April 25, 2005
Jeremy Ellenburg (baseball) being named the 2004-05 Male Scholar Athlete of the Year with the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year being shared by Erika Danford (golf) and Genevieve Johnson (volleyball).
To be named Western's Scholar Athlete of the Year, the student-athlete must have attended WCU for at least one complete year, carry the highest cumulative grade point average and compete in a sport during the 2004-05 season.
Ellenburg, a junior pitcher for the Catamounts from Forest City, N.C., has a cumulative 3.518 GPA in physical education. On the field, he sports a 2-0 record in 13 appearances, striking out 16 with just eight walks on the season.
Danford, a junior from Lake Wales, Fla., and Johnson, a redshirt freshman from Suwanee, Ga., each have a perfect 4.0 GPA. Danford, who transferred to Western from the University of Florida this past season, is majoring in sport management. She played in three events this season and ranks ninth on the WCU all-time scoring average top 25. Johnson, who is majoring in interior design with a minor in psychology, has yet to play in a match, attending Western Carolina in 2003-04 and redshirting her first season with the squad.
Western also recognized the following student-athletes as recipients of their respective sports' endowed scholarships:
Clint Ramsey (Baseball) - Ronnie G. Childress Scholarship Fund
Caleb McConnell (Baseball Pitcher) - O'Dell Griffin Scholarship
Tim Hallam (Baseball) - Johnny Pust Scholarship
Lamar Barnes (Football) - Walter J. Durr Scholarship
Adam Donaldson (Football) - Wallace and Jeanette Hyde Scholarship
Mitch Hall (Football) - Bob Waters Scholarship
Bianca Melone (Women's Golf) - Sanborn Scholarship
Ashley Hovda (Women's Golf) - Brydon S. Greene Golf Scholarship
Natalie Turgeon (Soccer) - Schrader Scholarship
Kristin Cotton (Tennis) - Deeann Jagger Scholarship
Leslie Martin (Track & Field/Cross Country) - Sue & Jack Wakeley Scholar
Jason Stepp (Track & Field/Cross Country) - Sue & Jack Wakeley Scholar
Each sport, with the exception of baseball and men's & women's outdoor track and field which are still competing, announced their team's Most Valuable Players.
Men's Basketball: David Berghoefer (junior from Cross Plains, Wis.) was an All-Southern Conference selection after being the only player in the SoCon to rank among the league's top seven in both scoring and rebounding. He was sixth in scoring (14.6 ppg) and was the only non-guard ranked among the top seven in scoring. He additionally ranked fifth in rebounds (8.0 rpg), while ranking second in the SoCon in double-doubles with eight. With 845 points in his career to date, Berghoefer is on pace to become the 34th Catamount to score 1,000 points before he graduates. With a game-high 14 rebounds versus UNC Greensboro (recording his second double-double vs. the Spartans) in the regular-season finale, he surpassed 500 rebounds for his career, now with 502.
Women's Basketball: Jennifer Gardner (senior from Norcross, Ga.) led Western Carolina to the 2005 Southern Conference Championship and the program's first ever NCAA Tournament berth. She was first team All-Southern Conference after being named SoCon Player of the Week three times in 2004-05, the most by any conference player. At the SoCon Championship, Gardner was named Tournament MVP and first team All-SoCon Tournament after setting records for points in a game (45), points in a tournament (106), field goals in a tournament (33), free throws in a tournament (37), free throw attempts in a tournament (46) and rebounds in a tournament (43). Gardner concluded her outstanding Western career ranked in the top 10 in seven statistical categories. She scored 1,362 points for her career to rank eighth, and pulled down 890 rebounds to rank third on that WCU list. Gardner is only one of three Western Carolina players to ever score over 1,000 and tally 800-or-more rebounds in a career, joining the likes of Brenda Johnson (1974-77) and Emily Holliday (1983-86). Her 7.6 rebounds per game average ranks her fourth all-time. From the charity stripe, Gardner set a Western record by connecting on 444 free throws during her career on 564 attempts for 78.7-percent, both of which rank second in the WCU record books.
Cheerleading: Co-winners Alyson Clayton (Raleigh, N.C.) and Callie Utz (Greensboro, N.C.). Clayton, a junior and three-year member, was captain on this past year's squad. Utz is also a junior and three-year member of the squad.
Men's Cross Country: Adam Puett (junior from Huntsville, Ala.) placed fourth at the 2004 SoCon Championships to earn all-conference honors. He was a SoCon Runner of the Week twice during cross country, adding Track & Field Runner of the Week during the indoor and outdoor season. Also during the indoor season, Puett won the SoCon mile and was runner-up in the 3,000 meters.
