Graham, Lokedi named best of the best at seventh annual Rock Chalk Choice Awards
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s basketball’s Devonte’ Graham and KU women’s cross country and track & field athlete Sharon Lokedi were named the 2017-18 Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively, at the seventh annual Rock Chalk Choice Awards on Sunday evening. Lokedi also took home honors with the Moment of the Year Award, voted on by the attendees of the Academy Awards-like event, for her national championship title-winning and record-breaking 10,000-meter run at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“I could not be more proud, humble and thankful to have received these award tonight,” Lokedi said. “I want to encourage everyone to keep working hard and keep breaking boundaries because that’s what we as Jayhawks do! I am so appreciative for KU Athletics and KU Leads for recognizing us for all the hard work we are doing and continuing to do.”
Lokedi not only won the national championship in the 10,000 meters last athletic year while simultaneously breaking a 30-year-old meet record, but she also earned four All-America honors and won a total of five Big 12 Championships. Her Female Athlete of the Year nod marks the second-straight year Lokedi won the award and the third year running the award was taken home by a track & field athlete as Daina Levy won the honor in 2016.
Graham, who was a consensus First Team All-American and was named to the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional All-Tournament team after helping guide the Jayhawks to the Final Four in 2018, was the third-straight men’s basketball player to win Male Athlete of the Year at the Rock Chalk Choice Awards, following Perry Ellis (2016) and Frank Mason III (2017).
Following a red carpet entrance and reception event, the show began with the presentation of the Jayhawker Award, presented in honor of the pioneers who held true to their values through hardship while founding the state of Kansas. This year’s recipient was men’s basketball’s Udoka Azubuike.
Academic accomplishments were recognized after the presentation of the night’s first award, including senior scholar athletes, the Robert E. Frederick Senior Scholar Athletes of the Year, Big 12’s Dr. Gerald Lage Award, members of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and the Best overall Team GPA, the latter of which went to the women’s swimming & diving team. The year’s Del Shankel teaching Excellence Award was given to Dr. Bernie Kish from the Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences department.
Hannah Driscoll, who was a member of the swimming & diving and women’s track & field team last year, was named the Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, which is presented to the athlete who best demonstrates extraordinary sportsmanship, support and loyalty to teammates and Kansas Athletics.
The Crimson Climb Award, which honors a student-athlete who overcame challenges and exceeded academic expectations to serve as an inspiration to others, went to football’s Willie McCaleb.
The student-athlete that best demonstrates an ability to excel in academics and athletics, while advancing the mission of Kansas Athletics on campus and in the community, is given the True Blue Award. This year’s winner was women’s track & field’s Laura Taylor.
The final awards of the night were the Female and Male Athlete of the Year awards, followed by the top moment from the 2017-18 athletic year. Joining Lokedi’s record-breaking run as nominees were men’s track & field’s Hussain Al Hizam’s indoor national championship in the pole vault, tennis duo of Anastasia Rychagova and Nina Khmelnitckaia’s win at the NCAA doubles championships despite facing adversity with an injury, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s 3-pointer that helped lift the men’s basketball team over Duke and into the Final Four.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.