BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- LSU student-athletes Stephanie Hill and Rudy Niswanger have been selected to receive Southeastern Conference post-graduate scholarships and are finalists for the 2005-2006 H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, it was announced by Commissioner Mike Slive on Tuesday.
Each finalist will receive a $5,000 scholarship for post-graduate studies. The SEC Faculty Athletics Representatives Boyd McWhorter Selection Committee will choose the outstanding male and female student-athlete and each will receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.
The SEC will name the 2006 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award winners on Thurs., April 6, in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day. The award has been presented by the SEC annually since 1986 to the league's top male and female scholar-athletes. In 1990, the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award was named in honor of H. Boyd McWhorter, the former SEC commissioner who served from 1972-86.
Hill, a senior from Harahan, has a 3.85 grade point average with a double major in political science and finance. Last season, she was named a first-team Academic All-American as voted by the College Sports Information Directors of America after earning first-team Academic All-District honors in 2004.
After walking on to the team in her second year at LSU, Hill was selected a team captain for the 2006 season. A three-year starter at first base for the Tigers, she earned third-team Easton All-America honors while also being named to the SEC All-Tournament team last season. In 2004, she helped lead LSU to the 2004 Women's College World Series and a third place finish in the nation, coming just seven outs away from the program's first appearance in the national championship game.
A two-time All-Louisiana selection, she broke the LSU consecutive games hitting streak as a sophomore with a successful hit in 15 consecutive games. In addition, she recorded the second-most home runs in a single season in 2004. Currently, Hill ranks in the top 10 in four career offensive categories. She is third in all-time home runs with 25, seventh in RBIs with 116, ninth in doubles with 30 and 10th in hits with 173.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated southeast Louisiana last fall, Hill volunteered in the shelter on campus, providing aide to many of the evacuees from the New Orleans area near her hometown of Harahan, a suburb of the crescent city. In addition, she provided shelter for most of her immediate family and some of her extended family, who were displaced after the storm and forced to evacuate the New Orleans area.
Niswanger, a senior from Monroe, graduated summa cum laude from LSU with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in May 2005 with a degree in kinesiology and has been accepted to the LSU Medical School. A two-time first-team Academic All-American, he was a 2005 team captain and started 11 of the Tigers' 12 games last season at center after anchoring the LSU offensive line for three seasons.
The 2005 recipient of the Draddy Trophy, known as the "Academic" Heisman, and the Wuerffel Trophy, Niswanger helped guide the Tigers to the 2003 National Championship and the 2005 SEC Championship game. Among his many community service activities include the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Campus Crusade for Christ and the LSU player outreach program. In addition, Niswanger was among many student-athletes who volunteered at on-campus shelters for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita last fall.
National Student-Athlete Day was created in 1987 by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and presented by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
National Student-Athlete Day is held each April 6 to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. It is also a time to recognize those parents, teachers, coaches and school systems which make it possible for young people to find the balance between academics and athletics.
The award will be presented to the two winners on June 1 at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla.
ALABAMA Beth Mallory Track and Field Ashland, Ohio
ARKANSAS Dana McQuillan Gymnastics West Orange, N.J.
AUBURN Angela Homan Track and Field Spencerville, Ohio
FLORIDA Sarah Lowe Basketball Wynnewood, Penn.
GEORGIA Lauren Burks Track and Field Cottage Grove, Minn.
KENTUCKY Vicki Goss Rifle Palmyra, Penn.
LSU Stephanie Hill Softball Harahan, La.
OLE MISS Hillary Beckman Soccer Anchorage, Ky.
MISSISSIPPI STATE Callye Williams Softball Katy, Texas
SOUTH CAROLINA Tracey Richardson Swimming and Diving Essex, England
TENNESSEE Betsy Brockman Swimming and Diving Batavia, Ohio
VANDERBILT Erica Grimaldi Basketball Kansas City, Mo.
ALABAMA DeMeco Ryans Football Bessemer, Ala.
ARKANSAS Eric Brown Track and Field Baldwin City, Kan.
AUBURN Douglas Van Wie Swimming and Diving Charlotte, N.C.
FLORIDA Darren O'Day Baseball Jacksonville, Fla.
GEORGIA Ryan Schnetzer Football Newnan, Ga.
KENTUCKY Taylor Begley Football Danville, Ky.
LSU Rudy Niswanger Football Monroe, La.
OLE MISS Sidney McLaurin Football Brandon, Miss.
MISSISSIPPI STATE Jose Pinto Tennis Sao Paulo, Brazil
SOUTH CAROLINA Tom Eklund Tennis Hollviken, Sweden
TENNESSEE Matthew Lapp Cross Country Coatesville, Penn.
VANDERBILT Tyler Harlan Cross Country Fayetteville, Ark.