Oklahoma's Bryce Perry and Samaje Perine have been honored as 2016-17 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced. Perry completed her career as a member of the cross country and track & field teams while Perine was a junior on the football squad.
The Sportsperson of the Year Awards began in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. The winners are selected by a media panel.
Both of this year's honorees exhibited an impactful act of sportsmanship with Perry assisting another Conference student-athlete during the Big 12 Cross Country Championship while Perine gave up an opportunity to score in a rivalry game after the outcome was already determined.
After a year and a half of battling injuries and illness, Perry was able to resume training with her team two weeks before her final Big 12 Cross Country Championship. Coach Kevin Ondrasek asked Perry if she would like to run in the Big 12 meet, her fourth and final one, despite just two weeks of training.
Not long after the race started, her lack of training began to affect her but her approach was to finish what she had started. Perry was running next to TCU's Emily Suarez, who collapsed to the ground with approximately a mile to go, clearly exhausted. With some encouragement and physical assistance from Perry, Suarez got to her feet and began running again. Perry continued to encourage and assist Suarez for the remainder of the race, disregarding her own finish time. The two student-athletes crossed the finish line together.
Perry was also a key participant in the team's community service activities, including regular trips to elementary schools. She joined a special outreach program last fall as several team members went to Full Circle Adult Day Care to interact with the participants in the program.
The Sanger, Texas, native has also excelled in the classroom. She was a three-time member of both the Big 12 Cross Country and Track & Field All-Academic First Team. As a freshman, Perry was named to the Big 12 All-Academic Rookie Team. Additionally, she was named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll seven teams, to the Dean's List once and is an eight-time Sooner Scholar.
With his mature appearance and demeanor, Perine was looked to as a leader throughout his three years in the Sooners' backfield. He remained humble and put the team's interests first despite accumulating many individual records and honors. In his final home appearance, Perine had an opportunity to score his second touchdown of the day against Oklahoma State as he had a clear path to the end zone with less than a minute to go on a running play that started at the 11-yard line. Instead, he stopped and took a knee at the two-yard line with the Sooners running out the clock on the next play to capture their 10th Big 12 title.
Perine's leadership is demonstrated through his actions on and off the field. He served as social media chair for OU's SAAC in 2015-16 in addition to representing the football team on the committee. He was also active with the SAAC community service efforts. He volunteered with the Oklahoma City Food Bank and joined with others from the Sooner team to rebuild an elementary school playground that had been destroyed by a tornado in Moore, Okla. He is frequently requested for speaking engagements with appearances at Life Church, the Victory Family Church and through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The Pflugerville, Texas, native was a key volunteer with Special Spectators in all three seasons of his career as well. He volunteered with the Central Texas Food Bank in the summer of 2016 while home on break and completed 60 hours within two weeks. Perine also traveled on the Sooners for Haiti trip in the summer of 2015 and made promotional appearances at a benefit night for the Stephenson Cancer Center. He received the Athletic Director's Leadership award for 2016-17.
Perine was a CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team selection in 2016, a two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team and named to the Big 12 All-Academic Rookie Team. He was also named to the Dean's Honor Roll twice and to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll on six occasions. Perine was a six-time Sooner Scholar and earned the 2015 Jay Myers' Award.