FORT MYLERS, Fla. – After leading their respective teams to Atlantic Sun-bests in wins while putting together great individual resumes, FGCU baseball junior Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) and women’s basketball senior Chelsea Lyles (Colorado Springs, Colo./Harrison) have been named the recipients of the Athletic Department’s 2009-10 Most Outstanding Male & Female Student-Athlete Awards.
Lyles, the program’s first-ever two-time first team Atlantic Sun All-Conference selection, is the third women’s basketball player in school history to win the award. Sale, a five-time All-American in 2010, is the fifth baseball player to win the male award, including the third in a row. The Outstanding Male & Female Student-Athlete Awards have been handed out since 2002-03.
"We are honored to bestow this well earned recognition to two of FGCU's all-time finest student-athletes,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “Both Chris and Chelsea demonstrated not only their own tremendous talents but, more importantly, an ability to help make their teammates better."
A native of Colorado Springs, Col., Lyles averaged a team-best 13 points per game en route to leading the Eagles to a 24-7 record, second place finish in the A-Sun regular season standings and the program’s third consecutive WNIT berth. Lyles finished in the top 15 in eight different A-Sun statistical categories, including eighth in scoring, eighth in three-pointers per game (1.8), 11th in blocked shots (23), 12th in field goal percentage (.415), 12th in free throw percentage (.771) and 15th in rebounding (5.5). The senior captain scored in double figures 21 times last season, leading the Eagles in scoring in 10 contests.
Lyles will return to FGCU in the fall and will be a member of the women’s volleyball team during her fifth and final year of eligibility. While at Western Nebraska Community College from 2006-08, Lyles starred in both basketball and volleyball earning All-Region first team honors in both sports. Lyles helped lead Western Nebraska CC to a NJCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball National Championship in 2007.
Needless to say, it’s been a busy postseason for Sale, who was named an All-American by five different outlets (Ping!Baseball, Louisville Slugger, Yahoo! Sports, Baseball America, ABCA/Rawlings after a junior campaign in which he went 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA and ranked fifth in the country with 146 strikeouts. Sale’s dominating season on the hill in which he led the Atlantic Sun in all three pitching Triple Crown categories (Wins, ERA, Strikeouts) helped FGCU clinch its third straight regular season title, while the 6-foot-6 left-hander took home the conference’s Pitcher of the Year award. Overall, Sale ranked in the top 15 in the nation in five different categories, highlighted by a staggering 10.4-to-1 strikeout-walk ratio.
Sale became the A-Sun’s 10th first round draft pick on June 7, when the Chicago White Sox selected him with the 13th overall selection in the 2010 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Draft. Sale is currently stationed with the White Sox’s Advanced Class A affiliate the Winston-Salem Dash where he has made two relief appearances, allowing no runs or hits over two innings of work.
FGCU OUTSTANDING ATHLETE AWARD WINNERS
2009-10 – Chris Sale (Baseball) & Chelsea Lyles (W. Basketball)
2008-09 – Josh Upchurch (Baseball) & Cheyenne Jenks (Softball)
2007-08 – Jason Peacock (Baseball) & Carmen Paez (Softball)
2006-07 – Beau Bauer (M. Basketball) & Kate Schrader (W. Basketball)
2005-06 – Juan Carlos Osorio (Men’s Tennis)/Jason Louwsma (Baseball) & Kate Schrader (W. Basketball)
2004-05 – Bryan Crislip (M. Basketball)/Richard Stempnowski (M. Tennis) & Kelly Powe (Softball)
2003-04 – Leighton Bowie (M. Basketball) & Kelly Powe (Softball)
2002-03 – Chris Brown (Baseball) & Trish Fleming (W. Basketball)