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McDougal Wins Sparky for Best Male Athlete

August 25, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Josh McDougal, shown above winning the 2007 NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championship, captured the Sparky for Best Male Athlete. (Photo courtesy AP/Wide World Photos)

Josh McDougal, shown above winning the 2007 NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championship, captured the Sparky for Best Male Athlete. (Photo courtesy AP/Wide World Photos)

Senior Josh McDougal's narrow, one-second triumph over Oregon's Galen Rupp at the 2007 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships helped him garner a convincing victory in the voting for the 2008 Best Male Athlete Sparky.
McDougal's first career NCAA national title previously won the Sparky for Best Individual Performance. The national championship was one of three All-America honors McDougal garnered as a senior, bringing his career total to 14. The Peru, N.Y., native also finished fifth in the 5,000 meters and sixth in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

McDougal won his fourth consecutive Big South cross country title and won the mile and 3,000-meter races at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. He finished his career as a 17-time Big South individual champion and became the first three-time winner of the Big South Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year award.

Despite battling injury during track & field season, McDougal posted a pair of speedy 5,000-meter times. His 13:45.16 indoor clocking ranked second in the world for the 2007-08 season. Additionally, McDougal's 13:37.13 effort at the Mt. SAC Relays, the second-fastest time of his career, ranked No. 6 on the NCAA outdoor year-end performance list. To read more about McDougal's stellar senior year, click here.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps were the two individual stars of the recently completed Olympics. Similarly, McDougal and freshman women's tennis standout Jordan Jenkins stole the show during the 2008 Sparkys, as each captured a pair of awards.

Liberty's 2008-09 athletics season begins in earnest this weekend, with the football, volleyball and men's and women's soccer squads all in action. Keep your eyes open for potential candidates for the 2009 Sparkys as you cheer on the Flames and Lady Flames.

2008 Sparky Winners
Biggest Win – Winner: Wrestling team's second consecutive NCAA East Regional Championship (March 9, 2008)
Best Individual Performance – Winner: Josh McDougal's NCAA National Cross Country Championship (Nov. 19, 2007)
Best Newcomer – Winner: Jordan Jenkins (Women's Tennis)
Best Female Athlete – Winner: Jordan Jenkins (Women's Tennis)
Best Male Athlete – Winner: Josh McDougal (Men's Cross Country/Track & Field)

Year-by-Year Winners of the Sparky for Best Male Athlete
2007: Larry Blair (Men's Basketball)
2008: Josh McDougal (Men's Cross Country/Track & Field)