May 6, 2002
Bowling Green, Ky. - The Department of Athletics at Western Kentucky University formally honored nearly 200 young men and women Monday (May 6) evening for their academic achievements at the school's annual Academic Athletic Awards Banquet, held in the Garrett Conference Center Ballroom on the Hilltop campus.
All of those student-athletes - nearly 60 percent of the approximately 350 athletes competing in a Hilltopper uniform - boast grade-point averages of 3.0 or better (cumulative and/or for the fall semester, 2001).
In addition, soccer standout Brandon Thompson (Owensboro, Ky.) and swimming star Brandi (Beckwith) Carey (Lexington, Ky.) were named the 2002 WKU Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year. The awards are given annually to the two graduating seniors with the highest cumulative grade-point averages.
Thompson posted a perfect 4.0 GPA in Electrical Engineering Technology. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Thompson, Brandon is a two-time Verizon national Academic All-American as well as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference All-Academic Team and the National Soccer Coaches Association East Regional Scholar-Athlete Team.
Carey, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brent Beckwith who is married to former Hilltopper swimmer Pete Carey, recorded a 3.94 GPA in history and government. She was an honorable mention Academic All-America pick as a senior after winning All-District IV honors in both her sophomore and junior years. She has represented Western in both the NCAA National Championships and in the U.S. Olympic Trials. A three-time selection as the National Independent Swimmer-of-the-Year, she was also selected the Sun Belt Conference Women's Swimmer-of-the-Year as a senior. A 12-time Sun Belt champ, she holds eight conference records and 10 school standards. She has been accepted by the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Carey was also honored as the University's Female Athlete-of-the-Year for her outstanding performance in the pool. Taking Male Athlete-of-the-Year laurels was men's basketball All-Sun Belt Conference guard - and the Most Outstanding Player in the SBC Tournament - Derek Robinson. A senior from Paris, Ky., Robinson also won the coveted E.A. Diddle Award after captaining the Hilltoppers to a 28-4 season.
Two Western teams were recognized as University Scholar Teams for 2001-02. Both Coach David Holmes' men's soccer team and Coach Travis Hudson's volleyball squad earned Scholar Team status for the fourth consecutive year. In fact, the volleyball team posted a superb 3.41 grade-point average, the highest team GPA on the Hill in nearly 25 years. Additionally, both of those teams were honored as Academic All-America teams for 2001-02 by each sport's national coaches organization.
And, Natalie Furry, a senior from Normal, Ill., was honored as a Verizon Academic All-American. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Furry, Natalie was a three-time selection on Verizon District IV Academic Team and was named to the national Verizon squad in 2000. A standout on the court as well, she was a three-time pick on both the All-Sun Belt Conference Team and the SBC All-Tournament Team. She holds the school record in hitting percentage and completed her career on the Hill ranked in the Top 10 in 12 Lady Topper volleyball stat lists.