FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ralph Newell
FAIRFAX, Va. — Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine is pleased to announce the 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Male and Female Athlete of the Year.
Khari Blasingame, Vanderbilt University, Football, Male Winner
- J.T. Escobar, University of North Florida, Basketball (1st runner up)
- Grant Rivers, North Carolina State University, Track/Cross Country (2nd runner up)
- Sanil Thomas, The Ohio State University, Volleyball (3rd runner up)
Asia Seidt, University of Kentucky, Swimming & Diving, Female Winner
- Stephanie Relova, San José State University, Gymnastics (1st runner up)
- Lauren Waller, Penn State University, Golf (2nd runner up)
- Kendall Skuse, Buffalo State College, Lacrosse (3rd runner up)
As the name denotes, the annual Ashe edition is a part of our quarter-century legacy of recognizing outstanding minority young men and women who have distinguished themselves in their academic and athletic pursuits.
In addition to their athletic ability, students named 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars maintained a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5, were a sophomore academically, and were active on their campuses or in their communities.
Of the close to 1,000 scholar athletes nominated Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has named Blasingame and Seidt, its 2019 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Male and Female Sports Scholars-of-the-Year for best exemplifying the standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism.
Seidt, a senior, is a two-time SEC champion in the 200-meter backstroke and five-time First Team All-American who has also maintained a 4.0 average and donated her time to the Special Olympics.
A standout on the football field, Blasingame, a master’s student, carries a 4.0 GPA in Leadership and Organizational Performance. He is committed to addressing systemic inequities in healthcare, and his long-term goal is to become a leader in healthcare administration. He has worked as a mentor and campus organizer for many of Vanderbilt’s student success initiatives.
Both athletes balance community service and the rigors of top-tier NCAA intercollegiate play with academic achievement at the highest level — they will be profiled in the April 4, 2019 edition of Diverse.
According to magazine publisher Frank L. Matthews, “this year’s class of Ashe scholars confirms and affirms that minority students have continued to excel in academics and athletics. It is fitting that on the centennial anniversary of Phi Beta Kappa and All-American Paul Robeson’s graduation from Rutgers University so many student athletes continue in his footsteps.”
Winners in each individual sport category are also selected for the annual Ashe edition.
This year’s Sports Winners are:
David Baker, Golf (M), Prairie View A&M University
Amari Black, Cheerleading, Fayetteville State University
Khari Blasingame, Football, Vanderbilt University
Myles Brown, Soccer (M), UNC Charlotte
Brooks Campbell, Tennis (M), North Carolina Central University
Wenjing Deng, Synchronized Swimming (W), The Ohio State University
Michael DePhillips, Ice Hockey (M), Arizona State University
J.T. Escobar, Basketball (M), University of North Florida
Gabby Fraser, Squash (W), Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Sam Fromkin, Swimming & Diving (M), American University
Camron Gharib, Crew (M), Oregon State University
Ma’at Hembrick, Crew (W), Loyola Marymount University
Larissa Heslop, Soccer (W), Eastern Kentucky University
Alex Kerai, Sailing (M), Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Juan Laguna, Squash (M), George Washington University
Tristyn Lozano, Volleyball (W), King University
Shaelynn Moore, Basketball (W), Dillard University
Megan Murzello, Softball, Stockton University
Raven Neely, Tennis (W), University of Louisville
Luke Northcutt, Bowling (M), Jarvis Christian College
Anthony Orozco, Wrestling (M), Menlo College
Samantha Plaster, Beach Volleyball (W), Arizona State University
Kristin Quah, Bowling (W), Vanderbilt University
Nina Radulovic, Rifle (W), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Stephanie Relova, Gymnastics (W), San Jose State University
Grant Rivers, Track & Field/Cross Country (M), North Carolina State University
Estel Roig, Field Hockey (W), Miami University (OH)
Zachary Schindler, Fencing (M), New York University
Asia Seidt, Swimming & Diving (W), University of Kentucky
Kendall Skuse, Lacrosse (W), Buffalo State College
Erik Suh, Lacrosse (M), St. John’s University
Michelle Taikeff, Water Polo (W), San Jose State University
Jahmon Taylor, Baseball, Coppin State University
Matthew Taylor, Water Polo (M), George Washington University
Sanil Thomas, Volleyball (M), The Ohio State University
Juah Toe, Rugby (W), West Chester University (Pa.)
Jacqueline Tubbs, Fencing (W), New York University
Lauren Waller, Golf (W), Penn State University
Karrington Winters, Track & Field/Cross Country (W), The Ohio State University
In 1992, Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year Diverse invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.
Past recipients of the award include: Baylor University’s (2011) Robert Griffin III, Heisman Trophy winner and former Washington Redskins quarterback; the University of Tennessee’s (2003) Kara Lawson, an ESPN analyst who played for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs; San Diego State University’s (1993) Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas’ (1996) Jacque Vaughn, former head coach of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Celebrating 35 years, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education is the nation’s only newsmagazine dedicated exclusively to diversity issues in higher education. Visit online at www.diverseeducation.com.