The NCAA has selected Brigham Young runner Miles Batty and Drury swimmer Kelsey Ward as its 2012 Walter Byers Scholars. Batty and Ward each will receive renewable awards of $24,000.
The Byers Scholarships were established in 1988 and recognize the contributions of former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Recipients must have a grade-point average of at least 3.5, demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership, and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development.
Batty, a neuroscience and exercise science major with a 3.93 GPA, plans to pursue a degree in medicine. He was the 2011 Mountain Region Cross Country Athlete of the Year, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Indoor Track Scholar Athlete of the year and is the 2011 NCAA National Champion in the indoor mile and distance medley relay. He holds the collegiate record for the indoor mile.
Batty qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters.
In his application essay, Batty wrote: ““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.”
Ward has completed her first year at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and was a biology and chemistry major at Drury with a 3.97 GPA. She was a nominee in her junior and senior years for the NCAA’s Elite 88 and was a finalist for this year’s NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Ward was also a finalist for the 2011 Walter Byers Scholarship, which was awarded to David Gatz from Ohio Wesleyan and Jessica Pixler from Seattle Pacific. She was a member of the NCAA national championship teams in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and was a member of Drury’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
In her application essay Ward wrote: “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.”
The awards will be formally presented during the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association’s Annual Meeting and Symposium Honors Dinner in Indianapolis on Nov. 8.
Each year a male and female student-athlete are selected to receive the award. Nominations for the 2013 scholarships will open in October.