UT duo up for award

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Twenty-four student-athletes, one male and one female from each Southeastern Conference institution, have been chosen by their respective schools as recipients of an SEC post-graduate scholarship and are finalists for the 2005-06 H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Tuesday.

Tennessee representatives were Betsy Brockman from the Lady Vols swimming and diving team and Matthew Lapp of the men's cross country squad.

Each finalist receives a $5,000 scholarship for post-graduate studies. The SEC Faculty Athletics Representatives Boyd McWhorter Selection Committee chooses the outstanding male and female student-athlete and each receives a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.

The winners of the McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be announced Thursday in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day. Wednesday, the SEC announces the recipients of the SEC Community Service Award, also chosen by SEC Faculty Athletics Representatives. The recipients each receive a $5,000 post-graduate scholarship.

"The Southeastern Conference is proud to recognize these 24 student-athletes for their accomplishments in their academics and athletics endeavors," Slive said. "These student-athletes have shown everyone what it takes to be a winner in every aspect of life. This group of student-athletes are excellent representatives of their universities and communities."

Brockman competed for the Lady Vols this season in the breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and individual medley events. A senior from Batavia, Ohio, she recently was selected to the 2005-06 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll. Brockman is a member of the UT Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and represented UT at last spring?s NCAA Leadership Conference.

Lapp, a senior from Coatesville, Pa., stands as one of the most honored captains in Tennessee track and field/cross country history after being elected team captain four times -- track 2005 and cross country 2003, 2004 and 2005. With one outdoor season left in his career, Lapp competed in three SEC track and field championships, two SEC cross country championships, two NCAA South Regional Cross Country Championships and one NCAA Cross Country Championship during his Vol tenure.

The SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in 1986. The award was renamed the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in May 1990 to honor the former commissioner who served the conference from 1972-86.

National Student-Athlete Day was created in 1987 by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and presented by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

National Student-Athlete Day is held each April 6 to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. It is also a time to recognize those parents, teachers, coaches and school systems which make it possible for young people to find the balance between academics and athletics.

The award will be presented to the two winners on June 1 at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla.

FEMALE FINALISTS -- Beth Mallory, Alabama Track and Field, Ashland, Ohio; Dana McQuillan, Arkansas Gymnastics, West Orange, N.J.; Angela Homan, Auburn Track and Field, Spencerville, Ohio; Sarah Lowe, Florida Basketball, Wynnewood, Pa.; Lauren Burks, Georgia Track and Field, Cottage Grove, Minn.; Vicki Goss, Kentucky Rifle, Palmyra, Pa.; Stephanie Hill, LSU Softball, Harahan, La.; Hillary Beckman, Mississippi Soccer, Anchorage, Ky.; Callye Williams, Mississippi State Softball, Katy, Texas; Tracey Richardson, South Carolina Swimming and Diving, Essex, England; Betsy Brockman, Tennessee Swimming and Diving, Batavia, Ohio; Erica Grimaldi, Vanderbilt Basketball, Kansas City, Mo.

MALE FINALISTS -- DeMeco Ryans, Alabama Football, Bessemer, Ala.; Eric Brown, Arkansas Track and Field, Baldwin City, Kan.; Douglas Van Wie, Auburn Swimming and Diving, Charlotte, N.C.; Darren O'Day, Florida Baseball, Jacksonville, Fla.; Ryan Schnetzer, Georgia Football, Newnan, Ga.; Taylor Begley, Kentucky Football, Danville, Ky.; Rudy Niswanger, LSU Football, Monroe, La.; Sidney McLaurin, Mississippi Football, Brandon, Miss.; Jose Pinto, Mississippi State Tennis, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Tom Eklund, South Carolina Tennis, Hollviken, Sweden; Matthew Lapp, Tennessee Cross Country, Coatesville, Pa.; Tyler Harlan, Vanderbilt Cross Country, Fayetteville, Ark.

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