Chism, Mayo among nominees

This year's University of Tennessee Coca-Cola Community All-American nominees are Marisa Mohan, Zane Stone, Hayley Pendergrast, Jerod Mayo, Alexis Hornbuckle, Nicole Smith, Chris Kane, Cleo Tyson, Octavio Alesi, Lauren Leroy, Wayne Chism and Mindy Flynn.

Senior rower Marisa Mohan has proven to be an asset both on the water and in the community. During her time at UT, she has participated in the Family Reading Night at West View Elementary School, served as a judge in the Lake Hills Presbyterian Chili Cook-Off, and participated in the annual Salvation Army Kettle Kick-Off event at Thompson Boling Arena. In addition, she is very active in the Big Brother, Big Sister program. She is an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has participated in the SAAC Holiday dinner for the last two years.

Senior Zane Stone, a member of the UT baseball team, has been very active with community service from the day that he stepped onto campus. He has made a habit of visiting patients at Fort Sanders Hospital, UT Medical Center, and East Tennessee Children's Home. He was very active in organizing the baseball teams' involvement with Race for the Cure and has been part of the Friends of the Smokies event, Buddy's Race Against Cancer, several Mission of Hope events, as well as an event at the Manna House. He played a major role in the Cancer Research Fundraising event conducted by the baseball team as well as the annual clinics held for the kids in the community.

Hayley Pendergrast, a senior on the soccer team is a current SAAC member. She has helped out in the annual SAAC Holiday Dinner, the Lift Up America event, and the Second Harvest Canned Food Drive. On top of these events, she has participated in a Holiday Bag Stuffing Event, the Heart Walk held by the American Heart Association, and the Race against Racism at the Knoxville YWCA.

Junior linebacker Jerod Mayo has made a major impact both on and off the gridiron at the University of Tennessee. He has an extensive list of events that he has participated in during his time in Knoxville including helping out with the Punt, Pass, and Kick event at Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex, Habitat for Humanity, the Minority Student Workshop at Rogers Memorial Church, several events at Sacred Heart School, and the trash and recycling removal as well as lawn maintenance at Zion Prospect Baptist Church. He was a part of the National Crime Victims Week at the Knoxville Center Mall, April Play Day at Thompson Boling Arena, the Nikki Giovanni Lecture, the End of Semester Blowout, and several tours of Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex. He has taken pride in visiting the children at East Tennessee Children's Home and helping out with the SAAC Holiday Dinner.

Senior women's basketball player Alexis Hornbuckle has always gone the extra mile within the community. She has been a part of the Saving Little Hearts Mini Golf Tournament, the Lady Vol Fund Run, the Science Olympiad at Bearden Middle School, and Race for the Cure. Other events that she has been a part of include the Second Harvest Canned Food Drive, the Team and Toys Project associated with the FCAIA, April Play Day, and the Salvation Army Kettle Kick-Off event at Thompson Boling Arena. She has taken the time out of her busy Lady Vol schedule to visit the children at East Tennessee Children's Home, sign autographs and pose for pictures at Volunteer Village, and has twice been a part of the Big Orange Madness fan fest.

Junior women's golfer Nicole Smith has been an active member of SAAC, holding the position of secretary, for two years. She has also been a part of the Pen Pals Program through Sarah Moore Greene Elementary for several years, the Read With Me program, and the Dogwood Arts Parade. On top of these events, she has been a huge help with the SAAC Holiday Dinner for two years, a helper at Camp Rainbow, and has also been a part of several youth golf clinics in the area put on by the UT Women's Golf Team.

Freshmen distance runner Chris Kane recognized the importance of giving back to the community from day one. He has assisted with projects for Habitat for Humanity; participated in the Race for the Cure, and was the speaker at the PRIDE Awards Event. He has also spoken to local elementary students at the Neyland Thompson Sports Complex, participated in the Make a Wish event, the Prom of the Stars event, and the Salvation Army Bell Ringing Event in the community.

Senior sprinter Cleo Tyson has been involved in several events in the Knoxville community. She has been an active participant in the Second Harvest Canned Food Drive for three years; she has helped out at the annual Fat Man Olympics, and has also participated with the Habitat for Humanity on two occasions. She is an active member of SAAC and been active with the Team and Toys Wrapping Party and the SAAC Holiday Dinner. She also serves as a peer mentor for the VolScholar program and is a member of the FCAI in a leadership role.

Senior men's swimmer Octavio Alesi has proven to be a very community conscious individual. He has participated with Habitat for Humanity, the Campus Beautification Program, and the Race for the Cure. He has taken pride in helping out with the Reading Night at Belle Morris Elementary School and is an active SAAC member.

Senior diver Lauren Leroy has represented her sport in the community on several occasions. She was a Race for the Cure participant, a helper at the Lady Vol Fund Run, and an active participant in the Second Harvest Canned Food Drive. She has signed autographs at Volunteer Village, and has helped out with SAAC Holiday Dinner on two occasions.

Sophomore basketball standout Wayne Chism has always found time to give back to the community. He has been a participant in the Saving Little Hearts Mini Golf Tournament, the Race for the Cure, and has helped out with several Vol Aware Events. He has also taken the time to participate in the Salvation Army's Bell Ringing Event, the Oak Ridge Festival, and has visited the kids at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital. He is an active SAAC member who has spoken to several elementary schools on the importance of academics. He also passed out candy to the kids in attendance at a Volleyball match and has also volunteered for two years with the Bounce Back Basketball Camp in Jackson.

Mindy Flynn, a junior on the volleyball team, has been an active participant in the community during her career at UT. She has signed autographs at Volunteer Village, bought and wrapped Christmas gifts for needy families through the Teams and Toys Christmas Project, and has also helped out with the Dogwood Arts Parade. She has participated at April Play Day, played mini golf with the kids at the Saving Little Hearts Mini Golf Tournament, and has visited the children at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital on several occasions. Mindy has also been very active with the Volleyball clinics put on by her and her teammates at the Smokey Mountain Children's Home.

The Coca-Cola Community All-Americans program is designed to help institutions recognize, celebrate and applaud student-athletes who are making a difference in their communities. On college campuses across the country student-athletes are giving it their all not only on the playing field but also in their communities through hands-on volunteerism and service. Whether it's reading to kids, restoring homes, or coaching youth sports, Coca-Cola and NACDA believe it's time to recognize these significant contributions.

Each institution is encouraged to nominate multiple student-athletes who excel in community service. Each institution will then review the submissions and chose one student-athlete as the school's annual Coca-Cola Community All-American. That nominee will then have a chance to compete against other institution's nominees for consideration at the national level. A panel of NACDA representatives will select one student-athlete from each division (NCAA, NAIA, and junior/community college member institutions) who has a compelling story to tell regarding community service.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories