Athletics

C-USA Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

C-USA NGWSD Profiles

Mallory Baum, SMU
Whitney Bibbins, Tulane
Tynita Butts, East Carolina
Meghan Chapman, Tulane
Laura Der, Marshall
Beth Dietrick, Southern Miss
Adesuwa Ebomwonyi, Tulane
Sadie Eicher, Tulane
Hila Elster, Tulane
Caitlin Everett, Tulsa
Olivia Grayson, Tulane
Ashley Gue, Marshall
Altrese Hawkins, Memphis
Tyler Henderson, Tulsa
Xitlali Herrera, UTEP
Sarah Hudak, UAB
Jill Jelnick, East Carolina
Tishia Jewell, UCF
Amber Jones, UAB
Risper Kimaiyo, UTEP
Karley King, Houston
Porsche Landry, Houston
Stephanie Ledgerwood, Southern Miss
Farrah Madanay, Rice
Lianne Maldonado, UCF
Taleya Mayberry, Tulsa
Keena Mays, SMU
Megan Murphey, Rice
Andie Obermeyer, Rice
Bailey Pembroke, Memphis
Alexandra Rossi, SMU
Camino Sardinero, UTEP
Sam Serley, UAB
Celeste Stewart, East Carolina
Leslie Thomas, Marshall
Meredith Ware, Houston
Sonnisha Williams, UCF


  Mallory Baum, SMU
Women's Soccer
Keller, Texas
Senior

Mallory Baum has exhibited excellence both on the field and off throughout her time as a Mustang. The two-time All-Conference USA First Team honoree was also a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award this fall. Baum is an electrical engineering major and has the intention to attend dental school upon her graduation from SMU. She has a 3.7 cumulative GPA.

Baum made Second Team All-NSCAA South Region in 2011 and the C-USA All Freshman team in 2009. The midfielder tallied four goals in her SMU career, including two this season. Baum was one of the key contributors on a Mustangs team that made the C-USA semifinals this fall. The senior also tallied two crucial assists in SMU’s 2-1 win at No. 8 UCF on Oct. 7.

Baum has volunteered with the Tarrant Area Food Bank, as well as with the Catholic Charities of Fort Worth and Mayfest, Inc.


  Whitney Bibbins, Tulane

  Tynita Butts, East Carolina
Track and Field
Alexandria, Va.
Senior

Tynita Butts is a three-time All-American and the first female student-athlete in ECU program history to win the honor multiple times. The senior collected her first such honor as a freshman after finishing in a three-way tie for seventh place in the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a 1.76 meter mark in the high jump in 2010.

Butts continually stepped up her game as she took fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships the following year to earn her second career All-American designation. Last season, as a junior, the Alexandria, Va., native earned her third career All-America honor after finishing seventh in the high jump at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships. Butts' mark of 1.81 meters was good for a third-place tie in the event.

She kicked off her senior season at ECU with an NCAA Indoor qualifying mark en route to a first-place finish in the women's high jump at the Christopher Newport Invitational to open the indoor season. Her mark of 1.86 meters was just .01 meters shy of tying her personal-best. With much more of the track and field season to be had, it's no doubt that Butts will be a top competitor once again.


  Meghan Chapman, Tulane


  Laura Der, Marshall
Volleyball
Clarksville, Ind.
Junior

An inspiration to her team and community, Laura Der is a shining example of what a student-athlete personifies. As a leader on Marshall's volleyball court and in the classroom, and as a beacon for the Huntington, W.Va. community, the junior outside hitter portrays the true meaning of service.

This past season, Der was selected to the AVCA Midwest All-Region team, as well as to Conference USA's All-Conference squad and All-Academic team. She ranked in the top 25 nationally in kills and points per set, and led her team in multiple categories for the season.

In the classroom, she has been consistently given the C-USA Commissioner's Medal for having over a 3.75 grade point average. Der is an active part of the community, volunteering for volleyball camps to help numerous groups such as the Girl Scouts. The Clarksville, Ind. native helps serve meals with the City of Huntington mission and assists in organizing food drives. She is also involved in local church.


