The Big 12 Conference has announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014-15 winter sport 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.
2015 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Perry Ellis, Kansas, Jr., Wichita, Kan./Wichita Heights
Ellis is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 member in addition to a 2012-13 Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team honoree. The Jayhawk junior led Kansas in points (13.8) and rebounds (6.9) and was the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top seven in both categories, earning All-Big 12 First Team recognition in 2014-15. Ellis maintains a 3.25 grade point average, majoring in Sport Management.
2015 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Averee Fields, West Virginia, Sr., Murray, Ky./Calloway County
Fields adds to her collection of academic honors as the Murray, Kentucky native has also received the Haier Student-Athlete Achievement Award and Big 12 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award. Fields was also named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team and is a Capital One Academic All-District 2 First Team selection. The three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree led WVU to a spot in the WNIT Championship game this season, ranking in the top 10 in the league in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and steals. She sports a 3.94 grade point average while pursuing a degree in social work.
2015 Big 12 Equestrian Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Katelyn Gray, TCU, Sr., Penrose, Colo./Florence
Gray is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, while also earning Academic First Team honors from the National Equestrian Association on three occasions (2013-15). A nursing major, the senior maintains a 3.83 grade point average. She was also named to the NCEA Honorable Mention All-America Team this season.
2015 Big 12 Gymnastics Scholar-Athletes of the Year:
Caitlin Brown, Iowa State, Sr., Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley
Brown has qualified as an All-Around competitor at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year. She has made the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll all four years of her career and is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. The 2015 Big 12 uneven bars champion holds a 3.7 grade point average while pursuing a degree in marketing.
Jaida Lawrence, West Virginia, Jr., Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill
Lawrence sports a 3.66 grade point average as a speech pathology and audiology major at West Virginia. She has earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors both her sophomore and junior seasons and was named to the 2012-13 Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team. Lawrence led WVU to a second-place finish at this year’s Big 12 Gymnastics Championship and helped the Mountaineers earn their second-best score at an NCAA Regional Championship with their showing at the Morgantown Regional this season.
2015 Big 12 Men’s Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
David Palley, West Virginia, Sr., Walnut Creek, Calif./Acalenes
Palley is a 2015 recipient of the Big 12 Dr. Gerald Lage Award as the senior swimmer sports a 4.00 grade point average majoring in civil engineering at WVU. He was also named the 2015 WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior.
2015 Big 12 Women’s Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Haily VandePoel, West Virginia, Sr., Holland, Mich./West Ottawa
VandePoel has earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors for three straight seasons and is a 2015 Dr. Gerald Lage Award recipient, the Big 12’s highest academic honor. Pursuing a degree in exercise physiology, she owns a 4.00 grade point average. VandePoel finished in the top five in two diving events at this year’s Big 12 Championship and also competed in the NCAA Zone A Championships.
2015 Big 12 Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year:
Kyven Gadson, Iowa State, Sr., Waterloo, Iowa/Waterloo East
Gadson is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member earning the selection for the last two seasons. An education major with a 3.11 grade point average, the Cyclone is a 2015 National Champion and also the Chair of the 2014-15 Big 12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The Big 12 Conference established the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012-13. A Scholar-Athlete of the Year 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