Photo Courtesy: SAU Athletics (Michael Komegey)
MAGNOLIA, Ark. (SAU) - Seniors Mickey Hammer (men's cross country) and Brittany Wood (softball) received the highest distinction a student-athlete at Southern Arkansas University can garner as they were chosen as the 2012-13 recipients of the Auburn Smith Award. The two were presented with the award at the annual SAU All-Sports Banquet on Monday evening in the Grand Hall of the Reynolds Center.
The Auburn Smith Award, given annually to both a women's and men's student-athlete, is named in memory of Auburn Smith, who served as athletics director, administrator, coach and instructor at the university. Athletic ability, performance, character and scholastic achievement are all considerations by which head coaches and athletic administrators at the university selected the honorees.
Hammer, who was the individual champion and runner of the year in the Great American Conference this past fall, has also received numerous regional and state recognitions in his time at SAU. Of those, Hammer was a 2012 Arkansas Star of Tomorrow Award Finalist, a three-time All-Region Runner, a two-time All-GAC First-Team Runner, an All-GSC Second-Team Runner, and was named as the GAC Runner of the Week five times.
Academically, Hammer, an Exercise Science major, was recently named as the Outstanding Student for the College of Education at SAU. He has also twice been named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team and was twice named to the Gulf South Conference Academic Honor Roll prior to being named to the 2011-12 GAC All-Academic Team. At SAU, Hammer has made the President's List in the Fall of 2012 and has made the Dean's List four times.
Wood, a four-year starter for the Lady Mulerider softball team, has amassed 166 hits, 76 RBIs, 28 doubles, and 10 homeruns in her career as of April 22, 2013. In 2012, Wood set single-season highs in hits (53), doubles (10), triples (3), and batting average (.312).
Academically, Wood, a Physical Education, Wellness and Leisure major, has made the President's List at SAU four times and made the Dean's List three times. She has also been named to the 2011-12 GAC All-Academic Team and the 2011 GSC Academic Honor Roll In addition to the Auburn Smith award, the SAU athletics department awarded a male and female student athlete of the year and honored an outstanding athlete from each sponsored sport at SAU.
Receiving the Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards for the 2012-13 athletic year were Tyler Sykora (football) and Auburn Smith Award winner, Brittany Wood.
In order to be nominated for the Scholar Athlete Award, a player must have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA, have completed at least 56 semester hours, with at least one semester at SAU. Selection of the honorees is done by considering GPA, athletic accomplishments and citizenship.
Sykora, a recent December 2012 Cum Laude graduate with a degree in Exercise Science, has been named to the 2011-12 Great American Conference All-Academic Team, the 2010 Gulf South Conference Academic Honor Roll, the President's List at SAU in Spring 2012, and has made the Dean's List five times.
Athletically, Sykora currently holds 15 school records (single-game, single-season, and career). This past season, Sykora was named to the Don Hansen All-Super Region 3 Third-Team, the All-GAC Second-Team, and was twice named GAC Offensive Player of the Week. Seven times this past season, Sykora threw for 300+ yards, and twice threw for over 400+ yards. Sykora, who had a TD pass in all 11 games, threw multiple TDs in eight of those games.
On top of the four individual awards that were voted on by head coaches and select athletic administration, 14 other SAU student-athletes received recognition as they were selected as the outstanding athlete for their sport for this past year.
Among those receiving recognition as their sports' outstanding athlete were Duston Brown (Men's Cheerleading), Jason Dahl (Baseball), Chris Davis (Men's Basketball), Darrell Gray (Athletic Training), Mickey Hammer (Men's Cross Country), Alison Harrington (Cheerleading), Sarah Higginbotham (Softball), Amanda Levin (Women's Golf), Katherine McBride (Women's Basketball), Gavan McCauley (Men's Golf), Sara Mercado (Women's Cross Country), Curt Mosley (Men's Rodeo), Loni Pearce (Women's Rodeo), Don Unamba (Football), and Lauren Woods (Volleyball).
Dan Gregory, with KVMA/KVMZ radio served as emcee for the evening's event.