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Big 12 Names 2016 Spring Scholar-Athlete of the Year Recipients
June 09, 2016

The Big 12 Conference has announced its spring sport Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2016 season. The following student-athletes have been selected as the award winners for their respective sports based on a vote of each sport’s head coaching group.

2016 Big 12 Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Tyler Floyd, Texas Tech, Sr., Stephenville, Texas/McLennan CC
Floyd is one of the few baseball student-athletes in the country to already have his degree in hand entering his senior season on the diamond. Floyd, an Academic All-Big 12 first team honoree in 2015 and 2016, was recognized this past December as the highest-ranking graduate in the exercise sports science program as part of commencement ceremonies. One of the top leaders on the Red Raider roster, Floyd was the only baseball student-athlete on the 2015 and 2016 Academic All-Big 12 teams to be nominated with a perfect 4.00 grade point average. He is currently working on his master’s degree at Texas Tech.

2016 Big 12 Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Jordan Niebrugge, Oklahoma State, Sr., Mequon, Wis./Homestead
Niebrugge, an entrepreneurship major with a 3.64 grade point average, competed in all of the Cowboys’ competitions this season, posting two top five finishes including in the NCAA Stillwater Regional. He closed out his Cowboy career with a 17th-place showing at the NCAA Championship. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection.

2016 Big 12 Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Laura Lonardi, Baylor, Sr., Verona, Italy/Liceo Scientifico Fracastoro
Lonardi is now a two-time recipient of the Big 12 Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor after claiming the award in 2015. The senior was nominated with a 3.96 grade point average in mathematics and statistics. She participated in all of the Lady Bears’ competition this season finishing in the top 25 in nine of the 11 events. Lonardi is also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree.

2016 Big 12 Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Marissa Beene, Oklahoma, Sr., Tempe, Ariz./Tempe Preparatory Academy
Beene, a computer science major, graduated in May with a 4.0 GPA. She has also taken part in an accelerated master’s program in which she has clocked 18 credit hours toward a master’s degree in robotics and machine learning at OU. Beene, who will spend much of her summer in Mountain View, Calif., interning for Google, is a three-time CRCA Scholar Athlete, a 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team member, and a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection. The Tempe, Ariz., native was the stroke seat for the Oklahoma 2V8 that took second at the 2016 Big 12 Championship and consistently stroked the OU first or second varsity eight during her senior season. She is also a recipient of one of the Big 12’s 2015-16 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship.

2016 Big 12 Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Aly Cappaert, Iowa State, Sr., Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny
Cappaert was nominated with a 4.00 grade point average as an education major. The Cyclone utility player appeared in all 53 games for Iowa State this season posting a .351 batting average. She has earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team recognition the past three seasons.

2016 Big 12 Men’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Lucas Gerch, Oklahoma State, Jr., Berlin, Germany
Gerch is an industrial engineering and management major with a 3.64 grade point average. The junior helped lead the 2016 Cowboys to an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 and a final team ranking of No. 13 in the nation. This season, he collected his second straight Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection after earning Academic All-Big 12 Rookie honors in 2014.

2016 Big 12 Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Blair Shankle, Baylor, Jr., Dallas, Texas/Parish Episcopal School
Shankle posted a 16-6 overall mark in singles action this season, including an 8-2 record at the No. 1 position and a 6-1 record in conference play. The junior carries a 3.98 grade point average in accounting.

2016 Big 12 Men’s Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Sam Watts, TCU, Sr., London, England
Watts owns a 3.21 grade point average in health and fitness studies. The senior qualified for the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 200 meter dash and 4x100 relay. He placed second in both events at this year’s Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championship. Watts is a seven-time All-American and has earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors each of the past two years, along with USTFCCCA All-Academic Team recognition in 2015 and 2014.

2016 Big 12 Women’s Track & Field Scholar-Athletes of the Year:
Danielle Winters, Kansas State, Sr., Plainville, Kan./Plainville
Nominated with a 3.92 grade point average in communication studies, Winters won the 2016 Indoor National Championship in shot put with a school record throw of 17.97m/58-11.50. She also won the outdoor Big 12 Conference title in the event in May with a throw of 17.39m/57-00.75.

Kelly Williams, West Virginia, Sr., Chesterland, Ohio/West Geauga
A distance runner for West Virginia, Williams sports a 4.00 grade point average in journalism studies. She has earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors three consecutive years and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team in 2015.

The Big 12 Conference established its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012-13. A recipient is named in each of the Conference’s sponsored sports. Each Big 12 institution nominates one individual per sport with the winners selected by a vote of the league’s head coaches for that sport.

Scholar-Athlete of the Year nomination criteria includes:
• must be a junior or senior (athletic and academic standing)
• cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher
• participation in at least 60 percent of the team’s scheduled contests
• minimum of one year in residence at the institution

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