Nominees for Four Rock Chalk Choice Awards Announced

Aug. 29, 2012

Rock Chalk Choice AwardsLAWRENCE, Kan. – The Big 12 leader in softball batting average, the NCAA Indoor Triple Jump National Champion, the national leader in assists per game in women’s college basketball and a starter on KU’s Final Four team are among the nominees for four awards to be presented at the Rock Chalk Choice Awards on Sept. 9 at the Lied Center of Kansas.

Maggie Hull, Andrea Geubelle, Angel Goodrich and Travis Releford are among 20 nominees for the Jayhawker, Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, The Crimson Climb Award and the True Blue Award as announced by the Kansas Athletics Student-Athlete Development Office Wednesday. The winners will be announced, along with a male and female athlete of the year and a Rock Chalk Moment of the Year, at the Academy Awards-like celebration next month. Due to space limitations at the Lied Center the event is by invitation only and limited to athletic department staff, student-athletes, KU faculty and selected dignitaries.

Hull, Geubelle, Goodrich, Releford and men’s track and field hurdler Michael Stigler have been nominated by coaches and their peers for the Jayhawker Award, presented in honor of the pioneers who held true to their values through devastation and hardship while founding the state of Kansas. The nominees of this award have exhibited a commitment to Kansas principles and demonstrate mental toughness in the face of adversity and competition while making a positive contribution to Kansas Athletics.

Hull, a senior from Lawrence, led the Big 12 Conference with a school-record .409 batting average in the spring while cruising to All-Big 12 First Team, NFCA All-Region First Team honors and she posted a perfect 4.0 GPA. Goodrich, from Talequah, Okla., was a Nancy Lieberman Award finalist after leading the nation in assists per game and running the point for a Jayhawks team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. A junior from University Place, Wash., Geubelle won the title in the triple jump at the 2012 NCAA Indoor National Championships while also laying claim to the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor triple jump crowns. Releford, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., averaged 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds while helping KU advance to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Stigler, from Canyon, Texas, was named the Big 12’s Freshman Track Athlete of the Year after winning the Big 12 Championship in the 400 hurdles, and running a school-record 49.45 in the event.

Leah Diaber (softball), Kat Liebetrau (soccer), Justin Protacio (baseball), Rebecca Swank (swimming and diving) and Audrey Yowell (women’s golf) were nominated for The Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role Award, presented to a student-athlete who demonstrates extraordinary sportsmanship, support and loyalty to teammates and Kansas Athletics.

A native of St. Louis, Diaber lettered for four years at KU while providing leadership for the Jayhawk Softball pitching staff and posted a 4.0 GPA in the spring to cap her career. Liebetrau, a senior goalkeeper from Centennial, Colo., was the starter at the beginning of the 2011 season but split time and was helpful in the development of fellow keeper Kaitlyn Stroud. A sophomore from Pearl City, Hawaii, Protacio started just five games in the spring but was one of the most vocal players on the Jayhawks’ bench and worked to help the team every day while maintaining a positive attitude. Swank, a Wichita, Kan. native who enters her senior campaign, was named the team’s newcomer of the year as a freshman and will be looked upon to lead as a team captain this season. Yowell, a senior from McPherson, Kan., claimed the 90th Kansas Women’s Amateur Championship earlier this summer and has exemplified what it means to be a student-athlete and teammate during her time at KU.

The Crimson Climb Award is presented to a student-athlete who has overcome academic challenges and has made consistent academic progress. This year’s nominees include football’s Anthony Davis, softball’s Alex Jones, Liebetrau, men’s basketball’s Ben McLemore and football’s Corrigan Powell.

Davis, from Tulsa, Okla., played in all 12 games for Kansas as a senior defensive back while maintaining a positive attitude and commitment to family despite academic challenges. Jones, a junior from Enid, Oklahoma, was a two-year starter before tearing her ACL in fall of 2011 and used the opportunity to mentor then-sophomore Elsa Moyer and freshman Cassen Salamone, her replacements in centerfield. Jones, who posted a 4.0 GPA in the spring, has made a full recovery and was named a captain for the 2013 season. Liebetrau posted her second-consecutive shutout in goal for KU over the weekend and is in the top-five on KU’s all-time charts for saves and wins. McLemore arrived on campus last fall as a highly regarded hoops prospect from St. Louis but had to wait to join the Jayhawks – and then only in a limited roll – while working on academic obligations in the fall. Powell, a senior from Garland, Texas, had a hot start to his career with nine starts as a true freshman but saw limited opportunities during the next three seasons. He figures to be in the mix in the Jayhawks’ defensive backfield as the nickel back and was named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in the spring.

The True Blue Award is given to a student-athlete who demonstrates devotion to excellence in academics and athletics while advancing Kansas Athletics through participation in various student organizations and community service projects. This year’s nominees include Geubelle, Chris Gilbert (men’s golf), Allison Mayfield (volleyball), Paige Stephens (rowing) and Rebecca Stowe (track and field).

A senior from Simi Valley, Calif., Gilbert has led the men’s golf team in scoring average each of the last two seasons and posted four top-five finishes during the 2011-12 season. Mayfield, an Overland Park, Kan., broke KU’s single-season kills record (462 in 2011) and led the Big 12 with 4.16 kills/set in addition to helping her team to seven-straight AVCA Team Academic Awards to close her career. A three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, Mayfield helped Kansas to a conference-record-tying 10 members on the All-Big 12 team in 2011. A Colby, Kan. native, Stephens was a three-year member of the First Varsity Eight and claimed the Rowing team’s Senior Academic Achievement Award. A three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team Member, she helped guide the Varsity Four to a Grand Finals win at the 2012 Conference USA Championships. Stowe, from Olathe, Kan., was the Big 12 champion in the steeplechase and an All-Big 12 selection in cross country last year. She was named a KU woman of distinction for 2011-12 and earned the Marlene Mawson Female Athlete of the Year award from Kansas Athletics.

Nominees for the Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards, given to one male and female student-athlete who achieved at the highest level during the 2011-12 seasons, will be announced next week. The Rock Chalk Moment nominees will be unveiled during the show at the Lied Center.

Plans call for a red-carpet entrance followed by a reception before the night’s featured awards ceremony in the Auditorium. The full-scale production will feature numerous video features and highlights and theatrical opening and closing numbers.