Baez, Makantasi named The Grove Student-Athletes of the Year for 2020-21

TSU Sports Information

STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton Athletics has announced that Kevin Baez of Tarleton Cross Country and Track and Field and Martha Makantasi of Tarleton Tennis are the recipients of the fourth-annual Tarleton Student-Athletes of the Year award, presented by The Grove.

Tarleton Athletics has announced that Kevin Baez of Tarleton Cross Country and Track and Field and Martha Makantasi of Tarleton Tennis are the recipients of the fourth-annual Tarleton Student-Athletes of the Year award, presented by The Grove.

"I am so proud of the leadership displayed by Kevin and Martha during our last season," said Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Lonn Reisman. "These student-athletes showed tremendous poise in the face of adversity and were excellent ambassadors for Tarleton State University in our first year of NCAA Division I transition. I could not be more proud of their accomplishments.

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.

Baez delivered the finest performance in a conference championship race for Tarleton in over a decade in the Texans' first-ever Western Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships appearance on Jan. 29. The Vanderbilt, Texas native crossed the finish line in 25:04 on the 8k course to place 10th. In doing so, Baez clocked the fastest time in a conference championship meet since 2009. In the process, Baez also made history as the first athlete in Tarleton's WAC and Division I era to receive All-Conference recognition.

Prior to the conference championships, Baez posted the highest individual finish of any athlete during Tarleton's COVID-condensed cross country season at the Incarnate Word Invitational. There, he took sixth place and set an 8k personal record of 24:43.20. Baez then challenged a trio of outdoor school records during the Texans' inaugural Division I track and field season. He finished 10th in the 10k (32:07.45) at the WAC Championships in May and came within 16 seconds of breaking Tarleton's all-time record in the event. Earlier in the spring, he notched personal records in the 1,500m (3:56.11) and 5k (15:00.43). Baez now ranks eighth in school history in all three events.

Makantasi was a spectacular 16-2 on the season between No. 2 and 3 flights and was 5-1 in league play. Her 16 wins in singles is the most by a Texan since 2013, putting her alongside the 2013 LSC Player of the Year Karla Martinez. She earned second-team All-WAC recognition in doubles play and honorable mention All-WAC honors in singles. After going unfinished and dropping the first two matches of her collegiate career, Makantasi turned things around and set the tone for her dominant season. She put together a conference-best nine-match winning streak over the next two months of the season and then ended the season with seven straight victories.

The Grove is a fully furnished apartment complex in Stephenville catered to the students of Tarleton State University. They will be the title sponsor of the Student-Athlete of the Month awards for the 2020-21 season.