June 2, 2008
Cullowhee, N.C. - Seven Western Carolina student-athletes were recognized as 2008 Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholars as chosen and released by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. The seven honorees for WCU are one shy of the school-record eight recorded last year and the most among schools in the Southern Conference.
Headlining the selections this year were three-time recipients Ogden Hansford (Men's Track & Field) and Raquel Ramseur (Women's Track & Field), with three student-athletes making the honorary list for a second time in Buki Baruwa (Women's Soccer), Kendra Eaton (Women's Basketball) and Kevin Johnson (Men's Track & Field). Marcus Brown (Football) and Kristen Feemster (Women's Basketball) were recognized for the first time in their WCU careers.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, formerly Black Issues in Higher Education, established the Sports Scholars Award in 1992 to honor undergraduate students of color or minority who have made achieving both academically and athletically a winning combination. The award was inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe Jr.'s commitment to education, as well as his love for the game of tennis. To be eligible, student-athletes must compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative grade point average of a least 3.20 and be active on their campuses and communities.
Baruwa (Cary, N.C.) is a two-time Arthur Ashe Jr., Sports Scholar, garnering the award each of the past two years. Appearing in 13 games with a pair of starts a year ago on the pitch, the junior dished out three assists for the Catamounts last season. Baruwa was also WCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) president this past academic year after having also served as the group's vice president and women's soccer SAAC representative as a freshman. She was also named to the 2007 Southern Conference Fall Academic All-Conference team, and was awarded the Betty Peele Leadership Award at Western's annual awards banquet.
Brown (Cary, N.C.) was named to the 2007 Southern Conference Fall Academic All-Conference team in addition to garnering his first Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar recognition. Last season, he caught 22 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Eaton (Winston-Salem, N.C.) is a two-time Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar, tallying second team accolades each of the past two seasons. She started 33 games a year ago, scoring in double figures 10 times while also posting her first career double-double with a career-best 18 points and 13 rebounds in a four-overtime win at Elon. Eaton was also named to the 2007-08 Southern Conference Winter Academic All-Conference team. In addition to serving on WCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Eaton is the SoCon's representative on the National NCAA Division I SAAC.
Kristen Feemster (Clover, S.C.) earned her first-ever Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar recognition this year. She saw action in all 34 games this season, twice scoring in double-figures for WCU including a career-high 11 points against Furman to average 4.2 points per game off the bench for the Lady Catamounts. Feemster was recognized as WCU's Female Scholar Athlete of the Year at the annual awards banquet, and was also named to the 2007-08 Southern Conference Winter Academic All-Conference team.
Hansford (Mooresville, N.C.) earned his third-straight Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar recognition this year.
Johnson (Marion, N.C.) earned his second Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar recognition this year after placing on the first team a year ago. This outdoor season, was named All-Southern Conference in the men's 4x100-meter relay team helping WCU win the event and also qualify for the NCAA East Regional. He was also named to the 2008 Spring Academic All-Southern Conference team. Johnson was the men's track & field representative on WCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) this year, serving as one of the social chairs on the leadership committee.
Ramseur (Charlotte, N.C.) is a three-time, Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar. She was named All-Southern Conference at both the indoor and outdoor championships, helping the Catamounts win the outdoor conference title. She was named SoCon Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Week on April 10, also garnering the league's monthly honor for April. Ramseur was an individual event champion in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and on the 4x400-meter relay during the indoor championship, helping her receive team co-MVP status. At the outdoor event held in Cullowhee, she was an event champion again in the 200m and 400m distances, as well as on both the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams. At this year's NCAA East Regional in Tallahassee, Ramseur finished fifth with her second-best time of the season (53.15) to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. She was awarded the 2007-08 African-American Scholar Athlete of the Year award as presented by WCU's Organization of Ebony Students (OES).
For more information on Diverse, or a complete listing of the 2008 Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar program awards, please visit www.diverseeducation.com.
Marcus Brown, Jr., 3.657 GPA - Computer Information Systems - First Team
Buki Baruwa, Jr., 3.595 GPA - Criminal Justice - Third Team
Women's Track & Field
Raquel Ramseur, Sr., 3.251 GPA - Marketing - Third Team