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April 23, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Men’s basketball’s Tre Kelley earned three honors, while swimming and diving’s Kendel Fiorentino was awarded the coveted President’s Award at the annual University of South Carolina All-Sports Banquet Monday evening. Kelley was awarded Team MVP, Ernest Brooks-Male Athlete of the Year and the Gamecock Inspirational Awards. Attended by just over 450 student-athletes, coaches and administrators from all sports, more than 30 awards were handed out at the event.

The President’s Award is the highest honor a Gamecock student-athlete can receive from the Athletics Department, and is awarded to the individual who displays extraordinary talents in the areas of athletics, scholarship, leadership and service. Fiorentino is the team captain of the swim team and a SAAC representative. She is in South Carolina’s record books as one of the top all-time breaststroke, butterfly and medley relay swimmers. A sport and entertainment management major, the Lloyd Harbor, N.Y. native is graduating Suma Cum Laude, the University’s highest academic honor, and she was named Dean’s List or President’s List every semester. Fiorentino is also the 2007 winner of the SEC Outstanding Community Service Scholarship and was named to the SEC Good Works Team for her community service efforts including volunteering for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Host Mentoring program.

“I was 100 percent surprised. Out of all of these amazing student-athletes, I never expected that I would receive this honor,” said Fiorentino. “I am very fortunate to be a part of this, this is something that I will remember the rest of my life and will never forget.”

All season long, Kelley has been the epitome of inspiration, not only for the men’s basketball team, but for the entire Gamecock Athletics Department. The Inspiration Award is presented to a USC Student-Athlete who has overcome great adversity with perseverance, dedication and determination. Also named Team MVP and Male Athlete of the Year, Kelley played his last 17 games of the 2007 season with a torn meniscus. The injury never proved to be a setback for the team captain as he earned First team All-SEC honors, was the Frances Pomrey Naismith Award winner and was a finalist for the Chip Hilton Award and was on the Bob Cousy Award watch list.

“I am most proud of the Inspiration Award. When you go out and play, it’s not really to inspire, but after a season like I had – so many people called and said they were inspired and that makes me very proud,” said Kelley. “It makes me realize you can have a lot of impact on people – young or old – by going out and playing hard, being a leader and really being dedicated to your sport.

He led the SEC in league scoring and recorded 21-plus points in eight of 14 games this year. The Washington, D.C. native averaged 36.2 minutes per game and 18.7 points per game (overall) and 5.0 assists per game. In SEC games, he led with 20.7 points per game and his 1,426 career points ranks him 12th all-time among South Carolina leaders. He also ranks No. 3 in assists (492), games played (131) and in three-point field goals made (161).

“It is an honor to win each award. I was a bit surprised when I won the Male Athlete of the Year,” said Kelley. “We play in the SEC against some really good competition. We have a school of really good athletes. There are so many people who do well every year and it’s an honor to win it here. I know there are a lot of men who are worthy of this award here.

Co-awards were given out for the Female Athlete of the Year. Track and Field’s Natasha Hastings and last year’s recipient, volleyball’s Shonda Cole earned the honors.

Hastings is the reining 400m Indoor champion and set the collegiate record, in addition to being a member of the 4X4 NCAA Champion team (Indoors) which led the women to a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. A two-time National Athlete of the Week, Hastings also holds the school record in the 400m (Outdoors). She was also named Academic All-District Team and is a member of the South Carolina Honors College.

For the second year in a row, Cole was named Female Athlete of the Year. Cole is South Carolina’s all-time leader in attacks (4,181) and kills per game (4.26). Her 1,775 career kills rank second all-time, and she finished No. 10 in total blocks with 305. She blasted 703 kills to shatter the previous single-season school record by 150, and became just the 14th player in NCAA history to reach the 700-kill plateau since rally scoring was adopted in 2001. Cole is also the first Gamecock player to capture AVCA National Player of the Week accolades and was named First Team All-SEC and was an AVCA All-South Region pick.

WIS-TV’s Craig Melvin was the banquet MC and also in attendance to the special event was President Dr. Andrew Sorensen, members of the Board of Trustees and guests from Colonial Supplemental Insurance.

2007 Gamecock All-Sports Banquet Award Winners
President’s Award: Kendel Fiorentino, Swimming and Diving
Inspiration Award: Tre Kelley, Basketball
Male Athlete of the Year: Tre Kelley, Basketball
Co-Female Athletes of the Year: Natasha Hastings, Track and Field and Shonda Cole, Volleyball (repeat award winner)
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Dan McKenzie, Track and Field
Co-Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Jenna Pearson (repeat award winner), Golf and Rachel Sternoff, Equestrian
Co-Male Rookie of the Year: Jasper Brinkley, Football and Travis Jones, Baseball
Female Rookie of the Year: Krystal Cantey, Track and Field
Team Community Service Award: Women’s Soccer
Male SEC Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship: Thomas Hilliard, Track and Field
Female SEC Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship: Kendel Fiorentino, Swimming and Diving
Male H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship Recipient: Ryan Leeton, Men’s Soccer
Female H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship Recipient: McKenna Hughes, Softball

Team MVP’s
Baseball: TBD at the end of season
Men’s Basketball: Tre Kelley
Women’s Basketball: Lauren Simms
Equestrian: Kristen Terebesi
Football: Jasper Brinkley
Men’s Golf: George Bryan IV
Women’s Golf: Jenna Pearson
Softball: TBD at the end of season
Men’s Soccer: Michael Sambursky
Women’s Soccer: Blakely Mattern
Men’s Swimming and Diving: Dan White
Women’s Swimming and Diving: Christy Williams
Men’s Tennis: Yevengky Supeko
Women’s Tennis: Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Zubori
Men’s Indoor T&F: Thomas Hilliard
Women’s Indoor T&F: Natasha Hastings
Cross Country: Rebecca Chain (repeat award winner) and Casey Gale
Volleyball: Shonda Cole (repeat award winner)