July 4, 2008
Cullowhee, N.C. - Senior men's golfer Matt Cook (Murphy, N.C./Murphy) and senior sprinter Raquel Ramseur (Charlotte, N.C./Vance) were named Western Carolina University's Student-Athletes of the Year for the 2007-08 athletic season, as announced this week by the WCU Athletic Department. The two will officially be recognized and honored in August during a brief ceremony at the annual student-athlete meeting.
Ramseur edged out track & field teammate - and cross country MVP - Kerrie Savery, while Cook was a near unanimous selection as track & field junior Manteo Mitchell was the only other to receive votes.
In an effort to include all of the accomplishments of the 2007-08 athletic teams in the decision of athlete of the year, Western abstained from voting on the awards until the conclusion of the Catamount baseball and track & field seasons. All team MVPs, as voted on by each individual sport's coaching staff and players, were considered in naming the overall student-athletes of the year. (A full-listing of WCU 2007-08 MVPs is included below).
Cook led the Catamount men's golf team in nine of the 12 events during his senior season, averaging an even-par, 72, through the 34 total rounds to post the second-best, single-season round in school history. All told, the Murphy, N.C., native holds four of the top five single-season scoring averages including the lowest three all-time. This season, he was a two-time SoCon Golfer of the Month (September and April) and was named All-South Region by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), also garnering honorable mention All-American plaudits from the same group.
Cook concluded his four-year playing career at Western Carolina as the only four-time, All-SoCon selection and as the school's all-time career stroke average leader (72.11). He recorded 25 top 10 individual finishes including 18 inside the top five with nine individual medalist honors, twice garnering the top finish at the SoCon Men's Golf Championship.
The 2006 SoCon Player of the Year, Cook made three appearances in the NCAA East Regional, twice as an individual and this past season as a member of the Catamount squad which earned the school's first-ever, at-large bid into the field.
Ramseur garnered Most Valuable honors for her performances during both the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons, helping the Catamounts sweep both SoCon Track & Field Championships on the women's side.
During the indoor season, Ramseur was a three-time champion in the 200 and 400-meter dash events, as well as on the 4x400-meter relay team. Once the competition moved outdoors, the Charlotte, N.C., native continued in stride by winning the same events at the outdoor championship, while also running on both the first-place finishing 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay squads. Her accolades continued to pile up as she was named the Women's Track Most Outstanding Performer for the meet.
Ramseur qualified for the NCAA Regional in Tallahassee where she finished fifth with her second-best time of the season (53.15) to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. On the national stage, the senior and WCU's lone women's entry into the national championships, she concluded her collegiate career with a 19th-place finish overall in the women's 400-meter dash. Ramseur finished fourth in her heat with a time of 53.79 seconds, just eight-one hundredths of a second off qualifying for the semifinals.
Based upon her regional performance, she was one of nine Catamounts named to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field All-East Region team, as selected and announced by the United Stats Track & Field / Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Ramseur earned SoCon Track Athlete of the Week once (April 10) and was the conference's Track Athlete of the Month in April. She received Academic All-SoCon honors in the spring, and was named an Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar - as selected by Diverse - for the third time in her WCU career. Ramseur also was awarded the 2007-08 African-American Scholar Athlete of the Year award, as presented by WCU's Organization of Ebony Students (OES).
Ramseur concludes her career with her name entrenched in WCU's record books. All told, she holds four individual records and is a part of four relay benchmarks. She holds the indoor 200-meter dash (24.51, 2006), outdoor 200-meter dash (23.43, 2008), indoor 400-meter dash (54.31, 2007) and outdoor 400-meter dash (53.08, 2008) records. She is a part of the women's indoor 4x400-meter relay (3:45.31, 2007), and outdoor records in the 4x100-meter (44.95, 2008), 4x400-meter (3:39.36, 2006) and sprint relay (3:56.83).
Western Carolina 2007-08 Individual Sport MVPs:
Senior Barrett Shaft - Led WCU with a .374 batting average, accumulating 83 base hits (second on the team) in 222 at bats ... Posted 16 doubles, a team-leading three triples and five home runs while amassing 47 RBI ... Finished his WCU career with 336 career hits to become the school's all-time leader, establishing the mark on a poke to left field in the fifth inning of a May 2 home victory over Wofford ... Also set the school benchmark for being hit by a pitch (HBP) in a career with 44 ... Made the transition from outfield to first base to help solidify the right side of the WCU infield ... Was named a preseason All-SoCon selection as an outfielder.
Sophomore Chris Masters - the second-year, left-hander was Western's most solid pitcher, leading the team with eight wins (8-4) and posted the squad's lowest ERA among most readily-used pitchers (4.24) ... Led the team with 28 appearances - 27 of which came in relief with only one start - and 80 strikeouts in 68 innings of work ... Was a three-time, SoCon Pitcher of the Week - WCU's only weekly award winner ... Ranked second on the team with two saves ... Was named preseason All-SoCon as a reliever.
Sophomore Brandon Giles - Led the men's basketball team in scoring this season (15.3 ppg), ranking fourth in the Southern Conference ... Named All-Southern Conference by league coaches and named second team All-SoCon by the SoCon Sports Media Association.
Chevon Keith - Named Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year ... SCSMA All-Conference First Team ... All-Southern Conference by the league's head coaches ... Averaged 8.1 points and a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game ... NCCSIA First Team All-State ... Ended career with 1,035 points and 947 rebounds becoming just the second Lady Cat to score over 1,000 points and pull down over 900 rebounds.
Ashley Pellom - Named to the Southern Conference All-Tournament Second Team ... Twice named Southern Conference Player of the Week ... Averaged 9.7 points and 2.97 assists per game ... Minnesota Subway Classic All-Tournament Team ... Named to the NIKE/WBCA So You Want to Be a Coach Program.
Kelly Sikes - Was an inspirational leader for the Catamount Cheerleading family and was named squad MVP for her work this season.
Men's Cross Country:
Sophomore Stephen Hammond - Led the men's cross country team in four events on the season ... Finished a team-best 12th in the WCU Invitational in Cullowhee ... Ran 39th to lead the squad at the Blue Ridge Open ... Just missed garnering All-Southern Conference accolades with a 12th-place finish to lead the Catamounts at the SoCon Championship ... Led WCU at the NCAA Southeast Regional, finishing 85th.
Women's Cross Country, co-Women's Indoor Track & Field:
Kerrie Savery - First team All-Southern Conference by virtue of her top 10 finish at the 2007 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships in Cullowhee ... Helped WCU's women sweep both the Indoor and Outdoor track & field championships ... Was a four-time SoCon Champion during the 2008 Indoor Championship in the Mile run, 800m, Distance Medley Relay and 4x400m relay, garnering All-SoCon accolades ... Won the 800m and 1,500m runs at the SoCon Outdoor championships ... Was a three-time Academic All-Southern Conference selection, garnering the honor in the fall, winter and spring seasons.
Senior Eddie Cohen - Set a WCU record for receiving yards in a single-season using six-straight 100-yard plus receiving games to break the 29-year old receiving yardage benchmark held by former Catamount standout, Gerald Harp (1977-80) ... He became just the ninth WCU receiver all-time to breach the 1,000-yard mark by finishing with 1,208 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to surpass Harp's previous benchmark of 1,145 by 63 yards ... His season also ranked as the sixth-best season in SoCon history as he finished ranked second in the conference and fifth in the nation in receiving yards per game (109.82) and fourth in the conference and 17th overall in receptions per game after averaging 6.09 catches per game ... Along the way during his record-setting season, Cohen became just the fourth different Catamount to ever eclipse the 200-yard receiving barrier, posting the third-best single-game performance in the purple and gold with 212 yards at Georgia Southern to set a Paulson Stadium record. He also tied for the second-most catches in a game with 12 against Elon Dubbed first-team All-Southern Conference by both the league's head coaches and the voting media ... Named second team All-American by both the AP and The Sports Network.