  Beth Dietrich, Southern Miss
Softball
Friendswood, Texas
Senior

Southern Miss senior softballer Beth Dietrich has taken her role as a leader to heart this season as she is one of just five returners on the Golden Eagle squad. More than just an on-field leader, Dietrich leads by example off the field as one of Southern Miss’ most active student-athletes in the university community and Hattiesburg at large.

A three-year starter for the team, Dietrich has worked hard to position herself at the top of the rotation, but it’s what she does off the field that is most remarkable. In what little free time she has, Dietrich spends her days working as a leader of the Southern Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and gives free softball lessons to nearby youth in the Oak Grove community.

The Friendswood, Texas native has also added to her more than 200 community service hours in the Fall of 2012 by volunteering and speaking at a local hospice care center and helping with the Hattiesburg chapter of Habitat for Humanity.


Adesuwa Ebomwonyi, Tulane


Sadie Eicher, Tulane


Hila Elster, Tulane


Caitlin Everett, Tulsa
Softball
Forney, Texas
Senior

Senior Caitlin Everett has made a big impact in her three seasons as Tulsa's starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. As the table setter in the lineup, she has compiled a career .376 batting average and .426 on-base percentage, and totaled 215 hits and 132 runs scored. She has set school career records with 10 triples and 90 stolen bases, stealing 35 bases in each of the last two seasons. As leader of the outfield, she has posted a .990 fielding percentage and made both spectacular and routine plays in the central field.

Everett was one of three TU softball players to represent the United States in the 2012 IABF World Cup as a member of the USA Baseball Women's National Team. Team USA won the silver medal at the tournament in Edmonton, Alberta, in August 2012. Off the field, Everett is working toward the greater good as a nursing major, and has already worked toward pursuing a career in the medical field after graduation.


Olivia Grayson, Tulane


  Ashley Gue, Marshall
Huntington, W. Va.
Softball
Senior

Ashley Gue never intended to play softball at Marshall. The Thundering Herd coaches did their best to sway her, but it was her aunt, a former tennis player for the Herd, that convinced her to give it a shot. Marshall and the Herd coaches are now beyond thrilled the local product decided to give it a shot.

Gue, who is a two-time Conference USA Spirit of Service award winner, embraces the role of team leader. She was elected a team captain her junior year. One of the main reasons the Huntington, W.Va. native was elected by her peers as a team leader was because of her willingness to do anything the coaches asked.

With a loaded outfield last season, the Herd coaches wanted to use all of their talent and speed to their best of use. With struggles at second base, Marshall turned to Gue, who primarily played second in high school but had not in her two plus years in the green and white, to take over the infield spot. Gue flourished. She batted a career-high .325 on the season and started every game from the start of conference play on at second. Gue helped steady the infield and led her squad to the C-USA title game. The speedster stole a team-high 32 bases, the fifth highest total in school history, last season. She ranks fifth all-time in career steals and can become just the third Herd player ever with 100 swipes this season.

Off the field, Gue is very active. She is heavily involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), serves as president of Marshall's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and is an active member of the team's Lil' Sis Program. The senior also organized Operation Christmas Child, visited the Dominican Republic to volunteer with her church, and volunteered at numerous community events. Gue is a three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and has been a part of the Dean's List each semester as a double-major in in chemistry and psychology.


  Altrese Hawkins, Memphis
Schaumburg, Ill.
Senior
Volleyball

Altrese Hawkins recently completed a standout volleyball career at Memphis, where she set the all-time kills record. However, it isn't all about volleyball for Hawkins, who is triple majoring and aspiring to attend medical school this fall. She also finds time to be active in the Memphis community by volunteering at many hospitals in the city.

The Schaumburg, Ill., native was one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS award this year and earned second team All-American status from the organization. She was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team in 2009 and first team All-C-USA each of the last three years. Her 1,806 career kills sits atop Memphis' all-time record book as she is the only Tiger to reach the 1,800 kill plateau. While majoring in Biology, Chemistry-Biochemistry and Psychology-Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish, Hawkins still carries a grade point average above 3.50.

Including her volunteering hospitals, Hawkins also finds time to work on different community service projects and mentor junior high girls and tutor elementary children. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member also helps promote health awareness for numerous issues, including heart disease, obesity, asthma and autism.


