Texas A&M senior swimmer Sarah Gibson became the school’s first recipient of the Southeastern Conference’s prestigious H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced on Thursday. University of Alabama swimmer Anton McKee was named the male recipient of the honor.
“I’m so proud to represent this amazing university one last time,” said Gibson, who finished her illustrious career with 15 All-America citations. “Texas A&M has provided me with many opportunities, both in and out of the pool. So much of who I am today is a direct reflection of the environment of the team and the school alike. Although it’s hard to leave this kind of experience behind, I am confident that much more awaits this unique program.”
The two were chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from SEC universities and each will receive a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by AT&T, an SEC Corporate Sponsor. McKee and Gibson will be honored at the annual SEC Awards Dinner during the SEC Spring Meetings in Sandestin, Fla., in early June.
“Anton and Sarah are amazing young people who are an inspiration for their commitment to the complete student-athlete experience of success in competition and excellence in the classroom,” Sankey said. “Each of them are All-Americans in the pool and 4.0 students in the classroom, making them the ideal recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Award, the highest individual honor a student-athlete can achieve in the Southeastern Conference. Anton and Sarah personify the highest of standards in the SEC for their combination of academics and athletics and I congratulate them and the institutions they proudly represent.”
Gibson, a Biomedical Engineering major who will graduate in May with a perfect 4.0 GPA as a President’s Endowed Scholar at Texas A&M, is a three-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar-Athlete, four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a first-team Academic All-American, a seven-time SEC Champion and 15-time All-American. She helped the Aggies to back-to-back SEC team titles in 2016 and 2017, as well as the program’s highest team finish at the NCAA Championships earlier this spring (third).
Named the 2017 SEC Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women’s swimming and diving, she won the Swimmer of the Meet Award and the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy as the high point scorer at the 2017 SEC Championships, taking individual titles in the 100 and 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle.
She earned first-team All-American honors in the 100 and 200 fly at the NCAA Championships in 2017 and she swam on all five of the Aggies’ relays in NCAA Championships, including two runner-up finishes.
In international competition, she earned three medals at the 2016 FINA Short Course World Championships in fall of 2016, including golds with Team USA’s 200 and 400 medley relays.
McKee, a Management Information Systems major at Alabama with a perfect GPA of 4.0, is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, and the 2016 CoSIDA At-Large Team Academic All-American of the Year.
An 11-time All-American for the Crimson Tide, he was the 2017 SEC champion in the 200 breaststroke and the NCAA runner-up in the same event. He helped lead Alabama to three consecutive NCAA top-10 finishes, marking the first time Alabama has posted a trio of top-10 finishes in a row since 1981-83.
McKee set the SEC record on the way to winning the 2014 SEC 200 breaststroke title and is the Alabama record holder in the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 200 individual medley and as part of the 400 medley relay.
He competed for Iceland at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he posted a top-20 finish in the 200 breaststroke. At the 2015 FINA World Championships, he recorded top-20 finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, setting the Icelandic national record in both events.
McKee and Gibson were selected from a pool of candidates made up of nominees from each of the SEC’s 14 institutions. The 26 remaining male and female finalists for the award will receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship.
The 13 male finalists: Brooks Ellis, Arkansas (football); Joe Patching, Auburn (swimming); Elliott Orkin, Florida (tennis); Brandon Young, Georgia (basketball); Kyle Higgins, Kentucky (swimming); Logan Rysemus, LSU (swimming); Craig Engels, Ole Miss (track & field); Richie Brown, Mississippi State (football); Sean Culkin, Missouri (football); Jonathan Boland, South Carolina (swimming); Sunay Bhat, Tennessee (tennis); Jeffrey Prothro, Texas A&M (track & field); Jacob Van Geffen, Vanderbilt (cross country).
