Colorado State announces 2013-14 student-athlete award recipients




July 11, 2014

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Colorado State Athletics announced Friday the recipients of the department’s annual awards for the 2013-14 season, recognizing six student-athletes for their outstanding contributions in competition and in the classroom.

The five awards are the Nye Trophy (outstanding male athlete), Virginia K. Frank Award (outstanding female athlete), Merrill-Gheen Award (male scholar-athlete), Mencimer Memorial Award (female scholar-athlete), and Thurman “Fum” McGraw Award.

Nye Trophy – CSU Male Athlete of the Year: Trevor Brown, Men’s Track & Field

Trevor Brown has been selected as the recipient of the Nye Trophy, the department's oldest continuing honor, given annually to the most outstanding male athlete since its inception in 1929. The Nye Trophy, named for Colonel E.L. Nye, a former professor of pathology and bacteriology who lettered in track at CSU (1913-14 and 1919) and his brother, Dr. William Nye, who lettered multiple times in football, basketball and track and field from 1915-19, is given annually to a senior who is in good academic standing and has observed all the rules of training and competition, while showing character and conduct in keeping with the highest tradition of CSU.

A Colorado Springs native, Brown graduated from Colorado State this May as the most decorated All-American athlete to grace the Rams’ campus in 13 years. After winning his first All-America nod during his sophomore year in 2012, Brown set school and conference records, and then continuously topped them with each passing year. His senior season was no exception. The school record-holder in all three hurdling events, Brown won two MW championships and earned three All-America accolades during his senior campaign, totaling five in his illustrious career. Now a member of the under-23 U.S. men’s national team, Brown owns the Mountain West records in the 60- and 110-meter hurdles, as well as the best conference championship times in each.

Virginia K. Frank Award – CSU Female Athlete of the Year: Jessica Sharbono, Women’s Track & Field

Jessica Sharbono has been selected as the recipient of the Virginia K. Frank Award, given annually since 1976 to the most outstanding female athlete. The Frank Award is donated by the Alumni Association in honor of Frank's outstanding leadership and coaching during her 16-year tenure at CSU, where she developed and directed women's athletics while it was a part of the Women's Recreation Association. Frank was also chosen as the first woman to receive the Outstanding Professor Award from CSU in 1963.

Also finishing her career at the top of her game was the Billings, Mont., native Sharbono. The senior blossomed late in her junior year and capitalized with a phenomenal run in her final season. Sharbono moved into second place in the track & field record book in the discus, on a 193 feet, 1 inch throw at the Mountain West championships. A 2014 two-time MW champion in the shot put and discus, Sharbono finished her final campaign at CSU with an All-America nod, totaling two in her throwing career with the Rams.

Merrill-Gheen Award – CSU Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Christian Meyer, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field

Meyer has been honored for his work both on the track and in the classroom, earning the Merrill-Gheen Award, presented annually since 1958 to the most outstanding male scholar-athlete. The Merrill-Gheen Award, named after Russell Merrill, a former CSU baseball player, and Joseph Gheen, the award's original sponsor who donated anonymously and was posthumously added to the award, is presented to an outstanding student-athlete based upon his record in activities, athletics and academics with equal emphasis on all three.

A former physics major, Meyer graduated this past spring with a 3.845 GPA. In 2013-14 Meyer was a two-time academic all-conference recipient as well as a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete. This past year he held the highest GPA amongst his senior classmates on both the cross country and track & field squads.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, Meyer was a vital cog in the men’s cross country team’s success last fall. He led CSU to a sixth place finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional, earning all-region for his performance, while the Rams qualified for their first championship in nine years. He then paced the pack in the championship race, leading Colorado State to a 26th place finish, its highest national ranking in 10 years. Meyer earned second-team all-MW at the league cross country championship, and he was awarded all-conference in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for a second-place finish at the MW outdoor championships.

Mencimer Award – CSU Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Kendal Butterfield, Softball

Kendal Butterfield, who has been equally adept in the classroom and on the field for the Rams throughout her career, has been selected as the recipient of the Mencimer Memorial Award, presented to the most outstanding female scholar-athlete since 1976. The Mencimer Memorial Award was initiated by Barbara Mencimer-Maxfield, a nine-sport student-athlete at CSU, in honor of her parents, Catherine and Floyd Mencimer, both former Colorado A&M athletes, to encourage female athletes and acknowledge their excellence.

A native of Grass Valley, Calif., Butterfield is one of three players in CSU softball history to earn four Mountain West Scholar-Athlete selections, the highest academic honor bestowed by the conference. She graduated in May with a 3.862 GPA while double majoring in agricultural education and animal science. Butterfield was also involved with SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) all four years, serving as softball’s representative. On the field, she was a four-year letterwinner, starting 139 games. She finished her career with 90 runs scored, 18 stolen bases and a .935 fielding percentage, and as a senior this spring, helped the Rams to their best season in more than a decade.

Thurman “Fum” McGraw Award (co-winners): Weston Richburg, Football; Ashley Reid, Women’s Track & Field

Weston Richburg and Ashley Reid are co-winners of the Thurman "Fum" McGraw Award. Presented annually since 2002, the McGraw Award is given to the most outstanding overall student-athlete who embodies academic and athletic excellence, character, leadership, service, concern for others and unwavering Ram pride, the characteristics that best defined the spirit and essence of  McGraw, the legendary student-athlete, coach and administrator, and most recognizable presence in CSU athletics history.

Weston Richburg

Richburg started every game of his career from 2010-13, totaling a school-record 50 starts, and was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Giants as the No. 43 overall pick. His was the highest draft selection by a former CSU player since Kelly Stouffer was chosen sixth overall in 1987.

Richburg, a team captain as a junior and senior, was named first-team All-Mountain West in 2013 after earning honorable mention in 2012 and second-team honors in 2011, and was named to watch lists for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy as both a junior and senior. He and his senior class led a dramatic turnaround in the Rams football program in 2013, culminating in CSU’s first bowl game since 2008, a 48-45 defeat of Washington in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

Since 2010, Richburg blocked for 7,765 rushing yards and 140 total offensive touchdowns, and paved the way in 2013 for second-team Walter Camp All-American Kapri Bibbs. Richburg’s offense line was the catalyst for the most prolific scoring offense in school history, and one that set a school record by averaging 470.8 total yards per game. His draft stock rose considerably with an outstanding senior season and participation in both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine.

Richburg also was honored in April 2014 with selection to the National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society, comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career.

Ashley Reid

Colorado State senior track & field athlete Reid displayed great perseverance to overcome tremendous adversity that threatened to derail both her academic and athletic career. As a result, she became the first Ram to ever receive the Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award presented by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) in the summer of 2014.

Reid graduated this spring with a degree in liberal arts after making an appearance on the academic all-Mountain West team for the second consecutive year. The Rams’ most successful high jumper in half a decade relied heavily on track & field to help her get past unfathomable personal circumstances.

After trying to take her own life, Reid admired her sister’s battle for her own, but she lost her to lupus last fall. Reid organized CSU’s inaugural lupus awareness walk to honor her memory this past May, raising $8,500.

Following a personal-best regular season her junior year at CSU, Reid was hit by a car following a spring snow storm before the conference meet. Suffering from back spasms, she powered through, determined to attend the championships because her family was going to be there to support her. Despite severe pain, Reid managed to score 6.5 points, the exact amount the Rams needed to finish just ahead of UNLV in third place.

For more on Reid’s story, click here.

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