Star Staff Reports
MARTIN — The yearly University of Tennessee at Martin student-athlete awards were unveiled at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center last month at the UTMy’s presented by Leaders Credit Union.
Jodie Duncan (softball) was named the 2018 Bettye Giles Female Athlete of the Year while Hunter Richardson (golf) was voted as the 2018 Bob Carroll Male Athlete of the Year recipient. Joe Martin (rifle) earned the 2018 Sportsmanship Award while Joe Este (football) picked up the 2018 Inspiration Award.
Duncan, a Munford High School graduate, was leading the Skyhawk Softball squad in batting average (.306), on-base percentage (.372) and hits (41) while starting all 44 games in 2018 at the time of the award ceremony. The senior third baseman out of Munford was an All-OVC first team selection and an OVC All-Tournament honoree last season, as she currently ranks in the program’s top-10 in times hit by pitch (18, sixth) and RBI’s (101, 10th). She is a three-time OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient and also won the OVC Medal of Honor for a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average in 2016-17.
A senior from Clarksville, Tenn., Richardson tops the Ohio Valley Conference with a 70.4 stroke average while notching four victories in 2017-18. Earlier this month, he won the adidas OVC Golfer of the Week award for the 15th time in his career, shattering the previous OVC record. He is a three-time All-OVC performer and was the program’s first-ever OVC Golfer of the Year in 2016-17. He has won 12 career tournaments (including back-to-back OVC Championships) and has placed in the top-five in 29 of his 48 career tournaments.
Martin has been a leader of the UT Martin rifle squad for each of the last four seasons. He excelled in both the athletic and academic forums, earning All-American accolades in both capacities. The Emerado, ND native is a three-time OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient and just wrapped up a record-setting season at the NCAA Championships, where he earned an at-large berth in smallbore. Last season, he was selected as one of only six OVC Scholar-Athletes – which is considered the highest individual honor an OVC student-athlete can receive.
A senior from Kenner, La., Este started in 22 of his 23 career games in the defensive backfield at UT Martin, leading the Skyhawks in pass breakups in each of his two seasons. Off the field, he juggled life as a collegiate student-athlete while also serving as the legal guardian of his two nephews. In addition, he provided his homeless mother with a new home and life stability before graduating from UT Martin with a degree in health and human performance in December 2017.
UT Martin’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also presented awards this evening. Rifle’s Brigitte Curcio won the award for the “Best Worst Action Shot” while Amelia Campbell from tennis was named “Team Clown”. Alyssa Salazar from cheer was named “New Kid on the Block” while Alexius Thomas (soccer), Blake Williams (baseball), Jennifer Plocinik (rifle) and Myah Taylor (women’s basketball) each won the “Call of Duty” award. Grace Salmon from equestrian was tabbed as the “Helping Hand” award honoree while senior academic award recipients included Savannah Dodson (softball), Elina Geut (tennis), Alex Tamboli (rifle), Brandi Pittman (rodeo), Peyton Cain (baseball), Martin (rifle), Emylee Williams (cheer), Kenzley Wilson (rodeo), Duncan (softball) and Amelia Martin (cross country).
Skyhawk athletic director Kurt McGuffin and Leaders Credit Union also presented the top-five point leaders from the Student Rewards program with gifts. Leighton Chappell garnered the most points this season and received an iPad Pro for his first-place victory. William Graves (second place, Series 3 Apple Watch), Alisa Quayle (third place, Amazon Echo), Ryan Sams (fourth place, Fitbit Charge) and Jason Ziegler (fifth place, Amazon Echo Dot) also each received their prizes.
Star Staff Reports