, while the UT golf team earned its second Big 12 championship and 12th overall.
2003-04 University of Texas Women's Athletic Team MVP honors
Basketball: Co-MVP's senior Stacy Stephens and junior Jamie Carey
Cross Country: All-Region and All-Big 12 junior Kristen Walter (Bryn Athyn, Pa./Academy of the New Church)
Diving: NCAA platform champion Nicole Pohernec (Winter Springs, Fla./Winter Springs HS)
Golf: All-America and All-Big 12 senior Janice Olivencia (Gurabo, Puerto Rico)
Rowing: Co-MVP's seniors Ruth Stiver (Madisonville, Texas/Madisonville HS) and Julie Keedy (Houston, Texas/Cypress Spings HS)
Soccer: All-America and All-Big 12 senior Kati McBain (Los Altos, Calif. /St. Francis HS)
Softball: Co-MVP's junior 3B Wynter Turner (San Pedro, Calif./San Pedro HS) and senior OF Sarah Wieszczak (Pinehurst, Texas/Tomball HS)
Swimming: All-America and Big 12 Swimmer of the Year junior Sarah Wanazek (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield East HS)
Tennis: Co-MVP's sophomore Katie Ruckert (Vienna, Va./James Madison HS) and freshman Ristine Olsen (Missoula, Mont./Sentinel HS)
Track & Field: Indoor -- All-American and Big 12 Champion sophomore Sanya Richards (Pembroke Pines, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas); Outdoor -- Co-MVP's All-Americans and All-Big 12 seniors Raasin McIntosh (Houston, Texas/Westbury HS) and Nichole Denby (Moreno Valley, Calif./J.W. North HS)
Volleyball: All-America Honorable Mention & All-Big 12 junior Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas/Westlake HS)