FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU Department of Athletics proudly unveiled its four finalists for the prestigious 2011 Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award on Monday. The winner will be announced during the athletic department’s annual Senior Send Off and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 26 at the Student Union Ballroom.
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 (minimum 3.20 grade-point average) with community service. The 2011 Scholar-Athlete Award finalists include baseball player Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central), swimmer Viktoria Hyddmark (Lund, Sweden/Polhemskolah), women’s basketball and volleyball player Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich./Pinckney) and softball player Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast).
The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. with the hour-long Senior Send Off program, which is coordinated by the Eagles Council, recognizing the graduating senior student-athletes. For the first time in program history, varsity letters will be bestowed upon the members of the senior class. The Athletics Awards program will immediately follow and include the presentation of the Community Service Award, Most Inspirational Award, the Carl McAloose Spirit Award, Team Spirit Award and the Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award. The Most Outstanding Male & Female Athlete finalists will be announced that evening as well, with the eventual winners determined after the 2010-11 seasons are all complete.
“Each of these four quality individuals epitomizes the definition of Scholar-Athlete. Moreover, they have been culled from an overall tremendous group of senior leaders and contributors throughout their FGCU careers,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “From success in their chosen academic pursuits and their roles as contributors to various community service initiatives to playing lead roles on championship squads, as well as establishing season and career marks and being tabbed multiple times to their respective sports all-conference teams, this quartet of Eagles have certainly left FGCU in better shape than it was before their arrivals.”
A left-handed hitter for the three-time Atlantic Sun Regular Season Champion baseball team, Alvarez is a four-year starter and ranks second all-time in career starts with 190. He is a two-time A-Sun All-Conference selection and earned All-Tournament honors in 2010. The West Palm Beach, Fla., native owns a .356 career batting average on the strength of 280 hits which rank second all-time on the strength of 85 multi-hit games. As a junior, Alvarez set a program single-season record for hits with 99 thanks to a .409 batting average. The second baseman has delivered a hit in 157 of 192 career games, while ranking second in the FGCU record book in runs scored (180), seventh in doubles (39) and second in walks (123). Majoring in sports management, Alvarez carries a cumulative 3.40 grade-point average (GPA) into the spring semester. He is a three-time Atlantic Sun Scholar Athlete and Dean’s List honoree. Among Alvarez’ various community service projects, he has participated in FGCU campus trail clean-ups and student-athlete meet and greets, as well as Pinewoods Reading Days and Toys for Tots.
A four-time Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) honoree, Hyddmark has been part of three straight CCSA champion swimming & diving teams. She owns FGCU records in both the 100 and 200 backstroke and has recorded two NCAA qualifying times. Hyddmark placed first in her three individual events as well as four relay teams in her first year of competition at the conference championship en route to being named the Most Outstanding Swimmer, Most Outstanding Freshman and Rookie of the Year honor. She set the CCSA record in the 200 backstroke in her sophomore season and picked up second-place finishes in the 100 back, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. In 2010, she placed second in the 100 and 200 back, while making the NCAA ‘B’ cut finals. Closing out her career, Hyddmark took first in both the 100 and 200 back and was part of the first-place 200 medley relay team in 2011.
Graduating with a bachelor’s of science in biotechnology with a double minor in biology and chemistry, Hyddmark has already been accepted to the Ph.D. program at the University of Florida and carries a GPA of 3.98. The three-time CCSA All-Academic honoree presented a genetics study at the FGCU Annual Research Day in 2009 and then again in 2010, with a study on a plant-based diabetes medication. The Sweden native earned a spot on the President’s List (4.0 GPA) four times and earned Who’s Who recognition in 2009. Besides working with Peer tutoring within FGCU, Hyddmark has worked with the American Cancer Society, Koreshan State Historic Site and the Panther Posse Challenge, which taught children about panthers and water conservation.
A two-time captain of the women’s basketball, McNally turned her attention to volleyball this fall as a five-year student-athlete. She was a member of the 2006-07 women’s basketball team that was the Division II national runner-pp, while participating in the WNIT in each of the team’s first three years in Division I (2007-10). The Howell, Mich., native was a two-time Atlantic Sun All-Conference honoree and garnered the FGCU Carl McAloose Spirit Award in 2010. McNally is FGCU’s all-time leader in career points (1,415), field goals made (498), free throws made (365), rebounds (658), games played (128) and games started (118). She became the program’s second 1,000-point scorer during the 2009-10 season. In her fifth year of eligibility as a member of the volleyball team, she finished third on the team in kills (133) and fifth in digs (110).
McNally has been an A-Sun Scholar Athlete four times and earned an FGCU Scholar-Athlete Award for the 2008-09 academic year. She graduated with a bachelor’s of science in nursing with a 3.27 GPA and is currently enrolled in the health sciences graduate program with a 3.66 GPA. McNally has participated in on-campus events such as wheel chair basketball, the Ronald McDonald House and Read Across America, while also working with the Fort Myers Special Equestrian program and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southwest Florida at Pinewoods Elementary.
A speedy outfielder for the FGCU softball team, Platt currently leads the A-Sun with a .408 average, 43 runs scored, 15 doubles and a .585 on-base percentage. She is a three-time A-Sun All-Conference outfielder and earned Louisville Slugger/NFCA South All-Region first team honors in 2009. The Naples, Fla., product tops the FGCU record book in walks (171), is second in on-base percentage (.513), fifth in home runs (26), RBI (127) and triples (9). She currently ranks fifth in the nation in walks (49), a figure that leads the team and conference. Platt led the 2010 squad with nine home runs and 12 doubles, while posting a .311 batting average.
A biology major with an organism and ecological concentration, Platt has a 3.22 GPA and has earned A-Sun Scholar-Athlete honors on two occasions. She has served as a camp counselor for numerous softball camps and clinics. Among her additional community service efforts, she has been involved in Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), a group that teaches sustainable and cost-efficient means of attaining food and water in developing countries, and LARC, Inc., a care center for adults with mental disabilities. Platt was involved with the Society to Protect Animal Young - Legislation, Education, Enforcement Inc. (S.P.A.Y.-L.E.E. Inc), volunteering in foster homes for dogs.