PHOEINX, Ariz. – Grand Canyon University and Brigham Young University Hawaii split the six 2011-12 Pacific West Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year awards for women.
The PacWest announced the honors on Saturday, Aug. 25, following a vote by the conference’s sports information directors. The SIDs at each institution had the opportunity to nominate up to two student-athletes for each sport.
The six winners now will be placed on the 2011-12 PacWest Women’s Scholar Athlete of the Year ballot that will be voted upon by the league’s SIDs and announced by the PacWest on Aug. 28.
BYU-Hawaii freshman women’s basketball player Taylor Mann (Castle Dale, UT/Emery), senior cross country runner Lacey Johnson Krout (Preston, ID/Preston) and junior tennis player I-Hsuan (Annie) Hwang (Tainan City, Taiwan) claimed three Scholar Athlete of the Year honors for the Seasiders.
Grand Canyon junior setter Kristen Preach (Phoenix, AZ/Xavier Prep), junior midfielder/forward Marina Nesic (Koceljeva, Serbia) and freshman SS Kelsey Barak (Fontana, CA/Etiwanda) earned the PacWest Scholar Athlete of the Year honors in the sports of volleyball, soccer and softball, respectively.
Nesic posted a 3.45 grade point average in addition to her stellar contributions on the field. She was named PacWest Player of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2011, garnered 2011 Daktronics Division II All-West Region Women’s Soccer Team honors, and finished the season ranked 30th in the nation in points per game (1.73), 37th in goals per game (0.67) and 51st in assists per game (0.4).
In the PacWest, Nesic completed the 2011 campaign ranked second in points per game, third in goals per contest, and tied for third in assists per game. She also tied for fourth in goals scored (10) and assists recorded (6), and finished fourth in total points (26).
Barak not only had an outstanding season at the plate, but she produced a 3.88 grade point average while majoring in physical therapy to earn the top academic honor for softball players in the PacWest.
In 2012, Barak was selected the PacWest Player and Freshman of the Year after being among the conference leaders in multiple categories.
She ranked fourth in batting (.408), first in RBI (54) and hits (73), seventh in slugging percentage (.670), fourth in on-base percentage (.474) and second in total bases (120). She also tied for second in triples (6), sixth in home runs (8), 13th in doubles (11), third in runs (43), and fifth in walks (22).
During the 2012 campaign, Barak produced 22 multi-hit games, including nine three-hit contests, and reeled off 16 multi-RBI games that featured eight three-RBI contests and one game where she drove in four runs. She also posted a 13-game hitting streak.
Barak was named an NCAA Division II Daktronics Honorable Mention All-American and to the Daktronics First Team All-West Region. She also earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association Second Team All-West Region accolades.
Preach, who will be in graduate school at GCU while competing in her senior year of eligibility, owns a 4.00 GPA and a degree in communications.
In 2011, Preach hit .323 and averaged 9.20 assists per set that led to an All-PacWest First Team Volleyball selection. She was the 2009 Freshman of the Year, a 2010 All-PacWest Honorable Mention, and currently is ranked fourth among career assist leaders (2,760) at Grand Canyon.
The PacWest Freshman of the Year in the sport of women’s basketball, Mann posted a 3.81 GPA in the classroom while averaging 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for the Seasiders. She actually set a school record for blocks in a game and blocks in a season in 2011-12.
Krout completed her career at BYU-Hawaii with a 3.99 GPA in the classroom and four All-PacWest First Team honors on the cross country course. She finished second at the 2011 PacWest Women’s Cross Country Championship, earned a trio of PacWest Runner of the Week honors, and claimed the PacWest Freshman of the Year honor in 2008 and the Runner of the Year award in 2009.
Hwang earned First Team All-American honors in both singles and doubles competition en route to becoming the top Division II women’s tennis player in the nation.
The 2012 PacWest Player of the Year and 2012 PacWest Championship Tournament MVP, Hwang finished the year with a 3.76 GPA and a 17-0 first singles record. She also posted a 21-0 mark at first doubles.