Four volleyball student-athletes were recognized for their success both on and off the court as Senior CLASS Award candidates. Katie Staiger (Baylor), Alexis Conaway (Iowa State), Kelsie Payne (Kansas) and Ebony Nwanebu (Texas) were four of 30 finalists in the nation to be honored.
Staiger, a member of Baylor’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team and eight-time Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection. The outside hitter leads the Big 12 in kills (4.71 per set) and points (5.12 per set) during conference play this season. Off the court, she has helped with numerous fundraisers and service projects for the Central Texas RCA Boys and Girls Club and serves as a Reading is Fundamental advocate.
Conaway is one of Iowa State’s top student-athletes in competition and off the court. Conaway is a previous All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, boasting one of the highest career hitting percentages in program history. Outside of volleyball, Conaway is a 4.0 GPA student in kinesiology, is an active participant in ISU’s SAAC and plays a key role in setting up and executing SAAC community service projects.
2016 Big 12 Volleyball Player of the Year Kelsie Payne owns four 20-kill performances entering Big 12 play this season and currently ranks second in the league in points (4.64) and kills (4.26) in all matches this season. Payne’s community service activities include volunteering for Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.
This season, Nwanebu averages 2.27 kills per set, 1.15 blocks per set and owns a .323 hitting clip. The Longhorn is completing her final semester in Applied Learning & Development: Youth & Community and has spent countless hours volunteering her time in the community.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in December.