CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - The Big South Conference today announced that Liberty's Jeremy Anderson (men's basketball), Gardner-Webb's Carrie Long (women's track & field), Liberty's Panashe Nhekairo (men's soccer), Presbyterian College's Meghan Skinner (women's soccer) and Coastal Carolina's Katie White (women's basketball) have been awarded the Conference's prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence. All five student-athletes will graduate next month with 4.00 grade-point averages in their respective fields of study.
Anderson is a 4.00 student in kinesiology, Long is a 4.00 student in biology, Nhekairo is a 4.00 student in government, Skinner is a 4.00 student in biology and White is a 4.00 student in accounting. The Conference will formally present the awards on June 2 in Hilton Head, S.C., as part of the League's Spring Meetings and Hall of Fame Dinner.
Big South member institutions nominate one male and one female student-athlete - regardless if the sport is sponsored by the Big South - for the annual Christenberry Award. The award is given to the male and female student-athlete who attain the highest GPA during their college careers and are graduates of a member institution during the past year. In case of ties, additional awards are provided. The honor is named for George A. Christenberry, the former President of Augusta College (now Augusta State University) and one of the founders of the Big South Conference. A member of the Big South Hall of Fame, Christenberry served as the League's first President from 1983-86. It is the eighth time in the last nine years that more than two student-athletes have been honored.
"The Christenberry Award is the highest academic honor awarded to Big South student-athletes," said Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. "We congratulate Jeremy, Carrie, Panashe, Meghan and Katie for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the field of play. Their careers truly exemplify the highest ideals of the Big South Conference."
Anderson (Bowling Green, Ky.) is a two-time Big South Men's Basketball All-Academic Team member and has been named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll four times in his career. This past season he played through injuries and still ranked third on the squad with 22 three-point field goals in 26 appearances. In 2009-10, Anderson played in all 31 games with 13 starts, and led Liberty with 53 three-point field goals. He scored a three-pointer in 26 games and finished the season 20-of-23 from the free throw line. Anderson netted a season-high 17 points at Gardner-Webb on Feb. 13, 2010. He received a medical redshirt for the 2008-09 season after having preseason surgery on his foot. As a true freshman in 2007-08, Anderson missed the first nine games with an injury, but was able to end the campaign with 6.8 points per game and 46-of-117 from three-point range to earn a spot on the Big South's All-Freshman Team. He scored a career-high 20 points and six three-pointers at VMI on Jan. 28, 2008, en route to earning Conference Freshman of the Week honors. For his career, Anderson has appeared in 80 games and has drained 121 of his 133 career field goals from beyond the arc.
Long (Franklin, N.C.) re-set her own Gardner-Webb record in the women's outdoor pole vault in 2010-11, as she cleared the bar at 3.75 meters to finish first at the Terrier Relays - which was the top mark in the Conference this season. She also picked up a first-place finish at the 49er Classic with a height of 3.50 meters. Voted the Big South 2010-11 Women's Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year for both the indoor and outdoor seasons, as well as being a three-time All-Academic Team selection, Long earned All-Conference honors at the 2011 Big South Indoor Track Championships with her second-place finish in the pole vault (3.60 meters). During the indoor season, she finished in the top five in the pole vault in three different meets and earned Big South Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors on Jan. 20. As a junior in 2009-10, Long was an All-Conference performer in the outdoor pole vault, and she also won the event at Charlotte 49er Classic. In addition, she took second-place at the inaugural Carolinas Cup, and claimed All-Big South honors at the 2010 Indoor Conference Championship. Long, who was redshirted during the 2008-09 outdoor season, recorded a season-best height of 3.65 meters in the indoor pole vault at the Appalachian Invitational in 2009, and also took second at the Liberty Open. She also earned Big South Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors Jan. 15, 2009. Long's collegiate career also includes a 10th-place finish at the 2008 NCAA East Region in the outdoor pole vault after clearing 3.65 meters.
