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April 21, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – – South Carolina women’s golf standout Whitney Simons was recognized as the Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, it was announced today. A sophomore from Aiken, S.C. (Aiken HS), Simons has appeared on South Carolina’s President’s List (perfect 4.0 grade-point average) every semester she has been enrolled in school. Simons triple majors in international business, marketing and finance and is a Spanish minor. Making her GPA more impressive is the fact that the international business school at South Carolina is the top-ranked school in the nation. Simons is the first Gamecock ever to earn SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.

“This is a very pleasant surprise for me because I didn’t even know I was up for the award, much less win it,” Simons said. “There are several other golfers around the SEC who are very good students, so to be recognized like this is a great honor. I work very hard in the classroom and it’s nice to be recognized by the outside world.”

On the course, Simons is ranked as a top-100 player nationally. She is currently ranked 95th in the nation in the latest Golfweek rankings and her 75.74 stroke average heading into the NCAA Regionals gives her the lowest stroke average of any player on the South Carolina roster. Simons tied for 16th at the 2006 SEC Championship and has posted two top-10 finishes and five top-20 finishes in 2005-06, highlighted by a team-best sixth-place finish at the Chrysler Challenge, where her 75-71-79=225 led the Gamecocks to the tournament championship.

“Whitney’s diligence and discipline in everything she does is so apparent, and there is nobody who deserves this award more and nobody who will be more proud to earn this distinction than Whitney,” Head Coach Kristi Coggins said. “This is a great accomplishment for her and this is one of many awards that will come her way as her career goes on.”

Academic honors are nothing new to Simons, as she was named to the National Golf Coaches Association’s All-Scholar team in 2005 and will likely earn the same recognition when the team is named this year. Likewise, academic honors have poured in for the entire Carolina team recently, highlighted by the fact that the Gamecocks were recognized as the NGCA All-Scholar Team of the Year in 2005.

Simons and the Gamecocks return to action on the course when they compete in the NCAA Regional Championship from May 11-13.