Arizona senior swimmer Justine Schluntz, who is racking up awards this post-season, is a finalist to win another one. In addition to being named to the Pac-10 Academic All-Conference team, winning the Swimmers Circle’s NCAA Student-Athlete of the Year Award, 3 NCAA Honorable Mention All-American Awards, 4 NCAA All-American Awards, 2 NCAA Champion Medley Relays, a Robie Medal (given to just 3 Arizona undergraduates) and a Rhodes Scholarship, Schluntz has been named one of 6 finalists for the highly prestigious Walter Byers Scholarship.
The award, which was established in 1988 to honor former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers, grants a $24,000 postgraduate scholarship two one male and one female finalist who excelled both academically and athletically. Given the vast number of NCAA athletes, to be named one of the 6 finalists (3 male and 3 female) is an enormous accomplishment.
While studying at Oxford University in England as part of the Rhodes Scholarship program, Schluntz plans to pursue the viability of using tidal waters as a renewable source of energy.
From the NCAA website:
Recipients of the award must have a 3.5 grade-point average (4.0 scale), demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development.
The 6 finalists for the award were:
- Melissa Bellomy, volleyball, Seton Hall
- Joshua Mahoney, football, Northern Iowa
- Brian Morrell, baseball, Eastern Illinois
- Michael Nixon, football, Arizona State
- Justine Schluntz, swimming and diving, Arizona
- Katherine Theisen, cross country/track and field, St. Thomas (Minnesota)
Last year’s male recipient of the award was Schluntz’s fellow Wildcat Craig Sheedy, who was an Arizona diver. The women’s award winner last year was Amy Massey, a soccer player at USC.
Out of the 42 awards given, 4 have been given to swimmers. This includes Carla Ainsworth of Kenyon College in 1995, Matthew Busbee of Auburn in 2000, Kimberly Black of Georgia in 2001, and Sarah Dance of Truman State in 2005.