  Tyler Henderson, Tulsa
Volleyball
Senior
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Tyler Henderson is one of the most decorated athletes in University of Tulsa volleyball history as the senior led the NCAA in points and kills per set in two of her four seasons at Tulsa. A three-time second team AVCA All-American, Henderson is one of two players in Conference USA history to be named Player of the Year three times.

Henderson led the NCAA in kills per set (5.22) and points per set (5.79) this season. During her career, she tallied double-digit kills in 127 of the 136 matches she played, 20 or more kills in 54 career tilts, and helped TU win three conference titles and make three NCAA Championship appearances during her tenure. Henderson was also one of two players in league history to be named first-team all-conference on four occasions. She leaves Tulsa with 2,525 kills, the most in NCAA Division 1 history during the 25-point rally scoring era.

Henderson also found time to give back to the community, as she helped out at the Laura Dester Shelter with her fellow volleyball players, and the Lift Up America Program.


  Xitlali Herrera, UTEP


  Sarah Hudak, UAB
Women's Track
Manchester, Englad
Senior

The 2012 cross country season had only just begun, and UAB senior Sarah Hudak came out of the gate with some of the most impressive performances in program history.

After competing for Loughborough University, a two-hour drive from her hometown in Manchester, England, Hudak arrived in the United States and joined the UAB cross country team for the 2011 season. Hudak ran in all six races, earned a pair of top-10 finishes, and finished in the top-25 at the Conference USA Championship to start her Blazer career.

"Moving to another country is probably one of the biggest, scariest things I've ever done, but it was a really good decision and I'm so glad I did it," Hudak said. "It's so different from back home. The whole university is set up so differently, there's so much more focus on sports and a lot more funding. It's crazy, but I really enjoy it here."

In 2012, the graduate student, who is pursuing a degree in clinical nutrition, kicked things off by crossing the finish line first of the 41-person field at the Crimson Tide Cross Country Kickoff 3K with a time of 10:47.02, and has been racking up the accolades ever since.

"I just wanted to do better than last year, and I knew I was more fit, but I didn't know what I was actually going to accomplish," Hudak said. "I think before I came here, my training wasn't very consistent, but after a year of being here and training on a set schedule, it's been really good. I like having the team around me, it helps me stay motivated."

Hudak credits her mother Susan Hudak, who was also a runner, for sparking her interest in running. "I think it was my mother who got me interested in running because she used to run," Hudak said. "When I was younger, I played just about every sport, but I just loved running, so I carried on with it as I got older. I just love the speed and beating people."

Now, Hudak finds motivation on this side of the world in the form of newcomer Elinor Kirk, who hails from Wales, U.K. Hudak and Kirk took the top two spots at the 2012 Azalea City Cross Country Classic 6K on Sept. 15 with times of 21.53.5 and 21:58.92, respectively.

"Eli and I train together a lot and we push each other all the time," Hudak said. "It's great to have a training partner who is at the same level as you are. Being able to run with her in the last race and finishing in first and second place was just the best. Before this season, I'd never won a cross country race, and now I've got three. It's amazing."

Along with winning, Hudak has set a personal best in both the 4K and 6K, was named UAB Student Athlete of the Week, and also picked up a pair of Conference USA Athlete of the Week honors. The senior's 4K time of 14:20.9 is UAB's third-fastest time in the last decade.

At the Conference USA Championship in late October, Hudak finished ninth and earned second-team all-conference honors. She also ran a personal-best time of 17:26.8. She then went on to run best time in the 6K at the NCAA South Regional at Tallahassee, Fla. where she finished in 17th place.

Hudak's finish earned her a spot on the NCAA All-South Regional Team.


  Jill Jelnick, East Carolina
Sotball
Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Junior

East Carolina's Jill Jelnick is a woman of action. Some talk about doing it all, but when push comes to shove an excuse will arise to prevent an individual from truly being all that they can be. Jelnick is not one of those people. She is a leader on and off the field in every way and seems to do it with a thirst to always do more and better. She is not only an excellent student-athlete as a member of ECU's softball team, but has found a way to somehow balance her time to become a thriving member of the campus community that volunteers herself to a host of causes and organizations.

