Women’s swimmer and water polo player Ashley Chandler and men’s cross country and track and field student-athlete Calvin Thigpen have been selected as the UC Davis recipients of the 2010-11 Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. Both were honored Thursday at a banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Garden Grove.
Chandler was a big factor in the Aggies winning the final Big West Conference team championship in 2010, as she captured the 100-yard backstroke in a school-record 54.03, and led off the 400 medley relay squad that took a league title set the school mark of 3:42.52. She set a third school benchmark at the Big West meet with a 50 free time of 22.90 in the first leg of the 200 freestyle relay, then took part in a fourth as a member of the 400 free relay.
Chandler is a three-time All-Academic honoree by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches and has garnered a total of four academic all-conference awards in her two sports. She is an English major who has twice won the department’s Alfred J. Hoefer Memorial Scholarship.
Thigpen’s 2010 cross country season stands out as arguably the best campaign during the senior’s UCD career. As he continued to rehabilitate several nagging injuries, he earned four top-20 finishes and two top-five placings during the season. His third-place finish at the 2010 Big West championships helped lead the Aggie men to their first league title.
Thigpen finished 20th overall at the NCAA West Regionals in 30:35.95, earning all-region accolades from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. His success resulted in the Aggies recognizing him as Most Improved, a team award he also received in his sophomore season.
For his work in the classroom, Thigpen, an evolution, ecology and biodiversity major, was named to the Big West’s Fall All-Academic team, an honor he has achieved all three years he has been eligible.
Chandler and Thigpen will be honored alongside the recipients from the other eight Big West institutions in conjunction with the conference basketball tournaments taking place at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
UCD field hockey
The Aggies had six players named to the 2010 Division I National Academic Squad, when the National Field Hockey Coaches Association announced the team this week.
The six honorees are Kelly Dudek, Mattie Maloney, Bailey McDade, Emily Mecke, Sarah Schneider and Carly Schoch. Dudek, Mecke and Schneider are making their second appearance on the squad, while Maloney, McDade and Schooch each received their first academic honor. Schneider also received the NorPac Sheryl Johnson Academic Award in the fall.
Players named to the squad must have attained a minimum overall grade-point average of 3.30 through the first semester of the 2010-11 academic year.
Women’s water polo
Sophomore attacker Carmen Eggert has been selected as Big West Women’s Water Polo Player of the Week for the period ending Monday. This represents the first time an Aggie has won such honors since 2009, the conference’s inaugural season.
A graduate of Marin Catholic High and a former member of the U.S. junior national team, Eggert shot 11-for-25 with three assists, seven steals and nine drawn exclusions during the 31st-annual Aggie Shootout tournament at Schaal Aquatics Center last weekend.
Against Cal State East Bay, a team receiving votes in the national coaches’ top 20, Eggert scored four goals, nabbed three steals, drew three exclusions and two five-meter fouls. She also had a key block against a Pioneer 6-on-5 attempt, then drew a five-meter exclusion on the subsequent possession. Eggert converted the shot and sparked a run of five unanswered UCD goals.
The last time an Aggie garnered the weekly honor was in April, 2009 when Lindsay Kiyama (now a volunteer assistant) picked up the team’s third of the year.
Through 14 games, Eggert leads No. 15 UCD with 22 assists and 26 steals, while ranking second behind Jessica Dunn with 22 goals.
UCD women’s soccer
The Aggie squad recently reconnected during the off-season, taking a break from studying to visit with children at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento.
On March 3, the UCD student-athletes celebrated an early St. Patrick’s Day with the kids, decorating hats and shamrocks among other activities. Art and design majors Elaine Tanski and Allison Kelly put their education to good use, taking charge of the face painting and tattoos with some sophisticated designs. It didn’t take long for the rest of the players to get involved, finding activities for all the children to enjoy.
While the mood was light and time spent with the kids was enjoyable, the importance of the visit was not lost on players and coaches. Aggie head coach MaryClaire Robinson was thankful for the chance to give back to the community:
“To have the opportunity to bring something a little different and fun for the the kids for an evening is special,” she said. “The interaction was powerful to watch. Impacting our community in a positive way is something we take seriously and we make time for.”
Visit http://www.shrinershq.org for more information on ways to give to children in need.
Hall of Fame talk
Recent inductee Jacquie Phelan will be at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame on Saturday to give a talk titled “Why Women Love Bicycles.”
The lecture will be from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Hall, 303 Third St., and is free for members. The cost is $5 for nonmembers.
Among other topics, Phelan will talk about how “bicycle technology has (helped) give women a push toward the freedoms they have today.”
For more information, e-mail Eventinfo@usbhof.org. The Hall of Fame is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.