June 14, 2011
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced the 12 student-athletes that will receive the C-USA Spring Spirit of Service Award. The C-USA Spirit of Service Award is designed to recognize the community service efforts of the league's student-athletes, based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport. The Spirit of Service award is presented three times throughout the season, with today's honorees representing Conference USA's spring sports: baseball, equestrian, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, softball, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's outdoor track and field.
Complete Spring Spirit of Service Release in PDF Format
2011 SPRING C-USA SPIRIT OF SERVICE HONOREES:
Colleen Estes, East Carolina, Women's Golf
John Fortune, Houston, Men's Track & Field
Ashley Gue, Marshall, Softball
Heather Mott, Memphis, Softball
Farah Madanay, Rice, Women's Track & Field
Lauren Lieberman, SMU, Equestrian
Danielle LaPointe, Southern Miss, Softball
Ashley McKenney, Tulane, Women's Golf
Megan Melott, Tulsa, Women's Rowing
Nick Crawford, UAB, Baseball
Natalie Land, UCF, Softball
Courtney Ware, UTEP, Softball
East Carolina senior Colleen Estes has given back to the community while serving as captain of the Pirate women's golf team that earned a spot in the NCAA Regionals. A health fitness specialist major with a minor in business administration, Estes has spent more than 100 hours planning and participating in activities within the Greenville community. She served on the planning committee for the city's first annual Ovarian Cancer Walk that raised $4,000, participated in two Relay for Life events and three SAAC Holiday Parties. Additionally, the Cary, N.C., native also volunteered 80 hours in Montana's Glacier National Park. She made the Chancellor's List each semester at ECU, while earning National Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar honors four times.
John Fortune is a sophomore on the Houston track & field squad. He set a personal best to place third in the shot put at the C-USA Indoor Championships and placed fifth at the C-USA Outdoors. The chemistry major from Cleveland, Texas, was selected to the C-USA All-Academic Track & Field squad and has twice received the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal. While balancing success on the field and in the classroom, Fortune has also been involved with a number of community activities. He participated in the Trick or Tree program, providing trees to underprivileged schools, the Walk for Diabetes and Feed the Children. He also works directly with children through the Marathon Kids program that helps kids develop a love and habit of staying active and the Teach Houston program that will help him obtain his Teachers Certification in chemistry.
Marshall's Ashley Gue has made her mark in her hometown of Huntington and also for the Herd softball team, which the sophomore outfielder led this season with a .304 batting average and 22 runs scored. A member of Marshall's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Gue helped organize a group of her peers that recently cleaned and painted the Huntington City Mission offices. She also helped in a food drive for the City Mission and to lead the Huntington March of Dimes Walk this spring, participated in drive to collect toiletries for a local battered women's shelter, read to a local elementary school on National Read to Me Day and was a big sister in the Marshall softball team's Lil' Sis program. A biomedical sciences major with a minor in Chemistry, Gue made the Dean's List each semester and was named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Memphis senior Heather Mott has been a real triple threat for the Tiger softball program. The All-Conference USA first-team selection led her team to its first NCAA Championship appearance, while finishing her career with the school record for triples. While at the NCAA Regional held on the campus of the University of Alabama, Mott and her teammates helped at the Tuscaloosa-area emergency services center following the tornado that hit the area. She has also volunteered with Habitat of Humanity, the Memphis Boys & Girls Club, Children's Museum of Memphis and the National Civil Rights Museum. The Pensacola, Fla., native graduated with a bachelor's degree in sport and exercise science and earned a spot on the 2011 C-USA All-Academic Softball Team.
Farah Madanay may not be a native Houstonian, but you would not know it by the amount of volunteer hours she has accumulated in the city as a Rice University track and field student-athlete. A native of Honolulu, Hawai'i, Madanay has performed a variety of community service hours during the 2010-11 school year, including the Houston Health Museum, Holocaust Museum of Houston, Beacon Soup Kitchen, Rice Sallyport VISION for welcoming students, and the Rice Golf Classic fundraiser. A sophomore art major and distance runner, she recently placed ninth in the grueling 10,000m at the 2011 C-USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Madanay also earned the Winter Spirit of Service Award and is a two-time recipient of the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal.
