Dixon, Robinson Take Top Individual Honors at Rock Chalk Choice Awards
LAWRENCE, Kan. – NBA Lottery Pick Thomas Robinson and OlympicGold Medalist Diamond Dixon claimed top individual honors as Male and Female Athletes of the Year and the volleyball team earned the Top Team GPA and CHAMPS Awards as Kansas Athletics celebrated its best student-athlete performances of the 2011-12 school year at the Rock Chalk Choice Awards Sunday night.
The Jayhawks’ top student-athlete performers last season shared a number of titles including Big 12 Champion and All-American, and both helped their respective teams to runner-up finishes on the national stage. Robinson (basketball) and Dixon’s (track and field) awards capped an hour long, Academy-Awards-like celebration of Kansas student-athletes at the Lied Center of Kansas Sunday. Kansas volleyball claimed back-to-back honors in the CHAMPS competition and posted the highest team GPA.
In addition to Robinson and Dixon, four other Jayhawks received individual awards. Angel Goodrich (basketball) claimed the Jayhawker Award, Leah Diaber (softball) was named the Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, Anthony Davis (football) earned the Crimson Climb Award, and Andrea Geubelle (track and field) was presented with the True Blue Award.
Robinson helped lead Kansas to 32-7 record on the season, advancing to the school’s 14th Final Four where it finished runner-up, won its school-record, eighth-straight and 12th Big 12 regular-season championship and finished the year No. 2 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Robinson, the Big 12 Player of the Year and consensus All-American declared for the NBA Draft and was selected fifth-overall by the Sacramento Kings. The Washington, D.C., native was the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double with 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game and set a Kansas single-season record and led the nation with 27 double-doubles.
Dixon capped an incredible year with one of the highest honors an athlete can achieve, an Olympic Gold Medal. Dixon earned her way on to the women’s 4×400-relay team where she ran the second fastest split (50.15) on her team in preliminaries before her teammates captured gold in London the next day. She was KU’s first track and field gold medalist since Al Oerter won the discus in the 1968 Mexico City Games. Dixon earned a spot on the Olympic 4×400-meter relay team after placing fifth in the 400 meters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials with a personal best and school record time of 50.88. She is the two-time defending Big 12 Champion in the outdoor 400 meters and won the national title in the 400 to help the Jayhawk women to their highest finish ever when they ended the 2012 Indoor Track and Field Championships in second place.
Goodrich’s Jayhawker Award was presented in honor of the pioneers who held true to their values through devastation and hardship while founding the state of Kansas. Goodrich, a senior from Talequah, Okla., demonstrated mental toughness in the face of adversity and competition while fighting past a pair of knee injuries in her time at KU. She lead the nation in assists per game last season, was a Lieberman Award finalist and help the Jayhawks reach the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
Diaber, a native of St. Louis, was awarded Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, a testament of her commitment to her softball teammate despite limited time on the field in four years at KU. Diaber was a four-year letterwinner who has provided leadership for the pitching staff, mentoring a young staff who has started a resurgence of the program. Diaber also posted a 4.0 GPA in the spring to cap her career.
The Crimson Climb Award, presented to a student-athlete who has overcome academic challenges and has made consistent academic progress, was presented to Anthony Davis (football). The Tulsa, Okla., product played in all 12 games for Kansas as a senior defensive back in 2011 while maintaining a positive attitude and commitment to family despite academic challenges.
Guebelle, who was also a finalist for Female Athlete of the Year, was awarded the True Blue Award, 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. In addition to being active off the field of play, the University Place, Wash., product was champion in both the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor triple jump events, and claimed her eighth All-American honor as a Jayhawk and her third-straight All-American distinction in the outdoor triple jump when she placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Guebelle competed for Kansas at the US Olympic Trials and won the gold medal in triple jump at the NACAC U23 Championships.
Kansas volleyball walked away as the most decorated team, earning the highest point total based on participation in personal development, community outreach, team GPA, Jayhawks Supporting Jayhawks, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Jayrock, in earning the CHAMPS crown.
Sunday’s audience participated in a text poll to select men’s basketball’s win over Missouri in Allen Fieldhouse as the Rock Chalk Moment of the Year, earning a loud ovation from the crowd. All attendees experienced a pre-show red carpet, complete with photo opportunities and interviews. After a reception in the Lied Center Lobby, the awards show started with a special opening number highlighting the athletic accomplishments of the previous year.
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