Sooner Student-Athletes Honored For Academic Excellence

Tuesday, April 11th 2017, 4:12 pm
By: News On 6

Celebrating academic achievement among OU student-athletes at the Max Weitzenhoffer Scholar-Athlete Breakfast has happened every year for the last two decades. And each occasion is just as meaningful as the previous one.

Hundreds of OU student-athletes, coaches and athletics department staff members continued the tradition early Tuesday morning at Oklahoma Memorial Union when they gathered for the 19th annual event, as more than 40 individuals were honored for outstanding academic achievement and community service excellence.

"Our student-athletes do so many things that fill our coaches, our staff and our university community with a great sense of pride," said OU Vice President and Athletics Director Joe Castiglione, "but I'm not sure anything compares to the joy we feel knowing so many of them are thriving in the classroom and involving themselves as deeply in our community as they do. With everything they have on their plates, their accomplishments are remarkable.

"Today is one of our favorite days of the year as we take time to honor and celebrate some of our very best in those areas. For so many reasons, this day never gets old. I congratulate all of our student-athletes here today, as well as their coaches and our academics staff."

The Sooners’ trend toward a stronger academic performance continued this past fall as OU student-athletes' 3.07 cumulative GPA for the fall 2016 semester ranks as the highest in recorded school history, and marked a record 10th consecutive semester of posting at least a 3.0 figure.

Sixteen of OU's 19 teams held a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better following the fall 2016 semester. Ten of those squads posted a 3.20 or higher cumulative GPA.

In addition to these accomplishments, OU student-athletes have captured 163 Academic All-Big 12 honors and 55 Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team awards over the past year. A total of 308 Sooners earned a spot on the fall 2016 Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, which requires at least a 3.0 GPA. Of the 308, 71 student-athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Away from the classroom, OU student-athletes have devoted some 5,300 hours to community service over the past year, making contact with hundreds of people through mentoring, speaking arrangements and other special events.


Athletics Director’s Leadership Award

Given to student-athletes who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in representing the University of Oklahoma and their teams. The award recognizes the special qualities of being a leader, including mental toughness, ability to work with others, giving respect and gaining the respect of others, integrity and accountability. These qualities are tantamount to one's success in athletics and life.

Alex Ghilea (Men's Tennis)
Maddie Manning (Women's Basketball)
Samaje Perine (Football)
Micaela Spann (Volleyball)

Conference Medal Award

Each member institution may award a Conference Medal Award annually to a male and female student-athlete who has completed his/her athletic eligibility and who has made the most outstanding record in athletics and scholarship. (The student must have a 3.00 minimum GPA.) No student shall be eligible for this award who has not had at least two years of intercollegiate competition at the University of Oklahoma.

Allan Bower (Men's Gymnastics)
Chayse Capps (Women's Gymnastics)

Dan Gibbens Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award

This award is given to student-athletes who have attained the highest level of scholarly and athletic success in the prior calendar year. Scholarship is to be measured by appropriate indices and academic attainment, including GPA. Athletics success is to be measured by overall athletics performance. Students must attain an OU minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA to be eligible for this award.

Andrew Harris (Men's Tennis)
Jake Irvin (Baseball)
Elizabeth Keester (Soccer)
Nicole Lehrmann (Women's Gymnastics)
Lily Miyazaki (Women's Tennis)
Gabbi Ortiz (Women's Basketball)
Paige Parker (Softball)
Taylor Spencer (Rowing)
Paige Welch (Soccer)
Lea Wodach (Softball)
Josh Yee (Men's Gymnastics)

Athletics Council Achievement Award

This award honors graduating student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics. These young men or women have persevered and made significant personal strides toward meeting their individual goals. The common thread for all of those to be considered for this award is a motivation/drive to succeed and a work ethic that overcomes difficult situations.

Payton Baker (Track and Field)
T'ona Edwards (Women's Basketball)
Madison Saliba (Soccer)
Josh Yee (Men's Gymnastics)

Athletics Council Service Award

Student-athletes receiving this award have made important contributions to the community through their commitment to service.

Stephanie Busse (Rowing)
Chayse Capps (Women's Gymnastics)
Madison Heidenburg (Track and Field)
Haley Hill (Women's Golf)
Maddie Manning (Women's Basketball)
Liam Meirow (Track and Field)
Yul Modauer (Men's Gymnastics)
Micaela Spann (Volleyball)

Jay Myers Outstanding Freshman Award

Given to freshman student-athletes who best combine excellence in scholarship with potential excellence in their chosen field of athletics endeavor. The student must have a 3.00 minimum GPA.

Jeremiah Adams (Baseball)
Nancy Mulkey (Women's Basketball)
Maggie Nichols (Women's Gymnastics)
Morgan Turner (Volleyball)
Amanda Van Buren (Track and Field)
Matt Wenske (Men's Gymnastics)

OU Prentice Gautt Award

Established by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and awarded annually by OU’s Black Student Association, this award honors a male and female student-athlete who demonstrate the dignity, integrity and strength of character reminiscent of Oklahoma’s first African-American scholarship athlete.

Trae Armstrong (Track and Field)
Olivia Haggerty (Track and Field)

Big 12 Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award

Initiated in 2011, the Gerald Lage Award is the Big 12 Conference’s highest academic honor. It is named for Dr. Gerald Lage, who was the Faculty Athletics Representative at Oklahoma State University from 1983-2007. To be eligible for this award, students must have earned 100 hours with a 3.80 GPA, be a letterwinner and be in residence at their institution for at least one academic year. Students may only be recognized one time.

Mimi Fotopoulos (Women's Tennis)
Ben Hollas (Baseball)
Elizabeth Keester (Soccer)
Lane Maguire (Track and Field)
Hayley Redwine (Women's Tennis)
Brian Schibler (Men's Gymnastics)
Paige Welch (Soccer)

Most Inspiring Faculty

Awarded to faculty members who have motivated and inspired our student-athletes. These faculty members are nominated by the student-athletes and selected by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Dr. Shannon Bert (Human Relations)
Dr. Christopher Hill (Sociology)
Dr. Eric Lee (Biology)
Dr. Fred Shelley (Geography)

Academic and Student Life Award for Coaches

Presented to a coach for exemplary encouragement of the personal development and academic achievement of student-athletes through principles of life skills.

Mark Williams (Men's Gymnastics)

CHAMPS/Life Skills Team Competition Award

The team receiving this award has earned the most Life Skills Competition points by attendance at life skills events, athletics competitions, community service hours, campus cultural events and Bridge Builder and SAAC events, as well as earning high individual GPAs.