Senior Matt Cook - Led the Catamounts in nine of the 12 tournaments this year, including capturing the 2008 Southern Conference Men's Golf individual championship ... Rallied from 21st place after the opening round to shoot eight-under over the final two rounds at the SoCon Championship to win the conference title ... Named All-Southern Conference for the fourth-time during his career becoming the first-ever Catamount to garner the honors each year ... Was twice tabbed SoCon Men's Golfer of the Month in both September and April.
Desiree Karlsson - Led Western Carolina in eight of the 10 seasonal events this season ... Named to the Women's Golf All-Southern Conference Team ... Moved to first-place on WCU's all-time career stroke average this season, posting the fourth-lowest seasonal scoring average all-time (75.69).
Arlan Whittle - Started all 20 matches in which she appeared ... One of only three players on the team to start all 20 matches on the season ... Scored a goal in the 2-1 win over UNC Asheville ... Amassed a team-high 1,825 minutes of playing time for the year, averaging over 91 minutes played per game, including every minute of the three overtime games for the team ... Was a key part of the Catamount defense that allowed an average of less than one goal per game during the year ... 2007 Southern Conference Fall Academic All-Conference Team member.
Jamie Swank - Started all 55 games ... Voted Southern Conference First Team All-Conference at the utility position ... Led the team with a .327 batting average, which ranks fifth for batting average in a season ... Her 56 hits not only led the team but tied her for fifth in Catamount record books for hits in a season ... Broke the school record for triples in a season and a career (3) ... Had 15 multiple hit performances ... Led the team with a 14-game hitting streak before it was snapped at the Southern Conference Tournament.
Men's Indoor Track & Field:
Junior Manteo Mitchell - Named SoCon Runner of the Week twice this year including once during the Indoor season and once during outdoor ... Was a three-time individual champion during the indoor championship, taking top honors in the 200m, 400m and as a part of the 4x400m ... Was WCU's only four-time champion during the 2008 outdoor championships, again claiming the 200m and 400m as well as the 4x100m and 4x400m relay ... Was additionally named All-SoCon in the 100m, finishing second ... Advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Regional and Championships 4x100-meter relay and the 400-meter dash, finishing 21st.
Co-Women's Indoor Track & Field, Women's Outdoor Track & Field:
Raquel Ramseur - Helped WCU's women sweep both the indoor and outdoor SoCon Track & Field Championships ... Won the 200m and 400m dash events during the SoCon Indoor Track & Field Championships, while also running on the first-place 4x400m relay team ... Earned SoCon Women's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week on April 10 ... Won the 200m and 400m dash events at the SoCon outdoor championship, while also running on both of the first-place 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads ... Named Women's Track Most Outstanding Performer for the meet ... Earned All-Southern Conference accolades in each of the above events ... Was also named an Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar by Diverse.
Men's Outdoor Track & Field:
Sophomore Matt Evans - Set a school benchmark in the men's high jump event on four separate occasions this season ... Named All-Southern Conference after winning the men's High Jump competition ... Qualified for the East Regional and advanced to the Nationals in the High Jump, finishing 20th at the NCAA Championships ... Named SoCon Men's Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Month for May ... Named All-Southern Conference at the Indoor SoCon Championship in the High Jump ... Named to both the 2007-08 SoCon Winter and 2008 Spring Academic All-Conference Teams.
Amanda Massey - Went 8-12 on the season in doubles and 6-9 at No. 3 singles ... Also competed in women's track & field.
Meredith Harmon - Went over 1,000 kills in her career this season ... Led the team with a 2.99 kills per game average and amassed 107 blocks on the year ... Named to the UNC Asheville Bulldog Classic All-tournament team as Western claimed the title ... Also named to the Catamount Clash IV All-tournament team.