Big 12 announces Athletes of the Year

DALLAS -- Sarah Pavan (Nebraska volleyball) and Ben Askren (Missouri wrestling) have been named 2006-07 Big 12 Conference Athletes of the Year, the league office announced.

Nominees are submitted by each Big 12 institution and selected by a media panel based on 2006-07 athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship.  

Pavan was the 2006-07 Honda Award winner as the top female student-athlete in the nation after leading the Husker volleyball team to the 2006 National Championship. She was the second Division I volleyball player in NCAA history to earn both American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year and College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America of the Year in the same season. Pavan also garnered Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year in addition to AVCA All-America First Team. 

The junior right-side hitter was the 2006 Big 12 Player of the Year and named to the All-Big 12 First Team. Pavan was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 NCAA Championship and listed on the 2006 Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team. She led Nebraska to a 33-1 record and No. 1 national ranking the entire season.  

In addition to her athletic accomplishments, the Kitchener, Ontario, Canada , native carries a 4.00 grade point average in biochemistry. She earned the 2006 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year. Pavan was listed on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team, the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and Nebraska 's Dean's List. She was invited to play with the Canadian National Team, but declined to fulfill upper-level academic requirements.  

Pavan was the keynote speaker for the 2007 School is Cool Jam while helping the volleyball squad to its first NU Athletic Department Life Skills Award. Her other community service activities included a UNL Tour of Excellence Speaker, American Education Week Speaker and Dance Marathon Participant for Children's Hospital.  

Askren was the 2006 and 2007 National Champion and a four-time All-America wrestler at 174 pounds. He won the Big 12 Championship in his weight class three times in addition to being named a two-time Dan Hodge Award winner - wrestling's equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Askren closed his collegiate career with a 153-8 mark that includes 87 consecutive wins, dating back to the start of his junior season.  

The Columbia, Mo. , senior was the Schalles Award Recipient in 2007 as the most dominant pinner in the nation. He was also two-time Rev Wrestler of the Year while earning five tournament titles this past season. Askren was the Southern Scuffle Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2005 and 2007. The scholar-athlete was a four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree and three-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Academic All-American.  

Askren was a member of the inaugural Big 12 Good Works Team, which recognizes community service and citizenship. He served as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council in 2007. The four-year member of SAAC organized and assisted with many of the group's fundraising activities, including canned food donations, clothing drives and Red Cross promotions. He has appeared at elementary schools to promote reading and traveled with the Missouri staff on outreach trips throughout the state to promote athletics.

Other female candidates were: Lisa Ferguson (Baylor softball), Jenny Barringer ( Colorado cross country and track), Lyndsey Medders ( Iowa State basketball), Egor Agafonov ( Kansas track and field), Courtney Paris ( Oklahoma basketball), Courtney Totte ( Oklahoma State softball), Destinee Hooker ( Texas track and field), Amanda Scarborough (Texas A&M softball) and Ana Morton (Texas Tech soccer). 

Male nominees included: Daniel Sepulveda (Baylor football), Stephen Pifer (Colorado cross country and track), Trent Paulson (Iowa State wrestling), Zlata Tarasova (Kansas track and field), Daniel Edwards (Kansas State baseball), Zac Taylor (Nebraska football), Kevin Bookout (Oklahoma track and field), Pablo Martin (Oklahoma State golf), Kevin Durant (Texas basketball), Acie Law IV (Texas A&M basketball) and Dimitrio Martinez (Texas Tech tennis).                                                                           

                                                                                    -- Big 12 --   

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