Clarksville, Ark.-University of the Ozarks student-athletes Mandi Carter and Robby Finnell were named the 2006-2007 Female and Male Athlete of the Year, announced at Tuesday's athletic banquet by athletics director Jimmy Clark.
<#IMAGE:1#>The Athlete of the Year award is given to a student-athlete who displays outstanding athletic accomplishments, combined with academic excellence and superior career credentials. Carter, a senior, receives the honor for the third time in her career. A four-year starter on the basketball team and a three-year letterwinner on the soccer team, Carter had her best season on the court from her center position, finishing fourth in the American Southwest Conference in scoring (17.3), sixth in rebounding (8.3), eighth in free throw percentage (73%) and fourth in blocked shots (1.6). The 6-foot-1 Carter earned ASC All-East Division honors all four seasons at Ozarks and led the Lady Eagles to the playoffs her junior and senior season. The Clarksville, Ark., native finishes her career as the school’s second leading scorer (1,538) and rebounder (826). Carter earned a spot on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team and D3Hoops.com All-Region team in 2006-2007. She is a three-time ASC All-Academic selection. She played in 17 matches for the soccer team and scored one goal. Carter is a physical education major. Finnell, a junior, is a three-year starter on the baseball team, and was named to the All-Conference team for the second straight season. A right-handed pitcher/designated hitter for the Eagles, Finnell is fourth in the ASC in ERA (2.84). He is 4-3 on the mound in 63.1 innings of work and has struck out 33. At the plate, the Tulsa, Okla., native ranked fourth in the ASC in home runs (10) and sixth in the league in RBI (50). His 50 RBI is a new single-season school record. He is batting .324 and owns a .610 slugging percentage. A two-time ASC All-Academic selection, Finnell was a member of the 2006 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Finnell led the 2007 Eagles into the playoffs for the first time since 1997. At Ozarks, he is second all-time in career home runs (18) and career RBI (102). He is a political science major. “Both Mandi and Robby deserved this honor,” said Clark. “Each of these student-athletes achieved Academic All-America status. They are great students, and both will go down as two of the top players ever at Ozarks in their respective sports. Both are hard working and good kids. They truly exemplify the type of student- athlete we like to have here.” Team awards given at the banquet were as follows: Baseball: Outstanding Offensive Player-John Glenn, Jr., OF, Tulsa, Okla.; Outstanding Defensive Player-David Smith, So., OF, Rowlett, Texas.; Pitcher of the Year-Curt Dixon, Jr., RHP, McAlester, Okla.; Pitcher of the Year-Robby Finnell, Jr., RHP, Tulsa, Okla.; and Coach’s Award-Jeffrey Weaver, Fr., INF, Rogers, Ark. Men’s Basketball: Outstanding Offensive Player-Habeeb Kareem, Jr., F, Houston, Texas; Outstanding Defensive Player-Tony Daniels, So., F, Fayetteville, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Clint McHenry, Jr., F, Sallisaw, Okla. Women’s Basketball: Outstanding Offensive Player-Jeanne Randall, Sr., F, Bryant, Ark.; Outstanding Defensive Player-Erica Eneks, Jr., G, Mountainburg, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Savannah Carter, So., G, Clarksville, Ark. and Lindsey Nietert, Sr., G, Branch, Ark. Cheerleading: Cheerleader of the Year-Marissa Merritt, Fr., Clarksville, Ark.; Freshman of the Year-Jennifer Fretwell, Fr., Clarksville, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Leslie Martin, Jr., Camden, Ark. Men’s Cross Country: Outstanding Runner-Kyle Jones, So., San Antonio, Texas; and Coach’s Award-Zach Wingate, So., Green Forest, Ark. Women’s Cross Country: Outstanding Runner-Karen Garcia, Jr., Wickes, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Amanda Stang, Sr., Albuquerque, New Mexico. Men’s Soccer: Outstanding Offensive Player-Jared Gordon, Sr., F, Plano, Texas; Outstanding Midfielder-Brandon Cain, Fr., San Angelo, Texas; Outstanding Defensive Player-Brian Sarber, So., Allen, Texas; and Coach’s Award-Jason Caskey, Jr., MF, Broken Arrow, Okla. Women’s Soccer: Outstanding Offensive Player-Laura Spruiell, Fr., F, Dallas, Texas; Outstanding Midfielder-Amanda Bohon, Jr., Ponca City, Okla.; Outstanding Defensive Player-Olivia Fisher, Jr., GK, Mountain Home, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Taylor Crutchfield, Fr., D, Claremore, Okla. Softball: Outstanding Offensive Player-Chelsea Joslin, Jr., 1B, Claremore, Okla.; Outstanding Offensive Player-Kara Bartholomew, Sr., OF, Hot Springs, Ark.; Outstanding Defensive Player-Jessica Pianalto, Jr., 2B, Springdale, Ark.; Outstanding Defensive Player-Brooke Grice, Sr., 3B, North Little Rock, Ark.; Most Improved-Stephany Henson, Fr., P, Coal Hill, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Tiffany Armstrong, Sr., 2B, Sheridan, Ark. Men’s Tennis: Outstanding Player-Tyler Timms, Fr., Lake City, Ark.; and Coach’s Award-Brandon Carlson, Fr., Grapevine, Texas. Women’s Tennis: Outstanding Player-Lea Rana, So., Dallas, Texas; and Coach’s Award-Heather Hartlerode, Sr., Harrison, Ark.