CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) – Charleston Southern softball player Taylor Powell and women's tennis player Nicolin Luecke were awarded the Big South's prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence as announced by the conference office on Wednesday afternoon.
Powell and Luecke are among the conference's eight recipients and are Charleston Southern's first Christenberry recipients since football alum Adam DeGraffenreid was honored in 2005-06. It is the Big South Conference's fifth consecutive year with a record total, and the seventh straight year at least four student-athletes have been honored.
The award is given to the male and female student-athlete who attain the highest GPA during their undergraduate collegiate careers.
Big South member institutions nominate one male and one female undergraduate student-athlete for the annual Christenberry Award. The honor is named for George A. Christenberry, the former President of Augusta College (now Georgia Regents University-Augusta) and one of the founders of the Big South Conference. A member of the Big South Hall of Fame, Christenberry served as the league's first President from 1983-86.
Powell (Summerville, S.C.) graduated in three years with a 4.00 GPA as a Mathematics major while minoring in Applied Physics. She received the Hunter Cup, Charleston Southern's most prestigious academic award for student-athletes, at CSU's commencement ceremony.
A member of the dean's list at Charleston Southern as well as the Big South Presidential Honor Roll, Powell roamed the Bucs' outfield for two of her three seasons on the roster (she redshirted in 2016). She has played in 95 career games with 44 starts, lining up at both corner outfield positions, as well as serving as a pinch-runner for the Bucs in key situations.
Luecke (Herne, Germany) is a two-time Big South Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year after earning honors for the second consecutive season in 2017 -- the conference's first repeat winner of the award since 2010-11. She graduated with a 4.00 GPA as a Psychology major. Luecke lined up on the top courts for both singles and doubles play for the Bucs, earning All-Conference honors in both positions this season, and concluded her career as a three-time All-Conference player in doubles and two-time honoree in singles.
She helped lead CSU to three shared/outright regular-season titles in her four years with the Bucs, including the program's second-most wins with 17 in 2017. Luecke finished with a 43-27 career record in singles play as well as 58-17 mark in doubles action.
Liberty field hockey player Serena Barr (4.00 in public health), Gardner-Webb men's swimmer Connor Bos (4.00 in economics/finance), Liberty women's track & field athlete Jessie Proehl (4.00 in zoology), Liberty women's track & field athlete Audrey Rabe (4.00 in global studies), Campbell women's cross country/track & field athlete Kelsey Rea (4.00 in biology) and Liberty football player Hunter Winstead (4.00 in politics & policy) round out this year's recipients.
The conference will formally present the awards on Thursday, June 1 at The Marriott Resort in Hilton Head, S.C., as part of the league's annual Spring Meetings and Hall of Fame Dinner.