Senior Lauren Lieberman is a four-year letterwinner for the SMU equestrian team, earning the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal all four seasons. While competing for the Mustangs, Lieberman has also been a big sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters, served as a member of SAAC and volunteered with the Interfaith Housing Coalition and the Memphis Jewish Home. The Memphis, Tenn., native compiled a 3.982 GPA and received her degree in accounting from the prestigious Cox School of Business at SMU.
Southern Miss sophomore Danielle LaPointe saw action as a catcher for the Golden Eagles softball team. From Wildomar, Calif., she has balanced her coursework as a psychology major and time on the field with a number of activities in the Hattiesburg community. LaPointe not only participated in the SAAC canned food drive, but she also assisted grocery shoppers at a local Central Market grocery as part of Operation Christmas Child. She also hosted a special needs class from Thames Elementary at the softball complex, providing a tour of the facility and teaching drills and skills to the students.
Ashley McKenney earned All-Conference USA second-team honors in 2011 while leading Tulane to its third-straight appearance in the NCAA Women's Golf Regionals. The junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., is a communication major and holds a 3.244 GPA while serving as an active member of the Tulane Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She helped elementary students on Shadow-a-Student-Athlete Day, allowing the children to follow student-athletes through a typical day and be exposed to the college experience, while also volunteering for the Junior Golf Clinic, Wave Days, Kaboom Build and multiple SAAC food drives benefitting Second Harvest. McKenney is a three-time member of the C-USA Honor Roll and was recipient of Tulane's 2011 Bower Award, recognizing excellence in the classroom and community service.
Tulsa sophomore Megan Melott of Woodbridge, Va., has represented the women's rowing team in several community outreach activities. This year alone, Melott has completed more than 50 hours of community service working with the Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Youth Group and the Baptist Church of Woodbridge, while also helping with several blood drives while home on break. A biochemistry major with a minor in deaf education, she was named to the Dean's List and C-USA Academic Honor Roll. She participated in seven regattas, primarily as a member of the Second Varsity 8+ crew.
Senior Nick Crawford started all 57 games at shortstop for the UAB baseball team, earning All-Conference USA second-team honors. He hit .310 for the 2011 season and ranks second in NCAA Division I history with 60 career sac bunts. He has also sacrificed his time to help with a number of activities and was heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, organizing an on-campus rally that drew more than 200 students. He also helped with Operation Christmas Child, an initiative that packages shoe boxes full of gifts for children throughout the world, and "In the Streets Outreach" to help the clean-up effort in the streets of Birmingham. The Cordova, Tenn., native has also been invited back to the Memphis area to speak at his high school alma mater as well as organize a "Hitting on the Cross" Camp to teach kids guiding principles for the baseball swing and for life.
UCF junior Natalie Land is a two-time All-Conference USA first team selection as a member of the Knights' softball team. The athletic training major from Mayo, Fla., has also twice been named to the C-USA All-Academic Team and twice received the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal. She paired with a local middle school student in a Pen Pal Program, writing back and forth to help promote literacy. Land was a volunteer for the Miracle League, assisting mentally/physically handicapped youth to help build confidence through a game of tee-ball. She has also been actively involved in several fundraisers, including the Central Florida Children's Home Golf Classic, Walk Now for Autism Speaks and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
Junior softball student-athlete Courtney Ware has made it a priority to give back to the UTEP community, volunteering at the West Texas Food Bank, the Ronald McDonald House and the El Paso Independent School District. The Oceanside, Calif., native has started 47 of the 52 career games she has played in the outfield for the Miners, including assisting their efforts with the Miracle League t-ball game. Ware is an art major at UTEP, with a minor in psychology.
Conference USA (C-USA) is a NCAA Division I-A Conference based in Irving, Texas. Its membership consists of 12 schools - East Carolina University, University of Houston, Marshall University, University of Memphis, Rice University, Southern Methodist University (SMU), University of Southern Mississippi, Tulane University, University of Tulsa, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), University of Central Florida (UCF) and University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). This realignment was formed on July 1, 2005, and the Conference was first established in 1995. C-USA offers 20 sports total, nine sports for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor and outdoor track and field) and 11 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, rowing, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball).