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Murray and Vives, Toussaint and Perzanowski Win Most Outstanding Student-Athlete Award
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Coming off another extremely successful season which brought FGCU five Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season championships and several individual records, athletic department officials have named Mike Murray and Jordi Vives as co-winners of the 2013-14 Most Outstanding Male Student-Athlete Award and Kira Toussaint and Kelly Perzanowski as the co-winners of the Most Outstanding Female Student-Athlete Award.
Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) put together one of the greatest seasons any FGCU baseball pitcher has ever had, while Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) made Green and Blue history on the tennis court. Meanwhile, Toussaint (Amstelveen, Netherlands/Keizer Karel College) set the benchmark for the swimming and diving program and Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) ran her way into cross country history.
The award – which honors the best FGCU male and female student-athlete(s) for the previous academic year – is presented annually at the “Welcome Back Picnic” in August. All nominees (included at the end of this release) have either earned All-Conference First Team honors or better in their respective sport.
Toussaint becomes the first swimmer to earn the illustrious award, while Perzanowski is the first cross country runner to earn the recognition. Prior to this year, every female recipient of the award – which has been handed out since 2002-03 – has either been a member of the basketball or softball team.
In keeping with the history-setting trend of the award, 2013-14 also marks the first time that co-winners for each gender have been awarded. Murray becomes the seventh baseball player to win, or share, the award, while Vives is the third tennis player – and first in the Division-I era (2007-08).
The right-hander was named to three different All-American teams, the ABCA South All-Region First Team and the A-Sun First Team, in addition to a slew of other recognitions. He posted a program-record 13 wins and an A-Sun best 1.85 ERA to go with 79 strikeouts which also led the league en route to becoming the fourth A-Sun Pitcher of the Year that FGCU has had. He joined the group of Richard Bleier (2008), Chris Sale (2010) and Ricky Knapp (2012), all of whom are now playing professional baseball.
“It’s a huge honor to receive this award,” Murray said. “I just want to thank all of my teammates for helping me achieve this award as well as my coaches. I’m truly blessed with how well my year went and can’t wait for another year to play with FGCU."
Murray was one of just nine pitchers in the A-Sun in the last 10 years to win double-digit games in a season. The sophomore was a semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award which names college baseball’s best player, and was also named to the 18-Man College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Watch List. He became just the second pitcher in FGCU history to throw back-to-back complete games this past spring. During his streak of 43.1 innings without allowing an earned run, which led the nation this season and was snapped at Stetson, Murray’s ERA dropped as low as 0.18 at one point.
“Mike had a great year for us; arguably the best we’ve ever had here,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “He worked extremely hard to have the season that he did and he earned every bit of recognition he has received. This is the seventh time a baseball player has won this award and that says a lot about our program. Mike is an exceptional representative of our program and FGCU.”
Vives became FGCU’s first-ever D-I ranked player on Jan. 2 when he made his ITA debut as No. 66, and he concluded the year No. 45 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. He was crowned as the Southeast’s recipient of the 2014 ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership & Sportsmanship Award winner and was named A-Sun Player of the Year and received unanimous selection to the All-Conference First Team Furthermore, he garnered A-Sun Academic All-Conference honors and was a member of the A-Sun Championship All-Tournament Team.
“I am honored to see my name as one of the final two as we have so many talented athletes at FGCU,” Vives stated. “I’d like to thank my teammates, my coach and everyone else who supported me this year. I am thankful every day to represent this program and cannot wait to see what’s next for the Eagles.”
Vives earned FGCU’s first-ever singles bid to the NCAA Championship where he picked up the program’s first win, beating Philippe Tsangaridis of Coastal Carolina, 6-4, 6-3, for a spot in the round of 32. Playing No. 1 singles in each of this season’s dual matches, Vives went a perfect 8-0 in the A-Sun and held an overall record of 20-2. He led the conference in wins (20) and winning percentage (.909) and was a two-time A-Sun Player of the Week. After winning his 11th match in a row (Jan. 19 vs Nebraska), Vives established the longest singles win streak in the nation, and continued to lead the country by emerging victorious in 14 straight matches until he fell against Auburn on Feb. 7.
“This is an incredible honor for Jordi, especially considering all of the amazing seasons that so many of his fellow Eagles had this year,” head coach CJ Weber said. “I am so happy for both he and Mike as both athletes proved that they were two of the best in their respective sports to all of Division-I athletics. Jordi was the highest-ranked tennis player in the entire state for much of the season, including national powerhouses Florida and Florida State, so he really put FGCU tennis on the national map this year!”
