W&L's Kurkis and Mathews, BC's Rhodes Win Top Scholar-Athlete Awards
FOREST, Va. --- Three student-athletes
earned the conference's top awards in a vote of the ODAC Board of
Directors at the annual league meetings earlier this week.
Washington and Lee University's Greg Kurkis was recognized as
the Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Award winner. Bridgewater College's
Christina Rhodes and the Generals' Emmy Mathews will share the
Marjorie Berkley Award., marking the first tie in Berkley Award
Inaugurated in 1984 and 1981, respectively, the Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Scholar-Athlete Awards are given each spring to member college seniors and conference sport participants who exhibit the highest athletic, academic, and extracurricular achievements. Ms. Berkley began her collegiate teaching career at Lynchburg College. Several years later after leaving Lynchburg, Ms. Berkley moved to Hollins University where she coached tennis, field hockey and soccer, and served as the athletic director for 30 years. The Jopson Award is named for the Bridgewater College professor and coach who retired in 1981 following 45 years at the college. Dr. Jopson, who initiated and directed the Eagles' cross country and track programs, led his teams to ODAC indoor track titles in 1979, 1980 and 1981, and outdoor crowns in 1978 through 1981.
Rhodes, a liberal studies major from Dayton, Va., starred as a track & field student-athlete for the Eagles. Rhodes is the winner of the first two NCAA Elite 88 Awards for women's outdoor track & field, recognizing her as the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average competing in both the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships. She is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership) honor society and the Chi Alpha Sigma Athletic Chapter. She is the winner of 2010 Outstanding Presidential Citation, and was nominated to Teachers of Promise this past season. Just recently, Rhodes was named to the Capital One Academic All-District III Women's Track & Field College Division First Team presented by CoSIDA. It is the second year she has earned such a distinction. In 2010, Rhodes went on to receive Academic All-America status.
Rhodes is a four-time champion in the pole vault at both the ODAC Indoor and Outdoor Track Championship Meets. She competed in her second straight NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships pole vault competition at Ohio Wesleyan University last month. She finished sixth in the 2010 national meet, which earned her All-America recognition. She holds indoor and outdoor school records in the pole vault, and has twice been named an Eagles' team MVP. She tabbed the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards for women's outdoor track each of the past two years by votes of the league's sports information directors.
In her community, Rhodes is a volunteer for several organizations including the Blue Ridge Christian School, the Mount Clinton United Methodist Church, Mountain View Elementary School, and the Salvation Army. She has served on the ministry service team, as well as a student peer minister. Earlier this spring, Rhodes enjoyed a guest speaking opportunity in front of the Salem Rotary Club in Salem, Va.
Mathews, a Philosophy and Business Administration major from Baltimore, Md., excelled as a dual-sport student-athlete for the Generals' field hockey and women's lacrosse teams. She is a three-time honoree on the All-ODAC Academic Team, as well as being a W&L Scholar-Athlete. She was named to the ESPN/CoSIDA District III College Division Academic All-District Second Team in 2010. Mathews is a member of Phi Beta Kappa (national academic), Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Gamma Sigma (international academic) and Phi Eta Sigma (freshman) honor societies. In 2009, Mathews was one of three statewide winners of the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges (VFIC)/Norfolk Southern Scholarship.
On the field, Mathews is a five-time All-ODAC First Team honoree, having earned three honors for lacrosse and two for field hockey. She also was tabbed to the field hockey second team once and was named the sport's ODAC Rookie of the Year in 2007. She added to her awards mantle this spring as she was named the 2011 ODAC Women's Lacrosse Player of the Year in a vote of the league's coaches. Mathews was later named to the IWLCA All-Chesapeake Region First Team for the third-consecutive season. She concluded her career ranked third in career goals (161) and fifth in career points (199) in W&L program history. Her contributions to both the field hockey and lacrosse programs helped her to earn the "Pres" Brown Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year for Washington and Lee.
Mathews has been active in her community as well. She has been a Teach for America Campaign Coordinator and a volunteer tutor at the Waddell Elementary School. She has also volunteered for Campus Kitchens. Mathews has served as treasurer of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and is a member of Kathekon, Washington and Lee’s student alumni association.
Kurkis, a Biochemistry major from Roswell, Ga., received the "Pres" Brown Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year following four years as a letterman on the Generals' football team. He added the William D. McHenry Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolade to his resume, becoming the first W&L student-athlete to sweep the two honors since 1997. Kurkis, who also minored in Poverty and Human Capability Studies, received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship following the fall campaign. He is a member of several honor societies including Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, and Alpha Epsilon Delta (national pre-medical). In 2009, Kurkis was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Second Team, but trumped that by one in 2010 as he was selected to the Academic All-America First Team.
On the gridiron, Kurkis started every game of his four seasons (40 total), helping the Generals’ offense set numerous school and conference records while earning All-ODAC honors every season. The 2007 ODAC Rookie of the Year, he was a Second Team All-ODAC honoree as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and a First Team All-ODAC choice as a senior when he earned first team all-state and third team all-region accolades. Kurkis also won the 2009 and 2010 ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards for football.
In the community, Kurkis served several roles including as a student board member for Habitat for Humanity and a University Peer Tutor. He was also philanthropy chair for the Kappa Alpha Order, as well as a volunteer for the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic. During the summer of 2009, Kurkis completed an internship through the Shepherd Poverty Program with the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond.
2011 Harry G. “Doc” Jopson Award Nominees
Cole Hawthorne, Hampden-Sydney College
Benjamin Phelps, Lynchburg College
Eric van Staalduinen, Randolph College
Justin Tuma, Roanoke College
Greg Kurkis, Washington and Lee University
2011 Marjorie Berkley Award Nominees
Christina Rhodes, Bridgewater College
Morgan Andrews, Guilford College
Morgan Logue, Lynchburg College
Emmy Mathews, Washington and Lee University