Jelnick has stood out in every way since she arrived on the East Carolina campus from her home across the country in Aliso Viejo, California. She was an immediate starter on the softball team and sported an impressive .295 batting average, 36 hits, three triples and 19 walks in her rookie campaign that ended with the Pirates making the 2011 NCAA Tournament. For her outstanding accomplishments, she earned selection to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, a place on the Conference USA All-Tournament Team and a Second Team All-Conference nod. She also stood out in the classroom with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) to earn a place on East Carolina's Chancellor's List for both the fall 2010 and spring 2011 school year, while also being selected for the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and earning a C-USA Academic Medal.

The current junior, working as the team's primary lead-off hitter in 2012, followed up her rookie season by hitting .315 with 51 hits and 18 RBI as a sophomore. She again stood out in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA to earn selection to ECU's Chancellor's Lists in both semesters and again earned a place on the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and a C-USA Academic Medal, while also adding a spot on the C-USA Softball All-Academic Team. Jelnick's outstanding combination of athleticism and academics was even recognized on a national scale too with her selection to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Second Team after first being chosen for the Capital One Academic All-District 3 First Team.

Jelnick has also displayed outstanding leadership abilities with a spot on the East Carolina Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) for the last three years. She has moved her way up the ranks in the organization and now holds a position on SAAC's Executive Board Parliamentarian and is East Carolina's representative and the vice-president for Conference USA for the 2012-13 school year.

Despite all her outstanding accomplishments both on the field and in the classroom, it is in the community where she is making her greatest contribution of all. She has been involved with SAAC's Christmas Party for Kids for the last three years, volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, has spoken at local school assemblies about sports safety, volunteers at Eastern Pediatrics and Orthodontics – Give a Kid a Smile program, aided with campus freshmen orientations, helped with campus blood drives and has worked ECU Softball Camps for the last three years.


  Tishia Jewell, UCF


  Amber Jones, UAB
Town Creek, Ala.
Senior
Women's Basketball

Active is the perfect word to describe UAB senior women's basketball player Amber Jones, who, along with being named an All-Conference USA athlete on the court, is heavily involved with many community service projects away from basketball.

The Town Creek, Ala., has etched her name into the UAB record book during her four years with the program. She is one of 25 Blazers to be in the prestigious 1,000-point club with more than 1,300 career points and currently leads her team in scoring at over 14 points a game in 2013.

With a 3.67 cumulative GPA, it is what Jones has done away from the sport that makes her an even more remarkable role model. The Exercise Science major has been involved with numerous organizations, including the Birmingham YMCA, Ronald McDonald House and Lakeshore Foundation. She has also been heavily active with the McWane Center Mini Camps for Children and the Miracle League of Gardendale, Ala.

In addition, Jones assisted with tornado relief efforts through the Christian Service Mission of Birmingham and the Emergency Temporary Relief Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., while balancing her duties as a student-athlete at UAB.


  Risper Kimaiyo, UTEP


  Karley King, Houston
Track and Field
Abbeville, La.
Senior

From the beginning of her freshman year, Karley immediately displayed the desire to be the best student-athlete she could be. She fit into the program right away and never questioned the format or her training.

Karley is an unselfish competitor. She has a great attitude towards her teammates and coaches and has been voted team captain for the last two years by her teammates. All of the coaches on staff always comment on what a great person she is and how they need more student-athletes like her.

Karley swept the Conference USA Indoor and Outdoor pole vault titles in 2012 (3.90m outdoor; 4.06m indoor). She is also a recipient of the C-USA Spirit of Service Award (2012) and is a three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll (2009-12).

Along with her school and track and field commitments,Karley finds time to give back to her community. She is a the SAAC President and has led the charge on numerous events. A list of events she has held the reigns is below:

  • Marathon Kids
  • Literacy Night
  • UH Women's Day
  • UH National Night Out
  • Military Care packages
  • Fight For Sight Glasses
  • Nehemiah Center Sports Day
  • Harvard Literacy Night – worked with elementary age students to advocate literacy
  • Step- Out Walk for Diabetes- raised funds for the American Diabetes Association and attend the annual walk with the Houston Track and Field team
  • UH Referendum
  • Cullen Middle School Lemonade Day
  • "Let's SAAC Hunger" Food Drive


  Porsche Landry, Houston
Houston, Texas
Basketball
Redshirt Senior

Porsche Landry entered her senior season thankful to have the opportunity to play the game she loved after being granted a fifth year of eligibility following a head and neck injury just three games into the 2011-12 season. Landry was one of two senior leaders on a very young and inexperienced squad, and was averaging 22.0 points per game when she went down on Nov. 19, 2011 at Georgetown. Without their captain, the Cougars managed just three wins last season while Landry was forced to endure a long recovery.

The 2012-13 edition of the Cougars have their leader back and Landry hasn't taken a day for granted, leading Houston to wins in eight of the last 12 contests and two of three in Conference USA play. Landry has picked up where she left off, averaging 17.7 points and 4.3 assists per game, which ranks third and fifth in the league, respectively.

The Houston native has already made her mark in the Houston record books, ranking 10th all-time with 1,384 career points and third in school history with 414 assists, marking the lone player in nearly 40 years of competition with over 1,200 points and 400 assists.


  Stephanie Ledgerwood, Southern Miss
Cross Country
Yuma, Ariz.
Senior

Stephanie Ledgerwood is an all-conference cross country runner, a standout student and community leader. She finished third at this year's C-USA Cross Country Championship and never finished lower than 15th at any meet this season for the Golden Eagles.

Ledgerwood currently owns the Southern Miss indoor record holder in 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters as well as the outdoor records 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Not only has Ledgerwood excelled on the track, she has also excelled in the classroom. She is a three-time C-USA Academic Medal winner and a three-time C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll member with a 3.93 GPA in forensics. She was named to the C-USA all-academic team in cross country and track and field.

For her contributions to community service, Ledgerwood was awarded the Spirit of Service Award for the fall sports. Some of her community service includes literacy promotion at NR Burger Middle School and by encouraging students during a pep rally at Grace Christian Elementary to do well on state exams. She volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, First Baptist Church Hattiesburg, the Yuma Regional Medical Center, Woodward Junior High and the Hattiesburg Police Department.


  Farrah Madanay, Rice
Track and Field, Cross Country
Honolulu, Hawaii
Junior

A C-USA All-Academic selection for the 2012 Cross Country season, finds time to balance her studies, her athletics and volunteering into a very busy schedule.

The Honolulu native, was the third Owl to finish at the 2012 Conference USA Cross Country Championships, and placed 65th at the NCAA South Central Regional, posting her best two times of the year in the season's final two championship events. Showing her versatility as a runner, she finished 12th at the C-USA Indoor Meet in the 5000m in 2012.

Despite competing in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, a year-long time commitment, she finds time to volunteer at the Houston Holocaust Museum. She teaches a course, and has published a comic book on a holocaust resistor.


  Lianne Maldonado, UCF


  Taleya Mayberry, Tulsa
Basketball
Tulsa, Okla.
Senior

Taleya Mayberry has been a team leader on and off the court all four years of her career. She is a lead-by-example kind of person, and she expects people around her to do as she does, which is play hard, excel in the classroom, be out in the community doing community service projects and just being a pillar of the Tulsa program.

“Taleya is probably the most high-profile player we've had in our program since Jillian Robbins,” Head Coach Matilda Mossman said. “It is good for our program that she is such a high-profile player because she is student-athlete who does the right things. She makes you proud of who she is on a daily basis.”

On the court, Mayberry has scored in double digits in 70 of 96 career contests, amassing 1,419 points for a 14.7 ppg average. Of her 70 double-figure games she has scored more than 20 or more points in 26 games and 30 or more points four times. She is now third in steals (226), field goals made (488) and points (1,419), fourth in three-point field goals made (134), and fifth in assists (316) and free throws made (309) in school history. Mayberry was a First Team All-Conference USA selection as a junior and was tabbed to the C-USA All-Freshman team during the 2009-10 season.

Off the court, Mayberry was selected to the Tulsa Dean's List as a freshman and to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll as a sophomore, and was a C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient as a freshman and sophomore. She also has volunteered this year for the Salvation Army Angel Tree, TU Lights On, Dinner with the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, Lift Up America and the Food Bank for the University United Methodist Church.


