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Walker Earns Big South's Christenberry Award

May 5, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Wrestler Patrick Walker has been named this year’s male recipient of the George A. Christenberry Award for academic excellence.

Wrestler Patrick Walker has been named this year's male recipient of the George A. Christenberry Award for academic excellence.

Wrestler Patrick Walker has been named this year's male recipient of the George A. Christenberry Award for academic excellence, given annually to the Big South Conference graduating student-athlete who attains the highest grade point average during a collegiate career.

Walker completed his college career this past season, posting a 12-5 overall record and a 9-3 mark in dual matches for the Flames' wrestling program. Spotlighting the Newark, Del., native's 2008-09 season was a 4-3 decision over No. 16 Nate Everhart of Indiana at the Hoosier Duals and a fourth-place finish at the 2008 Nittany Lion Open.

The heavyweight finished his career with a 72-24 overall mark, compiled during three seasons of competition, which places him in the Flames' Bronze Medal Club. He was a two-time national qualifier (2007 and 2008) and finished his time on the mat with a 46-6 dual meet mark, to go along with 21 career pins.

Walker will be graduating this May with a 3.94 cumulative GPA in pastoral leadership, which he hopes to use in ministry after graduation. During his career, Walker was named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll twice.

Last year, Walker was selected as a member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic Team, while the Flames finished No. 3 national as a squad on the NWCA 2007-08 All-Academic Wrestling Team listing.

Just recently, NCAA honored 767 Division I sports team that earned multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squad in their respective sports. The Flames' wrestling program was one of two Liberty programs on the list, along with the women's basketball team.

Even though wrestling is not a sport sponsored by the Big South Conference, the league has made it standard practice to honor all student-athletes at member institutions with its annual academic honors, allowing Walker to be eligible for the conference's premium student-athlete academic honor.

Walker is the fifth male Liberty student-athlete to receive the prestigious honor and the first since 2006, when men's soccer player Daniel Darnell shared that year's award with Charleston Southern football player Adam DeGraffenreid.

In 2004, a pair of Flames shared the honor as track and field athlete Jeremy Graves and men's basketball player Mats Persson were two of four Christenberry Award honorees. Karl Shoemaker was Liberty's first male award recipient, taking home the award in 1993 after a four-year career on the baseball team.

Liberty has also had five female student-athletes take home the league's elite academic honor: Lora Randolph (track and field, 1997), Holly Deem (track and field/1998), Cathy Williams (cross country/track and field, 1999), Brooke Garman (women's tennis, 2003) and Danielle McNaney (track and field, 2005).

Male Recipients
2008-09 -- Patrick Walker, Liberty
2007-08 -- Kevin Sullivan, VMI
2006-07 -- Anthony Franklin, Coastal Carolina
Kellen Taylor, Winthrop
2005-06 -- Adam DeGraffenreid, Charleston Southern
Daniel Darnell, Liberty
2004-05 -- Ty Denby, VMI
2003-04 -- Keith Garramone, Coastal Carolina
Jeremy Graves, Liberty
Jeff Kolhagen, Charleston Southern
Mats Persson, Liberty
2002-03 -- Kevin Burch, High Point
2001-02 -- Mirko Mandic, Charleston Southern
2000-01 -- Peter Mellstrom, High Point
1999-00 -- Brian Hanczaryk, Winthrop
1998-99 -- Jim Gardas, Charleston Southern
1997-98 -- Corey Reed, Radford
1996-97 -- Tomas Malik, Coastal Carolina
1995-96 -- Ralf Melis, UNC Asheville
1994-95 -- Darren McDonough, UNC Greensboro
1993-94 -- Philip Wilson, UNC Greensboro
1992-93 -- Karl Shoemaker, Liberty
1991-92 -- Ronald Ohrel, Coastal Carolina
1990-91 -- Bjorki Johannesson, Coastal Carolina
1989-90 -- Thomas Henderup, Coastal Carolina
1988-89 -- Kevin Futrell, Charleston Southern
1987-88 -- Thomas Drake, Coastal Carolina
1986-87 -- Herbert Jolley, Coastal Carolina
1985-86 -- Donald Pokorny, Coastal Carolina

Female Recipients
2008-09 – Alexandra Spector, Radford
Marcie Veitch, Radford
Patrica Coimbra, Winthrop
2007-08 -- Felicitas Mensing, Coastal Carolina
Cassandra Price, Radford
Pohai Nu'uhiwa, Winthrop
2006-07 -- Leslie Cook, High Point
2005-06 -- Brittany Nelson, Coastal Carolina
Natasha Lucki, UNC Asheville
Erica Devine, Winthrop
2004-05 -- Danielle McNaney, Liberty
2003-04 -- Laura Terebey, Radford
2002-03 -- Jennifer Pritchard, Winthrop
Kara Koppel, Coastal Carolina
Brooke Garman, Liberty
2001-02 -- Kimberly Belcastro, Charleston Southern
2000-01 -- Mirva Maenpaa, High Point
1999-00 -- Maya Latinvic, High Point
1998-99 -- Allison Arreola, Charleston Southern
Cathy Williams, Liberty
1997-98 -- Holly Deem, Liberty
1996-97 -- Lora Randolph, Liberty

1995-96 -- Dede Logemann, Radford
1994-95 -- Mary K. Dantzler, Charleston Southern
1993-94 -- Samantha Gilbert, Radford
1992-93 -- Andrea Boda, Campbell
1991-92 -- Juliann Campbell, Radford
1990-91 -- Kay Breininger, Winthrop
1989-90 -- Maria Loo, Augusta
1988-89 -- Lucynda Hicks, Campbell
1987-88 -- Stephanie Maddox, Augusta
1986-87 -- Carol Wynne, Campbell