SHC Student-Athlete Award Winners Announced
The Spring Hill College Department of Athletics has announced the winners of its nine highest student-athlete awards for the 2013-2014 academic year with Brian Sims of Mobile and Taryn Nash from Independence, Mo., winning the Senior Athletes of the Year awards in recognition of their outstanding four-year careers. Taylor Eads of Slidell, La., was named the Male Athlete of the Year for his performance on the baseball diamond this season while Nash and softball pitcher Caroline Sagrera (shown in photo) from Baton Rouge, La., shared the Female Athletes of the Year honor.
Senior Athletes of the Year:
Sims, a second baseman who appeared in 208 games with 207 starts in his four-year career, he collected 250 total hits with 15 doubles and five triples for a career batting average of .342. He drove in 85 runs and scored 129 times while stealing 44 bases. In the field, Sims made 439 put outs with a school-record 514 assists and turned 128 double plays. He was a two-time Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Gold Glove winner and a member of the 2013 Rawlings-NAIA Gold Glove team. Sims was a 2nd team member of 2013 All-SSAC team and a member of the 2011 SSAC All-Freshman team.
Taryn Nash was a three-time Tachikara-NAIA All-America Honorable Mention selection, a four-time member of the SSAC All-Conference and All-Tournament teams as well as being a three-time SSAC Setter of the Year. In 2010, she was the SSAC Freshman of the Year and the SHC representative on the SSAC Volleyball Champions of Character Team. Nash holds the SHC record for career assists with 5,455 in 511 sets played. She has also scored 322 kills, with 126 aces, 159 blocks and 1,151 digs.
Athletes of the Year:
Eads, an outfielder who hit for a .423 average on the year, led the SSAC with 13 home runs while collecting 51 RBI en route to a 1st team All-Conference selection. He added 11 doubles and two triples to his totals to go along with 45 runs scored and three stolen bases. In the field, Eads made 93 putouts from all three outfield positions in 50 starts.
Sagrera, a sophomore starting pitcher, earned her second 1st team NAIA All-America selection this year while striking out an NAIA-leading 435 batters in 339.0 innings pitched. She built a 38-11 record with a 1.01 ERA in 49 starts and limited opposing batters to a .153 batting average. In the field, Sagrera made 17 putouts with 50 assists and turned one double play.
Nash, the 2013 SSAC Setter of the Year and a Tachikara-NAIA All-America Honorable Mention selection, started in 138 of 142 Badger sets played this season while handing out 1,550 assists with 101 kills, 329 digs and 41 total blocks.
Heart of the Badger Awards:
The Heart of the Badger awards went to senior volleyball player Meredith Donald of Mobile and junior soccer player Nick Smith of Huntsville, Ala. The newest SHC award, the Heart of the Badger Award is presented to the male and female student-athletes who best exemplified the spirit of SHC athletics through dedication, tenacity and team spirit.
Donald earned the 2013 SSAC Libero of the Year Award and membership on the 1st team All-Conference roster. She appeared in 508 sets in her career with 2047 digs and 2241 receptions, 84 assists, 55 aces, 27 kills and one blocked shot. Donald was on the SSAC All-Conference 2nd team in 2012, the SSAC All-West Division team in 2011 and the SSAC All-Freshman Team in 2010. She was also the 2013 Badger representative on the SSAC Volleyball Champions of Character Team.
Smith has appeared in 55 matches in three seasons at his midfield position with four goals scored and three assists. He is a two-time member of the SSAC Champions of Character Team following the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Scholar Athlete of the Year:
Nash, an International Studies major, earned the SHC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year Award as the junior or senior student-athlete with the highest cumulative career GPA. She was a two-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete and the 2013 Capital One College Division Academic All-America Player of the Year in volleyball as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Champions of Character:
The 2013 Champion of Character awards went to junior softball shortstop Shea Blanchard of Breaux Bridge, La., and sophomore cross country/track athlete Jordan Travis of Poplarville, Miss.
A junior from Breaux Bridge, La., Blanchard is the chairwoman for SHC chapter of Delta Delta Delta sorority and plans events to strengthen her sisterhood. She also organizes events to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and is an active member of the SHAPe community for servant leadership on the Spring Hill College campus. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and L'Arche, a local Mobile organization that assists adults with disabilities. Blanchard also coaches a summer youth softball team in her hometown.
On the field, Blanchard exemplified the term “unselfish player” by moving from her normal position of shortstop to right field during the Badgers’ run to a 2013 NAIA National Runner-Up finish. Blanchard is a two-time member of the Musco Lighting-SSAC Champions of Character Team and an SSAC All-Academic Team member in 2013. She has started all 168 games of her three-year collegiate career while hitting .293 with 14 homeruns and 78 RBIs.
Travis volunteers with the Youth Express Track Club in Poplarville where he mentors young athletes and works with the program’s meets. He also is a volunteer firefighter in his home town. On campus, he has spearheaded a volunteer project called “Christmas Cards for Prisoners” during the holiday season. His community service includes yard work and other odd jobs for his church while assisting the elderly in his home community with various projects.
On the race course, Travis was a member of the 2012 SSAC Cross Country All-Conference & All-Freshmen teams and was the SHC representative on 2013 Musco Lighting-SSAC Champions of Character Team. He holds five of the Top 30 men’s 5,000-meter times in the SHC men’s cross country record book including the second best time in the school’s history at 26:47.73. Travis was the first male SHC sprinter to qualify for NAIA National Track & Field Outdoor Championships in two-year history of program with a 1:52.78 800-meter time at FSU Twilight Invitational and finished 16th of 34 runners at the NAIA National Meet in a time of 1:53.42.