Tarleton honors four as Student-Athletes of Year
Due to the unfortunate shortening of the spring season, the athletic administration staff at Tarleton State University has extended its third annual Student-Athlete of the Year Award from two recipients to four to recognize standout athletes from those who completed full seasons and those who had their springs ended early.
Brant Bailey (Football), Blake Burns (Baseball), Mackenzie Hailey (Women's Basketball) and Jordan Withrow (Softball) have been named The Grove Student-Athletes of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
"This has been one of the most unique years in the history of college athletics but we're so proud of the leadership on and off the field of competition that each of these student-athletes have displayed," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lonn Reisman. "Obviously, this is an award that we take very seriously within the athletic department and we view it as the highest honor that a Tarleton Athletics student-athlete can receive because it not only measures the value of the player in competition, but their dedication to the classroom and in the community.
"Our hearts were broken for the student-athletes that lost their chance to compete in the spring," he added. "We wanted to recognize, not only the student-athletes who completed a full season, but those who were leading the way through the spring before it ended. As a department, we are incredibly proud of all four of these student-athletes and there is no doubt they will make Tarleton State University proud in all of their future endeavors."
To be eligible for the Student-Athlete of the Year award, the athletes must have been awarded with a Student-Athlete of the Month award during their season of competition, in addition to maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher and staying in good academic standing. The student-athletes must also be active in the community and adhere to the university core values, as well as the policies of the athletic department and their respective teams.
All four student-athletes will be recognized at select home events when collegiate athletics resumes.
Bailey earned Lone Star Conference All-Conference honors for the fourth time in his career. Bailey helped lead Tarleton to a second straight undefeated LSC Championship while being ranked in the top 5 in the AFCA poll. As a blocking tight end, Bailey helped the Tarleton offense average 531 yards per game, which ranked second in the nation. He also hauled in 11 receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
Hailey claimed D2CCA second team all-region, the third time she was named all-region in her four-year career. She was also first team all-conference for the third straight year while leading the Texans to a 21-8 record. Hailey averaged 16 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.8 steals. She finished her career with 1,880 career points, which ranks second all-time in program history and the most in the NCAA era.
Burns was on pace to rewrite the Texan baseball record books before the season was canceled at the halfway point due to COVID-19. Burns led the team with 7 home runs and 31 RBI while hitting an LSC-leading .452 in just 24 games. Burns had an on-base percentage of .550 and was slugging .798 for an OPS of 1.348. Burns led the Texans in 12 offensive categories this season and the LSC in three categories.
Withrow led the Texans with a 12-3 record and a 1.63 ERA in 86 innings in a shortened season due to COVID-19. Withrow was leading the LSC in strikeouts with 106, as well as wins, batting average against (.158). During her career, Withrow set the school record for career wins and strikeouts. Withrow and the Texans were leading the LSC with a 19-4 record and 6-0 in conference while being ranked No. 20 in the NFCA poll. Withrow was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District this season. She ended her Tarleton career in style with a no-hitter over No. 2 UT Tyler in the final home start of her illustrious career.