Big South Announces Scholar-Athletes of the Year

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Coastal Carolina University women’s track & field athlete Felicitas Mensing and Chanticleers’ men’s basketball player Jack Leasure have been voted the 2007-08 Big South Conference Female and Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, respectively, it was announced today by the League office.  The Scholar-Athlete of the Year is voted on by the Big South Sports Information Directors from a pool of each sport’s Scholar-Athlete winner.

Mensing, a native of Neuhausen, Germany, is the first Coastal Carolina female athlete to win the award since Kara Koppel in 2003, and is the school’s ninth female winner in the award’s history.

An ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-American, Mensing graduated from Coastal Carolina in three years with a perfect 4.0 with a degree in applied mathematics.  She was the 2007-08 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field, just the third athlete in Conference history to accomplish that feat.  She also received the Big South’s prestigious George A. Christenberry Award, which is awarded to the men’s and women’s graduating athletes that have the highest grade point average.  Mensing also was the recipient of the Bob McCloskey Insurance Big South Conference Graduate Fellowship this year, which will go towards her graduate studies at the University of Minnesota next year.  Athletically, she placed third at the New Balance Big South Conference Cross Country Championships, earning All-Big South honors, registered the team’s top time in the indoor mile, running a race-winning time of 5:02.38 at the Dick Taylor UNC Relays, and won the outdoor 5,000 meters at the Raleigh Relays and then won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at both the New Balance Big South Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the Duke Asics Invitational.  A two-time Conference champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Mensing holds both Coastal Carolina’s and the Big South’s record in the event, having ran 10:24.24 her freshman season.  In addition, she was a three-time All-Conference selection in cross country and finished in the top 40 at NCAA Regionals as a freshman and sophomore.

Leasure, a native of Rochester, N.Y., is just the second men’s basketball player to receive the award in League history, joining Radford’s Corey Reed in 1998.  Leasure is the second consecutive Coastal Carolina male athlete to receive the honor and fifth overall.

An ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American in 2008, Leasure set the Big South all-time career record for three-pointers made this past season with 411.  He led Coastal Carolina and was fourth in the Big South with 16.8 points per game, as well as leading the League and ranking eighth nationally at 3.96 three-pointers a game.  He also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 37.3 minutes.  The eighth player in NCAA Division I history to post 400 three-pointers in a career, Leasure graduates fifth all-time in three-pointers made, and also ranks sixth in Big South scoring history (second at Coastal) with 1,893 points.  He set a Coastal Carolina record in career minutes played and ranks in the top 10 in career assists, steals, games played and games started.  During his career, Leasure started 111 consecutive games for the Chanticleers, and was a three-time Big South Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year -- the first player in League history to accomplish that feat.  Leasure also was named to the Dean’s List five times and President’s List four times, and received a $7,500 Postgraduate Scholarship from the NCAA this spring.  He was named a Second-Team Academic All-American in 2007 and is only the second men’s basketball player in Big South history to receive the Academic All-America honor twice.  On the court, Leasure was the 2006 Big South Player of the Year and 2005 Big South Freshman of the Year, in addition to earning Second-Team All-Conference honors in 2007.  He graduated this spring with a 3.85 grade-point average in history.

Mensing finished with 33 points in the voting, ahead of Winthrop softball player Lisa Kingsmore (27 points).  High Point women’s soccer player Alex Torriero finished third with 19 points.  On the men’s side, Leasure finished first in the voting with 39 points, followed by High Point track athlete Tamas Kovacs (23 points), and Liberty track standout Clendon Henderson and Radford baseball player Alex Gregory with 17 points each.  The voting results appear below, with first-place votes in parentheses:

Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.....Points
Felicitas Mensing, Coastal Carolina (4).............33
Lisa Kingsmore, Winthrop (2)..........................27
Alex Torriero, High Point.................................19
Allyson Fasnacht, Liberty (1)............................16
Pohai Nu’uhiwa, Winthrop (1)..........................13
Patricia Coimbra, Winthrop..............................10
Ann Marie Dalton, High Point.............................2

Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year............Points
Jack Leasure, Coastal Carolina (7).....................39
 Tamas Kovacs, High Point................................23
Clendon Henderson, Liberty (1).........................17
Alex Gregory, Radford.......................................17
Kevin Van Den Berg, Coastal Carolina...............15
Nick Ellis, Charleston Southern............................7
Pete Alminas, Winthrop.......................................1
Arthur Takahaski, Winthrop.................................1