Women's Athletics annual year-end awards announced
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 31st annual University of Texas Women's Athletics All Sports Awards presentation took place on Tuesday, April 19th at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. The awards presentation, featuring 11 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 highlight tribute to all the 11 sports and a "Senior Salute" video, 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.
Headlining the Women's Athletics award recipients were five student-athletes who received Texas Athletics' highest departmental honors.
The Women's Athletics Department's highest endowed scholarship honor - the V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Endowed Presidential Scholarship honor - went to junior lefthander Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS), a 2005 USA Olympic gold medalist and finalist for 2005 USA Softball National Player of the Year honors. Established in 1976 as the first endowed scholarship in women's athletics, the Neuhaus Presidential Scholarship honors both athleticism and academics.
A psychology major with a 3.1 GPA, Cat is on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. On the pitching mound, her accomplishments are incredible. She currently ranks No. 3 on the NCAA Division I career strikeout list with 1,416. This spring, she is 19-4, and has three no-hitters and is ranked No. 1 nationally with an incredible 15.7 strikeouts per game and No. 1 in earned run average (0.25 ERA). She spent last year with the USA Olympic Softball Team, helping Team USA to the gold medal in Athens.
National Basketball Player of the Year finalist and All-Big 12 senior guard Jamie Carey (Thornton, Colo./Horizon HS) received two major awards - the Coca Cola Solid Citizen Award (given to the student-athlete whose community relations efforts have been exemplary) and the Texas Exes Lifetime Award. The Texes Exes award 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.
Nominated for National Player of the Year honors the last two years, Carey finished her senior season as an All-Big 12 performer for the second straight year. She averaged 12.2 ppg and had a team-best 70 3-pointers. In addition to her basketball talents and community service, Jamie also has been named an National Academic All-American the last two years - and is pursuing her master's degree in sport management, carrying a GPA of 3.33. On April 16, Jamie took the first step toward a WNBA professional basketball career when she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury and will attend preseason WNBA camp beginning later this week. Additionally, Carey is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers on campus - despite the rigors of travel and playing basketball and pursuing her masters degree in sport management the last two years, and has volunteered her time to numerous charitable events, such as the Komen Race for the Cure, Caritas and SafePlace Walk.
The 2004-05 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-Region softball senior standout Alexis Garcia (Covina, Calif./South Hills HS). Alexis has a 3.66 GPA in education. Alexis is the starting first baseman for the No. 4 ranked Longhorns with two home runs and five RBI; she has a perfect fielding average, committing no errors in 116 total chances to date. Off the field, Alexis has been a leader on UT Student-Athlete Advisory Council, serving as president of the organization this year. At the conclusion of the softball season, Alexis will head to Washington, D.C. and will serve a summer internship in the White House, working in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. This fall, she returns to UT to start her master's degree in UT's LBJ School of Public Affairs.
The Lorene Rogers Scholar-Athlete Award, presented to the senior student-athlete with the highest overall grade point average over her four-year UT career, went to softball outfielder Melanie Jarrett (Odessa, Texas/Permian HS). Jarrett is a journalism major who carries a GPA of 3.93 - and, she has had a PERFECT 4.0 GPA in six of her seven semesters so far. Jarrett has been named to the Big 12 All-Academic First Team and to the Softball Coaches Association's National Academic Scholar-Athlete Team for three years. She is an outfielder for the No. 4 ranked Longhorns and has played in 30 games with 21 starts to date. Jarrett will attend the University of Georgia in the fall and pursue her master's degree in journalism.
The Jill Sterkel Leadership Award, given to the student-athlete whose exceptional athletic accomplishments have brought attention to The University, went to junior Nina Norman (Houston, Texas/Jersey Village HS), starting guard on UT's 22-9 basketball team. The junior guard (7.8 ppg) led the Longhorns in assists for the second straight year (98, 3.5 apg) and helped UT to its final No. 11 ranking in the Associated Press Poll and to the NCAA Championship second round. A corporate communications major, Nina also is an alternate to the prestigious 2005 NCAA Leadership Conference which takes place in May.
Other special department individual awards went to: senior rower Danielle Kowalski (Riverview, Mich./Riverview Community) who was the 2005 Big 12 Community Champion as UT women's athletics top community service volunteer; 6-2 senior basketball forward Annissa Hastings (San Antonio, Texas/Sam Houston HS), recipient of the Angie Broussard Spirit Award, given annually to that student-athlete who has overcome barriers and setbacks. It is the department's "Comeback Award". Hastings returned to the hardwood this year after a one-year layoff due to surgery and rehabilitation for a torn Achilles; as a fifth-year senior, she averaged six points per game and 17.4 minutes per contest, shooting 62 percent from the floor for the 22-9 Longhorns.
Five student-athletes also received the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Awards. Each year, Black Issues in Higher Education accepts nominations for the national Arthur Ashe Awards, given to minority student athletes who carry a GPA of 3.2 or higher. UT's five recipients are: volleyball sophomore Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico/Chicas San Juan), an education major and Big 12 All-Academic First Team standout; soccer senior goalkeeper Alex Gagarin (Austin, Texas/LBJ), a Plan II major, studying history; junior soccer performer Jullie Gailey (San Roman, Calif./San Roman HS), a kinesiology major and a Big 12 All-Academic First Team standout; softball senior Alexis Garcia, who also received the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete Award; and junior track and field standout LaTashia Kerr (Houston, Texas/Forest Brook HS), a nursing major.
The following is the list of the 2004-05 Most Valuable Players and Academic MVP honors which were given out at Tuesday's awards ceremony.
2004-05 Texas Team MVP's
2004-05 Texas Team Academic MVP's