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2018 Spring Scholar-Athletes of the Year Announced
June 08, 2018

Irving, Texas - The Big 12 Conference has announced its 2018 Spring Scholar-Athletes of the Year. The following student-athletes have been selected as award winners for their respective sports based on the votes of each sport’s respective head coaches.

2018 Big 12 Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Jake Irvin, Oklahoma, Jr., Bloomington, Minn.

  • Human resources management major with a 3.83 grade-point average and 25 percent participation (starting pitcher).
  • Is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first team honoree and 2018 All-Big 12 First Team selection.
  • Finished with a 6-2 record and 3.41 ERA in 16 starts, while earning All-America Second Team honors from Collegiate Baseball.

2018 Big 12 Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Fredrik Nilehn, Texas Tech, Sr., Goteborg, Sweden

  • Finance major with a 3.74 grade-point average and 100 percent participation.
  • Selected as 2018 Big 12 Golfer of the Year and recorded a school-record scoring average of 70.13.
  • Ranked eighth nationally in the Golfweek National Rankings.

2018 Big 12 Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Ariadna Fonseca Diaz, Kansas, Jr., Caracas, Venezuela

  • Accounting major with a 3.97 grade-point average and 100 percent participation.
  • Garnered Academic All-Big 12 First Team accolades in 2017 and 2018.
  • Shot one-under in the final round of the 2018 Big 12 Championship, pacing the Jayhawks.

2018 Big 12 Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Nicole Lane, Alabama, Sr., Johns Creek, Ga.

  • Food and nutrition major with a 4.0 grade-point average and 100 percent participation.
  • Guided the Crimson Tide to two 4+ victories during the 2018 season.
  • Named 2018 Collegiate Rowing Association (CRCA) All-Conference and Scholar-Athlete.

2018 Big 12 Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Vanessa Shippy, Oklahoma State, Sr., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

  • Finance and marketing major with a 3.895 grade-point average and 100 percent participation.
  • Tabbed the Big 12 Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year for a second-consecutive year. Additionally, a three-time Google Cloud Academic All-American.
  • Selected as the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2016 and 2018. Also, a three-time All-American selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

2018 Big 12 Men’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Alex Rybakov, TCU, Jr., Coral Springs, Fla.

  • Communication studies major with a 3.377 grade-point average and 100 percent participation.
  • Part of a Horned Frogs squad that reached the Round of 16 for the fourth straight season, won their third straight Big 12 regular-season title and finished in the top-10 of the final Oracle/ITA team poll for the fourth consecutive year.
  • A singles and doubles All-American who finished at No. 25 in the Oracle/ITA singles poll and No. 8 with Guillermo Nuñez in the Oracle/ITA doubles poll. 

2018 Big 12 Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Lily Miyazaki, Oklahoma, Sr., Tokyo, Japan

  • Management of information technology major with a 4.0 grade-point average and 96 percent participation.
  • Garnered Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for a second consecutive season.
  • The three-time All-Big 12 Singles First Team selection finished her OU career tied for third in career wins with a 96-35 record.

2018 Co-Big 12 Men’s Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Hussain Al Hizam, Kansas, Jr., Jubail, Saudi Arabia

  • Finance major with a 3.33 grade-point average and 85 percent participation.
  • Garnered Google Cloud Academic All-District honors.
  • Won the pole vault at the 2018 Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championship with a meet-record clearance of 18’ 5.5” (5.63m).  Also, the 2018 NCAA National Indoor Champion and Big 12 Indoor Champion in the pole vault

2018 Co-Big 12 Men’s Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Brett Neelly, Kansas State, Jr., Gallatin, Tenn.

  • Majoring in mechanical engineering with a 3.77 grade-point average and 65 percent participation.
  • Placed second in the shot put and fourth in the discus at the 2018 Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championship.
  • His shot put throw of 64’ 3.25” (19.59m) at the Texas Tech Corky/Crofoot Shootout was the 14th-best performance in the NCAA this season.

2018 Big 12 Women’s Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Amy Cashin, West Virginia, R-Sr., Werribee, Australia

  • Counseling major with a 4.00 grade-point average and 85 percent participation.
  • Two-time Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year after earning the award in 2017.
  • Placed second at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:00.04.

The Big 12 Conference established its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012-13. A recipient is named in each conference-sponsored sport. Every Big 12 institution and affiliate members nominate one individual per sport with the winners selected by a vote of the league head coaches for that sport, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. Scholar-Athlete of the Year nominees must be a junior or senior (academic standing), have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher, participate in at least 20 percent of the team’s scheduled contests and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.

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