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2012 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship finalists selected

The NCAA has announced the six finalists for the 2012 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. One male and one female former student-athlete will be selected later this month for the renewable award, which provides $24,000 annually.

The 2012 finalists are:

  • Miles Batty, Brigham Young, track and field/cross country
  • Mary (Katy) Frierson, Auburn, soccer
  • Matt Horn, Winthrop, soccer
  • Daniel Mazzaferro, Auburn, swimming and diving
  • Elizabeth Phillips, Washington U. in St. Louis, track and field and cross country
  • Kelsey Ward, Drury, swimming

The Byers Scholarships were established in 1988 to recognize the contributions of former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Recipients must have at least a 3.5 grade-point average, demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership, and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development.

Following are summaries of the finalists’ achievements.

Miles Batty

Brigham Young; track and field/cross country; neuroscience and exercise science; 3.93 GPA

Graduate degree sought: Medicine

Kimball Memorial Award (2010) ... Heritage Scholarship (full undergraduate tuition) ... MWC Scholar Athlete of the Year (2010 cross country, 2011 indoor track and field, 2011 outdoor track and field) ... 10-time academic all-conference ... U.S. Track and Field Indoor Track Scholar Athlete of the Year (2011) ... Capital One Track and Field and Cross Country Academic All-American of the Year (2011) ... Capital One Academic All-American (2010, 2011) ... U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coach’s Association All-Academic Team (2009, 2010, 2011) ... Member of Phi Kappa Phi ... Mountain West Conference Athlete of the Year (2010 cross country) ...  MWC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year (2011) ... West Coast Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Year (2011) ... 2011 NCAA National Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year ... NCAA national champion (2011 indoor mile, 2011 distance medley relay) ... Five-time first-team all-American ... Qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Trials (1,500 meters) ... Collegiate indoor mile record holder

In his own words:

“I have come to realize that no matter how hard the task at hand, all our successes in life are a function of our desire. I know that I can do anything if it is something that I really want to do. I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me as I pursue my career in medicine. It will require much studying, long nights in the hospital and caring service toward patients. But more than anything, I know how much I want to carry out this dream that will help me accomplish my most important goals in life.”

Mary (Katy) Frierson

Auburn; soccer; political science; 3.92 GPA.

Graduate degree sought: Master’s in international development

Member of Phi Kappa Phi ... graduated summa cum laude in three and a half years … Capital One Academic All-American (2010, 2011) … NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2010) … SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2012) ... Member of Chi Alpha Sigma … SEC tournament champion and game MVP (2012) ... team captain (2010, 2011) ... NSCAA All-American (2010, 2011) ... SEC first team (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) ... Lowe’s Senior Class Award first team (2011) ... drafted 10th in women’s professional soccer draft (2012) ... Herman Trophy semifinalist (2010) ... SEC freshman of the year (2008).

In her own words:

“Throughout my four years at Auburn University, I have taken a hold of my education, faith and soccer abilities in a way that allows me to continually grow and develop as a human being. Through these experiences, I have become passionate about positively impacting the world in a tangible and sustainable way. Through serving others comes much joy.”

Matthew Horn

Winthrop, soccer, biology, 3.922 GPA

Graduate degree sought: Medicine

Winthrop Trustees Scholarship ... Winthrop’s Rhodes Scholar Endorsee ... Winthrop’s Marshall Scholar Endorsee ... Member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society ... Member of Book and Key Club Honor Society ... Member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society for Leadership ... Member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society ... Big South Men’s Soccer Championship (2008-09 and 2009-10) ... NCAA national championship tournaments (2008, 2009) ... Selected in the fourth round of the MLS Super Draft by the Colorado Rapids ... Lowe’s Senior Class All-American (2011) ... Capital One Academic All-American (2011) ... NSCAA Academic All-American (2011) ... COSIDA Academic All-District (2011-12) ... Big South Conference Student-Athlete of the Year (2009-10) ... Big South Conference All-Academic Team (2009, 2010, 2011).

In his own words:

“As a student-athlete, I learned lessons that match principles I will bring into my life and the medical profession. First, I learned that it takes tremendous dedication and hard work both on and off the field for a team to win conference championships and make NCAA College Cup appearances. I discovered, as captain, that a team needs a leader who is not only strong, but who has integrity and compassion as well. Additionally, I recognized that for a group of men to become a true team requires trusting friendships formed off the field as well as on.”

Daniel Mazzaferro

Auburn; swimming and diving; chemistry; 3.92 GPA

Graduate degree sought: Medicine

Rhodes Scholar finalist (2011-12) ... SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2010-11) ... Walter Byers Finalist (2010-11) ... Phi Kappa Phi National Graduate Fellowship (2010) ... College Swimming Coaches Association of America Academic All-American (2007-09, 2011) ... Capital One at-Large Academic All American (2011) ... ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District (2008-09) ... Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention (2009) ... Member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi ... Member of National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi chapter ... Member of the Golden Key International Honor Society ... Member of Delta Epsilon Iota ... Member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars ... Captain of Auburn swimming and diving team (2010-11) ... United States Olympic diving finalist (2008) ... World University Games (2007, 2009) ... SEC Conference Champion (2008-09, 2011) ... SEC Male Diver of the Year (2009, 2011)

In his own words:

“With a greater appreciation for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, I believe that medicine, specifically orthopedic or neurological surgery, is the ideal field of study for me. The Walter Byers Postgraduate Award has the potential to be a life-changing award, helping me get one step closer to my goal of becoming a medical doctor who invests in both his local community and the world at large.”

Elizabeth Phillips

Washington University, St. Louis; Cross country/track; biomedical engineering; 4.0 GPA

Graduate degree sought: Medicine

NCAA Elite 89 Recipient (2010 and 2011 track and field, 2011 cross country) ... CoSIDA Academic All-District (2010) ... Capital One Academic All-American First Team (2011) ... U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Honors (2008, 2009, 2010 cross country, 2009, 2010, 2011 track and field) ... UAA Presidents Scholar-Athlete (2010, 2011 track and field, 2010, 2011 cross country) ... Four-time Division III All-American (2009, 2011 indoor track and field and 2011 outdoor track and field) ... Division III All-American ... Nine-time UAA conference champion.

In her own words:

“Running has taught me to be a better listener, a better motivator and a better leader. It has taught me the importance of determination, persistence and patience when trying to reach my goals. Most importantly, it has taught me the value of putting my teammates before myself.”

Kelsey Ward

Drury; swimming; biology and chemistry; 3.97 GPA

Graduate degree sought: Medicine (has completed first year at the University of Colorado School of Medicine)

NCAA Elite 88 nominee (junior and senior years) ... Outstanding freshman in chemistry (Judge Warren White Award) ... CSCAA Scholar All-American (freshman, sophomore and junior years) ... NCAA national championship (2008, 2009, 2010) ... Member of the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

In her own words:

“If I was given the choice to be anything, I would choose to be a doctor every time. I would love nothing more than to dedicate my life to people through medicine. The greatest gift I could imagine is the chance to travel around the world and help those who are desperate for even the simplest medical care.”