Nhekairo (Smyrna, Ga.) has been a Big South Presidential Honor Roll honoree his first three years at Liberty. The reserve goalkeeper played in just six games during his four-year collegiate career, but was 2-1 with a 0.53 goals against average in 338:22 minutes in net for the Flames. This past season Nhekairo played two games, including a shutout victory in his lone start of the season against Southern Virginia on Oct. 22. He appeared in three contests his junior season with two starts - both coming in the Big South Men's Soccer Championship. Nhekairo posted a 1-1 record with an 0.84 GAA in 213:30 minutes in 2009, and allowed two goals while making six saves on the year. His victory was a shutout win in his first collegiate start, a 2-0 blanking over Radford in the Big South Men's Soccer Semifinals on Nov. 14. Nhekairo did not see action his sophomore campaign, but helped the Flames win the 2007 Big South Men's Soccer title as a freshman. That season, he did not allow goal in 15:54 minutes of action.
Skinner (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) appeared in 28 matches during her four-year career with the Blue Hose, including a career-high 11 appearances in 2010. She was voted the team's Most Improved Player as a sophomore in 2008, won the Coach's Award as a junior in 2009, and was honored with the Spirit of PC's Women Soccer Award her senior season - given to the player that most embodies the ideals of the team. Off the field, Skinner has been involved with the Tri Beta Honor Society (biology), Sigma Kappa Alpha Honor Society (academic honor society for certain percentage of the class), and the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society (leadership). She received the Freshman Academic Award for her 4.0 GPA her freshman year, and was awarded the J. Phillip Olmert Scholarship, which is bestowed upon a promising student in the field of medicine. Skinner also received the Alex B. Stump Outstanding Senior award in biology, which is presented by the Presbyterian College Biology Department.
White (St. Charles, Ill.) is Coastal Carolina's all-time leading shot blocker with 209, which ranks sixth in Big South Conference history. She finished the 2010-11 campaign ranked 26th in the NCAA with 2.3 blocker per game, and her school-record 67 blocked shots this past season was third-most in the League. She blocked a single-game school-record eight shots against Campbell on Nov. 23, and eventually broke Coastal's 28-year old career block record on Jan. 29 with seven rejections against Radford. White started 26 of 28 games in 2010-11 and averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds her senior season. She also tallied career-highs with 121 total points, 25 assists and 24 steals on the season. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, she was the Big South Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2010-11 and has been named to the President's List each semester at Coastal Carolina. White was recently honored by the Coastal Carolina Department of Athletics as the only Chanticleer senior in the class of 2011 to amass a perfect 4.0 GPA through her first seven semesters of coursework. She is a member of the Beta Alpha Psi and Beta Alpha Sigma international honor societies and intends to pursue her MBA in accounting. White averaged 3.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.97 blocked shots in 106 career games with the Chanticleers, which included 66 starts.
White is Coastal Carolina's 15th recipient of the Big South's Christenberry Award, the most in League history. Gardner-Webb has an honoree for the second consecutive year, while Liberty now has 12 Christenberry Award winners. Skinner is Presbyterian College's first Christenberry Award winner since joining the Big South Conference in 2008.
Below are the 2010-11 Big South Conference Christenberry Award candidates, as nominated by their institutions:
||Male Nominee (Sport)
||Female Nominee (Sport)
||Jacques Bazile (football)
||Staci Ulichnie (soccer)
||Dorian Sovic (tennis)
||Katie White (basketball)
||Michael R. Roka (swimming)
||Carrie Long (track & field)
||Adam Hatem (soccer)
||Mackenzie Maier (basketball)
||Jeremy Anderson (basketball)
||Courtney Boggs (volleyball)
||Panashe Nhekairo (soccer)
||Walt Allen (basketball)
||Meghan Skinner (soccer)
||Benjamin Fuentes (soccer)
||Kathleen Jarvis (soccer)
||Jake Sides (soccer)
||Dana Lauren Sroka (soccer)
||Adam Kruithof (baseball)
||Angela Redmond (soccer)
||Thomas Facinoli (track & field)
||Carly Moss (track & field/cross country)