FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas men’s tennis player Blake Strode has been named one of three male finalists for the NCAA’s Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, the NCAA has announced. The Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarships were established in 1988 and are named in honor of former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. The awards encourage academic achievement of student-athletes.
"We are extremely proud that Blake Strode has been chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship,” Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Blake has achieved success in every aspect of his career as a student-athlete in the classroom, on the tennis court and in the community. He represents the very best in intercollegiate athletics and within the Razorback program.”
Recipients of the award must have a 3.5 grade-point average (4.0 scale), demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development. Two finalists, a male and a female, will be selected in April as recipients of the 2009 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarships. Each Byers Scholar will receive a $24,000 scholarship.
The other 2009 male finalists are Tim Masthay, Kentucky football, and Craig Sheedy, Arizona swimming and diving.
A recipient of the prestigious Bodenhamer Fellowship, Strode is double majoring in international economics and Spanish and boasts a cumulative GPA of 3.972. Earlier this season, Strode was named a finalist for the H. Boyd McWhorter Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Strode has also earned a pair of ESPN The Magazine all-district honors, was the 2008 SEC Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year and is a constant on the Arkansas Athletics Department and SEC Academic honor rolls.
After graduating in May, Strode will continue to pursue tennis before heading off to law school. He has already been accepted to law programs at Duke, NYU, Georgetown and Harvard.
As hardworking on the court as he is in the classroom, Strode is a two-time All-SEC honoree and earned the 2008 Central Region ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
Ranked in the top 100 singles players in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association since his freshman year, Strode reached the highest ranking of his career at No. 13 this season and is currently ranked No. 18 in the country. This season, Strode is 22-11 overall, giving him 93 career wins, tied for the sixth-most singles victories in Arkansas history.
On Saturday, Strode and the Hogs travel to Baton Rouge, La., to take on the LSU Tigers at noon. For more information and for complete coverage of Razorback men’s tennis, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.