April 27, 2009
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Women's basketball senior Brooke Johnson, senior track and field standout Manteo Mitchell and the Western Carolina Lady Catamount basketball team were honored as recipients of collegiate-level awards at the 51st annual Mountain Amateur Athletic Club and WNC Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Sunday afternoon at the Grove Park Inn Resort. Johnson and Mitchell were dubbed the region's College Female and Male Athlete of the Year winning the H. H. Zeugner Award, while the women's basketball team were selected as the collegiate Female Team of the Year and received the Houser Shoe Award.
Johnson, a senior center from Seymour, Tenn., was voted the Southern Conference Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after averaging 18.3 points and nine rebounds in three games. She broke the school record for blocks, ending her career with 130. Johnson also led the team averaging 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Johnson had 16 double digit scoring performances, posted a career-high 26 points against Davidson on December 14 and had five double-doubles. She was a candidate for the prestigious Lowe's Senior Class Award, making her one of the top 30 seniors in the nation. She was also a 2009 ESPN The Magazine District 3 First Team Academic All-District, a finalist for the V Foundation Comeback Award and an All-Southern Conference selection.
In indoor track, Mitchell won the 60m, 200m, and 400m dash in the 2009 Southern Conference Indoor Championships. He was also named Most Outstanding Athlete in the championships and also Most Outstanding Track Performer. Outdoor highlights for 2009 include winning the 200m and 400m as well as members of the winning 4x100 and 4x400m teams. He was also named Most Outstanding Athlete and Track Performer at the 2009 Southern Conference Outdoor Championships.
Western Carolina women's basketball won the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament, its second tournament championship in school history, defeating College of Charleston in a conference record three overtimes. The Lady Catamounts drew a 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest seed in school history, and played No. 4 seed Vanderbilt in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Lady Catamounts lost 73-44 to the Commodores in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Lady Catamounts went 21-12 for the 2008-09 season, the third-straight 20-win season for Western Carolina.