  Keena Mays, SMU
Women's Basketball
Arlington, Texas
Junior

Junior transfer Keena Mays is creating a buzz around the SMU women’s basketball program, establishing herself as an All-America and Conference USA Player of the Year candidate after just a few games. In her first game at SMU after sitting out a full year, the Arlington, Texas, native recorded her second career double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. While not ranked because she hasn’t met the 75 percent of games minimum, Mays leads the conference and is in the top 25 in the country, scoring over 20 points per game.

Not only does Mays have the Mustangs in first place in Conference USA and off to their best start in conference play since the 1999-00 season, she also has aspirations of passing on her skills and knowledge of the game as a coach after her playing days. She is majoring in English because it is one of her favorite subjects, and attributes her passion for English to some of her early teachers.

News Story


  Megan Murphy, Rice
Volleyball
Plano, TX
Junior

C-USA Setter of the Year Megan Murphy is not only known for her assists on the court, where she led the Owls to most assists per set in the league this year, but also for her assists off the court, where she is active in the community.

Murphy is a two-time All-C-USA selection, and earned All-America status for her work in 2012. She helped the Owls finish second in C-USA, never coming off the floor in the Owls' 31 matches. She was C-USA Setter of the Week four times, and in addition to her athletic achievements, was named to C-USA's All-Academic Team.

The Plano, Texas native balances her time in the offseason, joining in with her volleyball teammates to volunteer in the community. She has volunteered at the Houston Marathon, helping the runners at the water stations and cheering them on, and participating in park beautification projects, bringing life to some of the more run-down areas of town.


  Andie Obermeyer, Rice
Soccer
Senior
Beverley, Hills, Mich.

Rice senior soccer goalkeeper Andie Obermeyer continued her family's legacy as a Rice student-athlete, just like her older sister and her mother before her. Like her mom and older sister, Andie is one of the student-leaders for the entire Athletics Department at Rice University. The native of Beverly Hills, Michigan, was the president of the Rice Student-Athlete Advisory Committee last year when the Owls were recognized by the National S.A.A.C. with that organization's Award of Excellence. The honor, which is now given annually, recognizes the nation's best campus SAAC which has organized special and unique community-service and outreach work as well as contributed other ways to sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership and growth. Through Rice SAAC Obermeyer organized "Owls on Stage," the first ever talent show for Rice student-athletes, annual food drives prior to the holidays, and appearances by Rice student-athletes at local elementary schools where the Owls promoted to children the benefits of good reading & study habits, as well as staying physically-fit through organized sports. Obermeyer was also an up-and-comer on the Owls' soccer team who helped the Blue and Gray win a share of the 2012 Conference USA regular season title in her senior year. In the classroom she was a C-USA All-Academic Honoree every year at Rice (2009-2012) while majoring in Psychology.


  Bailey Pembroke, Memphis
Soccer
Senior

A two-year captain for Memphis women's soccer, Bailey Pembroke defined leadership in her career at the University of Memphis. Pembroke, a Flower Mound, Texas native balanced soccer and academics very well as she carries a 4.0 GPA in marketing management. She is a three-time recipient of the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal and has been on the Tiger Academic 30 all six semesters.

On the field, Pembroke was a key member of Memphis' defense. She helped the Lady Tigers to a 10-8-1 record in 2012 after an impressive junior campaign that saw the U of M finish 22-1-1. A three-time C-USA champion, Pembroke is on track to graduate in May. Pembroke has given back to the Bluff City by volunteering at the St. Jude Marathon the last four years. She's also volunteered at the National Civil Rights Museum and helped with the Americacorps Tirck-or-Treat event.


  Alexandra, Rossi
Women's Golf
Austin, Texas
Freshman

Freshman Alexandra Rossi made sure to impress immediately at the collegiate level. Rossi won her first career event, the Chip-N Club Invite hosted by Nebraska, in the fall. Rossi hit an impressive 83 percent of fairways during the fall season and will be one of the team leaders heading into the spring season. As a team, SMU won two of its first three events in the fall. The team is currently ranked No. 35 by GolfWeek, and the publication picked SMU to win the C-USA title this spring.

