April 24, 2006
Columbia, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Athletics Department held its 2006 All-Sports Banquet Monday evening and senior women’s golfer Erica Battle received the President’s Award, the highest award presented to a single student-athlete by the Athletics Department. Football’s Sidney Rice and Baseball’s Michael Campbell were named Co-Male Athletes of the Year, while Track and Field’s Shalonda Solomon and Diving’s Allison Brennan, were named Co-Female Athletes of the Year. Men’s Tennis standout Tom Eklund was recognized for three honors: Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the H. Boyd McWhorter post-graduate scholarship and the Inspiration Award.
The President’s Award is awarded to an individual who displays extraordinary talents in the areas of athletics, scholarship, leadership and service. Battle has exemplified all areas very strongly throughout her career. She sports a career-best 76.22 stroke average heading into the NCAA Regional Championship and ranks in the current Golfweek rankings. In addition, she has three, top-20 finishes this year. The Irmo, S.C. native will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a double major in marketing and management in the Moore School of Business, with a minor in Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management. Battle was also named to the Dean’s List or President’s List every semester of her college career. Her community service efforts include a long list of activities. Named to the SEC Good Works Team, she volunteers for the Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald House, among others. Her most notable community service effort is probably the “Golfing for God Ministry”, a youth organization she founded in the Columbia area while in college. A weekly volunteer to a local youth mentoring program, Battle is a member of CHOICES TEAM (Student-Athletes for Healthy Choices Concerning Alcohol) and of Fellowship Christian Athletes.
The Inspiration Award is presented to a USC Student-Athlete who has overcome great adversity with perseverance, dedication and determination. Eklund, a senior from Hollviken, Sweden, plays with a severe back injury that causes him constant pain. It is not damaging long term, however, Eklund continues to fight through the pain and has most likely helped lead the team to another NCAA bid this season. Eklund has also been the recipient of several academic awards and scholarships as well, including the SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship.
Rice earned Co-Athlete of the Year honors by being named the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Year after leading the team with 70 catches for 1,143 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Gaffney, S.C. native, is a consensus first-team All-SEC selection and ranked first in the SEC and fifth in the country with 103.9 receiving yards per game. In addition, he set the Carolina single-season records for receiving yards and touchdown catches, and became just the second receiver in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau in a season (Sterling Sharpe – 1,106 in 1986).
Campbell, who hails from Winchester, Va., earned Co-Athlete of the Year honors by playing 241 games and has made 220 consecutive starts. He is a 2006 All-America candidate and Baseball America has rated him the No. 3 best senior prospect in the nation and the best arm in the outfield in the SEC. He leads the team in SEC games in batting average and he ranks in eight categories for All-Time records at South Carolina. The outfielder is South Carolina’s all-time record holder with 12 triples and 22 outfield assists.
On the women’s side, Solomon was named the 2005-06 SEC Runner of the Year for the indoor season and she is the 2006 NCAA 200 meters Indoor champion. She was a sixth-place finisher in the 60 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships and had the world’s fastest time in the 200 meters during the indoor season. The Inglewood, Calif. native was named the Southeast Region Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and was the SEC Female Runner of the Week for five consecutive weeks. She currently holds the nation’s fastest times in both the 200 (11.12) and 200 (22.43) meters during the outdoor season.
Brennan is the 2006 NCAA runner-up on the 1-meter board and is the SEC Champion on both the 1- and 3-meter boards. A four-time NCAA All-American, the Huntington Beach, Calif. native was the 2004 NCAA Champion on the 1-meter board, the first ever individual national championship in USC history. She was USC’s top scorer in diving at the SEC Championships, twice (2004, 2006) and went undefeated on the 1-meter board during the regular season.
Overall, 30 awards were presented, including team MVP’s, Outstanding Community Service SEC Scholarship Winners and the Team Community Service Award.
President’s Award: Erica Battle, Women’s Golf
Inspiration Award: Tom Eklund, Men’s Tennis
Sidney Rice, Football and Michael Campbell, Baseball
Co-Female Athletes of the Year: Shalonda Solomon, Track and Field and Allison Brennan, Diving
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Tom Eklund, Men’s Tennis
Co-Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Ashley Smith, Softball and Amanda Thurber
Team Community Service Award: Equestrian
Male SEC Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship: Kris Clark, Football
Female SEC Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship: Kemesha Whitmire, Track and Field
Male H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship Recipient: Tom Eklund, Men’s Tennis
Female H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship Recipient: Tracey Richardson, Diving
Baseball: TBD at the end of season
Men’s Basketball: Tarence Kinsey
Women’s Basketball: Melanie Johnson
Equestrian: Tara Brothers
Football: Sidney Rice
Men’s Golf: TBD at the end of season
Women’s Golf: Whitney Simons
Softball: McKenna Hughes
Men’s Soccer: Greg Reece
Women’s Soccer: Amanda Thurber
Men’s Swimming and Diving: Kyle Cormier
Women’s Swimming and Diving: Allison Brennan
Men’s Tennis: Jaime Cuellar
Women’s Tennis: Gira Schofield
Men’s Indoor T&F: Greig Cryer
Women’s Indoor T&F: Shalonda Solomon
Cross Country: Rebecca Chain
Volleyball: Shonda Cole