BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Senior Leah Taylor, an outfielder on The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team, was named one of six Ohio Valley Conference student-athletes to receive the prestigious Scholar-Athlete Award for 2011-12.
The award is the highest individual honor that can be earned by OVC student-athletes, and is given annually to three men and three women student-athletes of junior or senior status for their accomplishments in both the classroom and athletic arena, and because of their leadership qualities.
The six winners were selected from a group of 18 finalists by a vote of OVC Faculty Athletics Representatives. Honorees must have performed athletically with distinction, earned at least a 3.25 grade point average and conducted themselves in a manner which has brought credit to the student-athlete, his or her institution, intercollegiate athletics and the OVC. The award is based on academic and athletic criteria/accomplishments achieved during the 2011-12 school year.
The 2011-12 Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete winners are: Stephanie Arnold of Eastern Illinois (volleyball), Sean Bailey of Austin Peay (tennis), Kellie Cook of Tennessee Tech (basketball), Patrick Ford of Eastern Kentucky (football), Leah Taylor of UT Martin (softball) and Hunter York of Murray State (golf).
Taylor will enter her final year with the UT Martin softball team this season. She was named OVC Player of the Year in 2012 after leading the Skyhawks to the OVC regular season and tournament championships. During the year she hit .386 with 77 hits, 61 runs scored and 34 RBI and went on to earn Easton Fastpitch All-American honors.
Along the way she set the school record for triples (10) and stolen bases (37) in a season. In the classroom Taylor has a 3.96 grade point average in marketing. She was named a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American following the 2012 season.
Taylor has been selected to the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll twice and also earned the OVC Medal of Honor twice. She is a member of the UT Martin Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). She has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Hoops for Heroes as well as participating with numerous elementary school events.
Other nominees for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Tabitha Beard of Austin Peay (golf), Nick Duff of Morehead State (baseball), Simone Hopes of Tennessee State (basketball), Brittney Kalinoski of Southeast Missouri (volleyball), Marisa Kamelgarn of Morehead State (golf), Shelby Kosmecki of Murray State (softball), Adam McLeod of Tennessee Tech (cross country), Dominic Pagliara of Eastern Illinois (football), Cameron Scitern of Tennessee State (golf), Deja Tennon of Eastern Kentucky (soccer), Dan Tobik of UT Martin (baseball) and Max Wieser of Southeast Missouri (track and field).