Women's Cross Country: Deanna Kulesz (junior from Oak Ridge, Tenn.) placed among the top 10 in three of the team's four regular-season meets and was Western's top finisher at each of Western's competitions, including the SoCon Championshps and NCAA Regionals. She was additionally named to the TIAA-CREF Fall and Winter Academic All-Conference team. During the indoor track & field season, she anchored the winning distance medley relay team at the SoCon Championships and placed seventh in the mile.
Football: Albert Reid (senior from Morganton, N.C.) was named first team All-Southern Conference. He ranked seventh on the team in tackles with 43, while tying for the team lead with 11 tackles for losses. Reid added a fumble recovery in Western's home finale versus Appalachian State, which led to the Catamounts' game-winning touchdown two plays later with just 41 seconds remaining in the game. He also led a Catamount defense to the school's highest ever national ranking in pass defense, 12th, while only allowing 301.91 total yards per game. Western was additionally 41st nationally against the run, giving up just 138.27 rushing yards per game. That rushing total is even more impressive considering Western held the nation's top rushing teams below their season average, including Georgia Southern (I-AA's top rushing team), Wofford (I-AA's second-best rushing team), Nicholls State (I-AA's 10th-best rushing team, Furman(I-AA's 15th-best rushing team) and Alabama (I-A's 26th-best rushing team).
Men's Golf: Tripp Morrow (sophomore from Forest City, N.C.) played in all 11 of WCU's events, posting a season stroke average of 74.88 to rank fourth on the school's single-season scoring list. He currently ranks first on the WCU all-time scoring list with a career stroke average of 74.94. Morrow won WCU's Shoot-Out at Wild Wing and was co0leader at the end of regulation at the ASU-Draper Valley Invitational.
Women's Golf: Ashley Hovda (junior from Springfield, Ohio) ranked ninth in the league in scoring average prior to the league championships to make All-Southern Conference. After firing the low round of the day twice, she finished as the runner-up at this year's SoCon Championships. She turned in the low round of the year among SoCon players with a 67 to win individual medalist honors at the Wachovia/Great Smokies Intercollegiate, helping her finish the season as the team leader with a 76.74 stroke average. She had five top 10 finishes this season and was the team leader in eight of 10 events.
Soccer: Natasha Moore (junior from Fountain Inn, S.C.) is a two-time TIAA-CREF Academic All-conference selection, earning the honor in the fall of 2003 and 2004. Also, she was honored by being named on the 2005 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholars list as selected by "Black Issues In Higher Education." Moore was only one of three Catamounts to start all 18 matches, making the move from the back line into the offense, leading the team in assists (4) and ranking third on the team in points as she also scored three goals. With one year left, Moore ranks among the WCU career top 10 in goals, career assists, game winning goals and points.
Tennis: Kristin Cotton (senior from Clemson, S.C.) was a captain on this year's team, winning her bracket this past fall at the East Tennessee State Invitational. Later, at NC State, she was runner-up in her single flight and teamed with Ashley Harris to win the consolation bracket in doubles. Cotton helped WCU win 21 matches over her career, while posting a 32-37 career singles record in dual matches.
Indoor Track & Field: Mike Malone (Gainesville, Ga.) earned three All-Southern Conference honors during the 2005 indoor season. He placed second in the 60-meter dash (6.92), second in the 60-meter hurdles (8.33) and second in the 200-meters (22.13) at the conference meet. He additionally finished sixth in the long jump with a distance of 22' 3.75".
Indoor Track & Field: Laura Tieszen (senior from Rapid City, S.D.) named Southern Conference Indoor Field Performer of the Year after winning SoCon Indoor titles in both the pole vault and pentathlon. She additionally placed fourth in the high jump. Tieszen was named SoCon Indoor Performer of the Week once and later named the league's Performer of the Month for January. Tieszen additionally was recognized for her work in the classroom as she was named to the TIAA-CREF Winter Academic All-Southern Conference team. During the outdoor season, she added SoCon Performer of the Week honors as she won the pole vault at the Charlotte 49er Classic with a height of 12' 5.5" to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships.
Volleyball: Stefanie Peters (senior from Denton, Texas) ranked second on the team in digs (310), second in kills (282) and fourth in blocks (38). She helped WCU win the Campbell Classic, posting double-doubles in each of the team's three matches (total of 46 kills and 43 digs) to earn all-tournament honors. Peters concluded her career ranked third on the WCU career list for digs per game, averaging just over three per contest. She additionally ranked eighth on WCU's all-time list for digs (1,087), 10th in service aces (106) and 12th in kills (883). Peters also excelled in the classroom as she was a two-time TIAA-CREF Fall Academic All-Southern Conference team member.