Toussaint was the first from FGCU to be named to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-America Team, and that came on the heels of her being tabbed Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year. She ended her season by placing 7th at NCAA Championships in the 100-yard backstroke (51.81) and 12th in the 200-yard race (1:53.79).
“I am very honored to be chosen as the co-female athlete of the year,” Toussaint commented. “My team and I worked really hard last season to accomplish all that we did. It was a great feeling to represent the Eagles at the NCAA Championships. I cannot wait for next season because there is still a lot of room for improvement.”
Toussaint couldn’t have improved on her freshman season much more than she did as she became the first swimmer in CCSA history to appear in an NCAA A final. At the CCSA Championship Meet, she was named Most Outstanding Freshman Performer and Most Outstanding Female Swimmer after wins in the 200 free, 100 back and 200 back. Furthermore, she set eight FGCU program records: four individually – 100 back (51.68), 200 back (1:53.72), 200 free (1:47.02) and 100 fly (53.46), and four as a member of a relay team: 200 free (1:30.24), 400 free (3:20.13), 200 medley (1:38.63) and 400 medley (3:40.69).
“I am so excited for Kira and the program for our first-ever department Athlete of the Year award winner,” head coach Neal Studd said. “What a great honor. We are all so happy for Kira and she had a tremendous year and thoroughly deserves this recognition.”
Perzanowski was named the A-Sun Female Runner of the Year and landed spots on the NCAA South All-Region Team and A-Sun First Team as she became the first runner in FGCU history to win the A-Sun Championship with a program-record 17:21.02 in the 5K race.
Perzanowski reset the FGCU all-time record book in both the women’s 5K and 6K twice during the season. She won three meets during the course of the campaign and led the team in every single race she competed in. Her biggest win of the regular season came at the University of Florida Mountain Dew Invitational 6K in September where she placed 1st out of 270 runners, finishing ahead of runners from Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and South Carolina. Not only that, but she did it in a then-program-record 20:45.06, which also set the course record. The senior wrapped up her year by placing 14th overall the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships in fitting fashion as she crossed the finish line in the 6K race in a program-record 20:38.86.
"I am thrilled that Kelly has been recognized with such a prestigious award,” said head coach Cassandra Goodson. “She had a remarkable season, from wining the UF invite against a strong field to conference champion and then All-Region team. I'm so proud of Kelly for her development as a runner and as a person."
Below is a complete list of all the 2013-14 nominees, in addition to a list of all-time award winners.
Sarah Hansen – Basketball
Whitney Knight – Basketball
Kelly Perzanowski – Cross Country
Emma Blackwell – Soccer
Brittany Brown – Soccer
Ally Kasun – Soccer
Paulina Speckmaier – Soccer
Tabby Tindell – Soccer
Kelsey Carpenter – Softball
Chelsea Zgrabik – Softball
Lani Cabrera – Swimming & Diving
Emma Svensson – Swimming & Diving
Kira Toussaint – Swimming & Diving
Karen Vilorio – Swimming & Diving
Candela Munoz – Tennis
Mike Murray – Baseball
Jake Noll – Baseball
Michael Suchy – Baseball
Brett Comer – Basketball
Bernard Thompson – Basketball
Felipe DeSousa – Soccer
Aaron Guillen – Soccer
Henry Penagos – Soccer
Jordi Vives – Tennis
FGCU MOST OUTSTANDING STUDENT-ATHLETE AWARD WINNERS
2013-14 – Mike Murray (Baseball)/Jordi Vives (M. Tennis) & Kira Toussaint (Swimming)/Kelly Perzanowski (W. Cross Country)
2012-13 – Sherwood Brown (M. Basketball) & Sarah Hansen (W. Basketball)
2011-12 – Ricky Knapp (Baseball) & Sarah Hansen (W. Basketball)
2010-11 – Adam Glick (M. Soccer) & Shannon Murphy (W. Basketball)/Courtney Platt (Softball)
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)
In just seven years as a Division-I member, FGCU has won a combined 36 conference regular season and tournament titles as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference and Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association. In just three years of D-I postseason eligibility, FGCU has made 14 total NCAA Championship appearances. Ticket information for upcoming events is available by calling 239.590.7145. Additional results and schedule information is available at FGCUAthletics.com. Follow us on Twitter (@FGCUEagles), Facebook (/FGCUAthletics), Instagram (@FGCUAthletics) and YouTub