Athletes Honored at 2009 SFA Champions Dinner
May 6, 2009
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - With a little more than a week remaining in the 2008-09 academic year, the Stephen F. Austin athletics department honored its athletes at the annual Champions Dinner in the Pattillo Center Grand Ballroom.
Along with the individual honors that were handed out, SFA also honored its two Southland Conference team champions. The SFA men's basketball team capped the best season in school history by going 24-8, winning the Southland Conference regular-season and tournament title and advancing to the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. The SFA women's track and field team dominated the SLC Indoor Track and Field Championships scoring 158 points to win the team's third indoor title. It marks the 12th time head coach Phil Olson's career that his troops have brought home a conference title, and the fourth time in his career that the Ladyjacks have won either the SLC indoor or outdoor crown.
The banquet was highlighted by the Ralph Todd and June Irwin Athletes of the Year awards, which honor the schools most outstanding male and female athletes. Senior center Matt Kingsley received the Ralph Todd Award after guiding the Lumberjack basketball team to their second consecutive SLC title and a trip to the NCAA Championships. Kingsley earned conference player of the year honors, and was named 2009 AP honorable mention All-America after finishing fifth in the league in scoring and rebounding. Marshall was named the June Irwin Athlete of the Year after turning in one of the most impressive seasons in school history. She repeated as SLC Indoor Outstanding Field Athlete after winning the weight throw, and finishing second in the shot put. Marshall advanced to the NCAA Championships where she earned All-America honors by finish third overall in the weight throw.
Senior forward Josh Alexander was the recipient of the 2009 Dick Wright Award, which is given annually to the athlete who exhibits desire, determination and dedication. Alexander has been a key figure in helping take the Lumberjack basketball program to the next level in the last four seasons. The 2008 AP honorable mention All-America, and SLC Player of the Year selection has been a key figure in the 'Jacks' run to consecutive league titles. The three-time all-conference selection led SFA in scoring and rebounding in three of his four seasons on campus.
Senior pitcher Erich Lehmann was named the Bob Shelton Award winner, and will go down in the history books as one of the school's all-time great pitchers. An award that is given to a senior male athlete that has completed his eligibility and has achieved academic success at SFA, Lehmann has set the standard for future pitchers at SFA. The former Freshman All-American will leave as the school's all-time leader in starts, wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and walks per nine innings.
Senior center fielder Zach Gardner was awarded the 2009 Steve McCarty Award. Gardner has been a mainstay in the 'Jacks' starting lineup each of the past four seasons helping revitalize the program. A proud promoter of the SFA purple and white, Gardner will leave SFA as the school's all-time leader in hits, stolen bases, runs scored, games played and started and is only three doubles shy of becoming the school's all-time leader in that category.
Senior outside hitter Shelly Swendig was named the 2009 Kathy McGough Academic Athlete of the Year. The true definition of a student-athlete, Swendig has been a success on the court, as well as the classroom over the course of her career. A preseason All-SLC selection in 2008, Swendig wrapped up her career earning ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District second-team honors, as well as first-team Academic All-SLC recognition.
2009 Champions Dinner Wednesday, May 6, 2009 Award Winners