Monday, May 18, 2009

NU's Avila Is Ashe Award Finalist

It's award season. It seems like everyday I'm either providing a link to an award watch list or voting for various post-season honors. However, one Big Ten baseball player has been nominated for a rather special honor that I overlooked.

Northwestern's Kenneth Avila is one of ten male finalists for the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award. I'll let the press release explain the award:

Established in 1992 by the publication Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, the Sports Scholars Awards honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.

On-the-field, Avila paced the Wildcats in batting average this season while playing a super-utility role. In-the-classroom, Avila is a double major in economic and legal studies. Avila also had to meet the award's minimum requirements for things such as community service and GPA.

Last season, Avila was one of the ten college baseball players selected for the honor. This year, the Northwestern junior is the lone college baseball representative still eligible to claim the top award. Amongst those Avila will be competing against are Ohio State football star Brian Robiskie and Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Sam Bradford.

I think I can go out on a limb here and speak for the entire Big Ten baseball community and congratulate Kenneth on this honor. Obviously, I'm pulling for him to bring home the top prize. (Hey, we all better be nice to him. The young man could be President someday.)