Rossi, along with the rest of the team, has spent a lot of time helping out in the community this school year. Rossi has spent time at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas on many different occasions, playing with the kids at the facility.


  Camino Sardinero, UTEP
Women's Golf
Villanueva De La Canada, Spain (Colegio San Miguel)
Sophomore

One of the top freshmen in Conference USA during the 2011-12 season ... joined seniors Shang-Fan Huang and Teresa Nogues as the only Miners to play in all 10 tournaments ... tallied a scoring average of 76.8 to rate third on the team ... picked up one top-20 finish, taking 12th place at the Price's "Give 'Em Five" Invitational ... low round (71) and score (219) were both achieved at the Price's tourney in Las Cruces, N.M. ... recipient of a C-USA Academic Medal for recording a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher.


  Sam Serley, UAB
Volleyball
Nashville, Tenn.
Senior

Beyond a decorated career on the volleyball court, Sam Serley was an outstanding leader, student-athlete and humanitarian as she was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award during the fall semester.

In the classroom she has maintained a 3.78 GPA as a Health Care Management major with a minor in accounting and was selected to the Conference USA All-Academic team three times, amongst other academic accolades.

An active community member, Serley has spent countless hours giving back to the Birmingham area through a number of different charities. She has been a Blazer Buddies' member by reading to kids, volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and Habitat for Humanity, while also teaching the sport of volleyball at the club level.

On the court, Serley racked up more awards, being named an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention selection three times and a two-time All-Conference USA pick while setting the school record for blocks in a career (564) and in a single-season (185). She also led C-USA in hitting percentage (.380) and blocks per set (1.46) during her final season as a Blazer.


  Celeste Stewart, East Carolina
Women's Basketball
Charlotte, N.C.
Senior

Celeste Stewart is a starting point guard on the East Carolina women's basketball team. A senior from Charlotte, N.C., Stewart has been part of the Pirates since her freshman year in 2009-10 and has since established herself as a starter, role model, and exemplary student-athlete. As a freshman, Stewart appeared in all 34 of the Pirates' games, starting in two. In her rookie campaign, she finished the season averaging 3.9 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game to go along with 52 assists and 22 steals.

At the beginning of her sophomore year, Stewart dealt with a coaching change and was forced to readjust to the demands of collegiate basketball all over again. She saw action in all 31 games and started in 21. She slightly improved her game averaging 4.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, while adding 76 assists, and 34 steals. However, after much work and a “never say die” attitude, Stewart won a starting role in her junior season. She started all 31 games and concluded the year averaging 5.7 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 50 steals and a team-leading 106 assists.

Just 15 games into her senior season, Stewart has proven herself as a team leader and role model to the underclassmen. She has dramatically improved her numbers as she has more than doubled her points per game average from her freshman year as she is averaging 10.1 points per contest and 3.1 rebounds per game. She is still leading the Pirates in assists with 69 and she recently found her way into the ECU career record book with a total of 303 career assists. She has set a precedence for her team as a true leader and example both on and off the court as she will graduate in May with a degree in recreational therapy and a 3.33 GPA.


  Leslie Thomas, Marshall


  Meredith Ware, Houston
Los Angeles, Calif.
Volleyball
Junior

When describing the definition of a true student-athlete, Houston junior defensive specialist Meredith Ware comes to mind immediately. Her presence as an off-the-court leader has filtered on the court as she just completed her best season yet as a Cougar student-athlete.

The Los Angeles, Calif. native represents more than just a volleyball athlete at the University of Houston as she holds the title of Chairperson of the Conference USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Vice President of SAAC at UH.

Ware is a two-time Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient and Academic Medal winner her freshman season as a biology major and a psychology minor. She plans to attend medical school following her stint as a Cougar and pursue a career in specialized pediatrics.

During the 2012 season, Ware helped Houston to the Conference USA Championship and a win over Rice in the opening round. She appeared in 27 matches and 80 sets, compiling 176 digs for fifth-best on the team with a career-high 18 coming in a 3-1 win over Rice during regular season play.

Away from the court, Ware also represents a sorority, FCA, Young Life, and mentors young students in the campus' biology lab.


  Sonnisha Williams, UCF

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