The 13 female finalists: Krystal Rivers, Alabama (volleyball); Lindsey Mayo, Arkansas (soccer); Kasey Cooper, Auburn (softball); Betsy Middleton, Florida (soccer); Chantal Van Landeghem, Georgia (swimming); Danielle Galyer, Kentucky (swimming); Sydney Ewing, LSU (gymnastics); Aubrey Edie, Ole Miss (volleyball); Dominique Dillingham, Mississippi State (basketball); Lauren Reedy, Missouri (diving); Chelsea Drennan, South Carolina (soccer); Kira Toussaint, Tennessee (swimming); Skyler Carpenter, Vanderbilt (track & field).
1986 – John Young, Tennessee (track) and Virginia Diederich, Georgia (swimming)
1987 – Jeff Noblin, Ole Miss (football) and Julie Estin, Alabama (gymnastics)
1988 – Danny Hoskins, Ole Miss (football) and Linda Leith, Georgia (swimming)
1989 – Mikael Olander, LSU (track) and Deanne Burnett, Georgia (swimming)
1990 – Burke Masters, Mississippi State (baseball) and Janice Kerr, Florida (gymnastics)
1991 – Al Parker, Georgia (tennis) and Patty Wiegand, Tennessee (track and cross country)
1992 – Jeff Laubenthal, Alabama (baseball) and Jenifer Kleyn, Auburn (volleyball)
1993 – Lang Wiseman, Tennessee (basketball) and Aimee York, Mississippi State (volleyball)
1994 – Peter Duitsman, South Carolina (soccer) and Tammy Newlon, Mississippi State (basketball)
1995 – Michael Blanchard, LSU (football) and April Ecke, Mississippi State (cross country)
1996 – Martin Nyberg, LSU (swimming) and Michelle Palmisano, Vanderbilt (basketball)
1997 – Andrew DeVooght, Georgia (swimming) and Meredith Willard, Alabama (gymnastics)
1998 – Jeremy Jackson, Mississippi State (baseball) and Shani Abshier, South Carolina (volleyball)
1999 – Jeff Zurcher, Kentucky (football) and Jessica Field, Arkansas (volleyball)
2000 – Joey Pitts, Georgia (tennis) and Lisette Lee, LSU (golf)
2001 – Scott Westerfield, Mississippi State (football) and Kim Black, Georgia (swimming)
2002 – Trey Dyson, South Carolina (baseball) and Tiffany Woolley, Arkansas (softball)
2003 – Matt Bonner, Florida (basketball) and Kristin Sterner, Alabama (gymnastics)
2004 – Caesar Garcia, Auburn (swimming & diving) and Lauren Imwalle, Alabama (soccer)
2005 – Rob Robertson, Ole Miss (football) and Lauryn McCalley, Tennessee (swimming & diving)
2006 – Rudy Niswanger, LSU (football) and Sarah Lowe, Florida (basketball)
2007 – Emeel Salem, Alabama (baseball) and Erika Schneble, Vanderbilt (track & field)
2008 – Joseph Sykora, Alabama (golf) and Kristen Hastrup, Auburn (swimming & diving)
2009 – Bram ten Berge, Ole Miss (tennis) and Christine Magnuson, Tennessee (swimming & diving)
2010 – Jordan Anderson, Auburn (swimming & diving) and Phoebe Wright, Tennessee (track & field)
2011 – Dan Mazzaferro, Auburn (swimming & diving) and Erica Meissner, Auburn (swimming & diving)
2012 – Michael Roth, South Carolina (baseball) and Wendy Trott, Georgia (swimming & diving)
2013 – Barrett Jones, Alabama (football) and Chelsea Oswald, Kentucky (track & field/cross country)
2014 – Cory Whitsett, Alabama (golf) and Shannon Vreeland, Georgia (swimming)
2015 – Nathanael Franks, Arkansas (track & field) and Maddie Locus, Georgia (swimming)
2016 – Forrest Gamble, Ole Miss (golf) and Haylie McCleney, Alabama (softball)
News courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics.