FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University will announce the 2010 Eagle Scholar-Athlete of the Year winner from a pool of three finalists during the athletic department’s annual Senior Send Off and Awards Ceremony Thursday night at the Student Union Ballroom.
Thursday’s ceremonies will begin at six o’clock with the hour-long Senior Send Off program, which is coordinated by the Eagles Council to recognize all of the graduating senior student-athletes. The Athletics Awards program immediately will follow Senior Send Off, approximately seven o’clock, and will include the presentation of the Community Service Award, Inspirational Award, the Carl McAloose Spirit Award, Scholar-Athlete Award, and Team Spirit Award. The Outstanding Athlete nominees will be announced Thursday’s evening as well.
The Scholar-Athlete Award is the highest honor FGCU bestows upon a graduating senior student-athlete and recognizes the ability of the winner to combine athletic and academic success with community service. The 2010 Scholar-Athlete Award finalists include baseball player Josh Chester (Weston, Fla./St. Petersburg College), women’s soccer’s Amber McCall (Fort Myers, Fla./Estero HS), and softball player Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla./Brevard CC).
A left-handed hitter for the two-time defending A-Sun Regular Season Champion baseball team, Chester has 30-plus multiple hit games as an Eagle has started in 88 of the 89 games that the team has played since he put on a FGCU uniform. He batted .289 with 63 hits, 15 doubles, one triple, six homeruns, and 50 RBI as a junior and is currently hitting .353 with nine doubles, two homers, and 38 RBI. As a junior, Chester, who has led the Blue and Green to a 59-30 record over the last two seasons, set an FGCU record, hitting in 24 straight games (during the streak, he batted .378 with 42 hits, eight doubles, six homeruns, and 36 RBI).
Majoring in accounting, Chester carried a 3.4 cumulative grade point average into his final semester at FGCU this spring. He has earned A-Sun All-Academic honors in two consecutive seasons and has had three semesters with a GPA of 3.32 or better. Among his many community service activities, Chester participates in the Pinewoods Elementary School Reading Days and Special Olympic charity whiffle ball games.
A three-time team captain on the women’s soccer team, McCall helped the Eagles to a 32-16-6 record in her collegiate career. She started in every game she played in for the program (54) and finishes her career as FGCU’s all-time leader in goals (24) and points (57), while also registering nine assists. A three-time Atlantic Sun First Team All-Conference performer, McCall was an A-Sun All-Academic honoree in three consecutive seasons.
A criminal justice major, McCall owns a 3.28 cumulative GPA and has achieved a 3.14 GPA or better in five semesters. She was named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in the Fall semester. She has worked numerous soccer clinics thoughtout the community over the past two years, assisted with Relay for Life and has made trips with her teammates to the Children’s Hospital to read and do arts and crafts with the kids.
A speedy outfielder for the FGCU softball team that was ranked as high as 18th in the nation last season, Ziegler is batting .331, second-highest on the team, with 58 hits, 32 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. Her 58 hits lead the conference and her 24 stolen bases rank her second in the A-Sun. An All-Atlantic Sun First Team in her first season at FGCU (2009), Ziegler finished the 2009 season with a .388 batting average, a .444 on-base percentage, 26 stolen bases, and 62 runs scored. In her two seasons as the left fielder for the Eagles, Ziegler has helped FGCU to a 69-37 record.
A public relations major, Ziegler boasts a 3.69 cumulative GPA. She has earned A-Sun All-Academic honors on two occasions. Ziegler has achieved a 3.5 or better gpa in each of her three terms at FGCU and will graduate Cum Laude in a few weeks. She has served as a camp counselor for numerous softball camps and clinics. Among her additional community service efforts, she has given softball lessons (free of charge) and has made presentations to middle/high school students on the importance of staying in school.