Dec. 8, 2009
TEMPE – The Pac-10 Conference announced its fall Scholar-Athletes of the Year, presented by Toyo Tires, on Tuesday with two student-athletes at Arizona State University earning the top honor in their respective sport. Brandon Bethke (men’s cross country) and Mike Nixon (football) were among a group of six selections for fall sports that also included women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s cross country.
Bethke (Lake Forest, Calif.) had a standout cross country campaign for the Sun Devils as he placed among the Top 7 in all five races he ran, including a men’s program record seventh-place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships to earn All-America honors. Bethke was selected First Team All-Pac-10 after finishing second overall at the conference meet and was a USTFCCCA All-Region honoree after placing seventh in the West. The runner-up at the Notre Dame Invitational and sixth-place finisher at the NCAA Pre-National race, Bethke was selected the Academic All-Pac-10 Second Team this year.
Nixon (Phoenix, Ariz.) was named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in November and is the first Sun Devil football player to earn ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-District VIII honors three times. He was also named First Team Academic All-Pac-10 for the third straight year. The political science major carries a 4.07 GPA. He was a team captain for the 2009 season, leading the team with 73 tackles, including six for loss. It was the second straight year he led ASU in tackles and he tied for the team lead with three interceptions as well. He is the first Sun Devil since Jason Kyle to earn First Team Academic All-Pac-10 honors in three straight seasons.
The selections for Bethke and Nixon are the first two for an ASU male student-athlete since the award was created prior to the start of the 2008-09 academic year. Last year, five Sun Devils were honored for their academic achievement, including fall honoree Jenna Kingma (women’s cross country); winter honoree Sybil Dosty (women’s basketball); and spring honorees Sarah Stevens (women’s track & field), Jessica Mapes (softball) and Azahara Munoz (women’s golf).
To be eligible for the honor, a student-athlete must be a senior (athletic eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50-percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution. Each recipient will receive a commemorative award while Toyo Tires will donate $1,000 to the scholarship fund of the institution’s athletic department of each winner in recognition of their accomplishments.
2009 Fall Pac-10 Scholar-Athletes of the Year, presented by Toyo Tires
Cross Country (M): Brandon Bethke (Arizona State)
Cross Country (W): Nicole Blood (Oregon)
Football: Mike Nixon (Arizona State)
Soccer (M): Rylan Hawkins (Washington)
Soccer (W): Ali Riley (Stanford)
Volleyball: Jill Collymore (Washington)