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Arkansas? SEC postgraduate nominees announced

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas? SEC postgraduate nominees announced

FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas student-athletes Luke Laird, Michelle Stout, Chris Nott and Britni Williams have been nominated for a pair of Southeastern Conference post-graduate scholarships. For their accomplishments in the classroom, Laird and Stout have been nominated for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship. In recognition of their commitment to service in Northwest Arkansas, Nott and Williams have been nominated for the Brad Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship. A male and female student-athlete from the SEC are awarded both scholarships annually.

"We are proud that the Southeastern Conference has recognized four outstanding Razorback student-athletes for their accomplishments in the classroom and in the community," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "Luke and Michelle represent our more than 460 student-athletes who are working and succeeding in the classroom on the track towards their college degree. Chris and Britni are great examples of the commitment Razorback student-athletes have to service, including volunteering for more than 2,500 hours annually to make a difference in our community, our state and around the world. Congratulations to all of our nominees for these prestigious SEC awards."

The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship has been presented by the SEC since 1986 to the league’s top male and female scholar-athletes.

The SEC Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship was named for former Associate Commissioner Brad Davis, who succumbed to cancer on March 2, 2006. He had been a member of the SEC staff since 1988, first serving as an assistant commissioner until 1994 when he was promoted to associate commissioner.

The SEC will name the 2010 recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship on April 6 in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day. The Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship winners will be announced on April 5.

Laird, a member of the Razorback men’s track and field team, is a two-time selection of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team and is scheduled to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture in May 2011. A three-year letterwinner for Arkansas, Laird was the 2008 SEC champion and USA Junior champion in the javelin. He was also a first-team All-SEC selection, all-region honoree and national qualifier during his breakthrough season.

The Gardner, Kan., native is chairman of Arkansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee community service efforts. Among a variety of outreach programs, Laird volunteered for Lift Up America-distribution to local food pantries-and Book Hogs-reading to local elementary school children. He also participated in SEC’s "Together We Can" food drive and Adopt-a-Street project in Fayetteville. He is the son of Scott and Tammy Laird.

Stout, a member of the Razorback gymnastics team, is a six-time member of the University of Arkansas Honor Roll, a department Academic Champion and was a National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women’s Scholar-Athlete in 2007. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing management in May 2010 and is on track to complete her Master’s of Education in May 2011. Stout is a four-time All-American for the Razorbacks on vault (twice), uneven bars and in all-around.

A native of Endwell, N.Y. she is a member of Arkansas’ SAAC, was the vice president of the group in 2010 and participated in an NCAA Leadership Conference. In addition to her achievements in competition, Stout volunteered for the SEC’s "Together We Can" food drive, Reading with the Razorbacks, Razorback Relief: Operation Haiti and Lift-Up America. She is the daughter of Tom Stout and Linda VanPatten.

Nott, a member of the Razorback men’s tennis team, is a four-year starter and serves as team captain this season as a senior. He is scheduled to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in international business in December 2011. Nott has participated in Arkansas’ service programs like Book Hogs, Lift Up America and Sweat Hawgs-working with elementary students in PE classes. He also held a USTA clinic for kids and taught tennis at David Johnson II Memorial Kids Tennis Day.

The Chorley, England, native has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll for his efforts in the classroom. As a junior on the court, Nott was a second-team All-SEC performer with a season-high singles ranking of No. 49 and a season-high doubles ranking of No. 26. He is the son of Derek and Lorraine Nott and his younger brother Michael is a freshman on Arkansas’ tennis team.

Williams, a goalkeeper for the Razorback soccer team, is an Athletic Director’s List performer, member of the Razorback Honor Roll and is scheduled to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and criminal justice in May 2011. A team representative on Arkansas’ SAAC, she was active in the Book Hogs, Sweat Hawgs and Lift Up America programs. Williams also volunteered at Razorback Relief: Operation Haiti, SEC’s "Together We Can" food drive and numerous youth clinics.

The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native was a four-year starter for the Razorbacks and held team captain duties during her senior season in 2010. Williams is Arkansas’ all-time leader with 27 career shutouts, 30 career victories and third in program history with 357 saves. She is the daughter of Robert and Deborah Williams.

Each year, the SEC, in conjunction with AT&T, an SEC Corporate Champion sponsor, provides the league’s male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship recipients with a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship. The Davis Award recipients each receive a $6,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by the SEC. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $3,000 post-graduate scholarship.

The award recipients are chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 12 SEC institutions and are honored at the SEC Spring Meetings in Sandestin, Fla. on June 3.

Last year’s McWhorter Award recipients were Auburn swimmer Jordan Anderson and Tennessee track & field athlete Phoebe Wright. The Davis Award recipients were Georgia track & field athlete John Egan and Auburn gymnast Kissy Voss.



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