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Liberty's Josh McDougal Grabs Big South's Top Honor By Being Named Howard Bagwell Male Athlete Of The Year
A final honor caps off another star-studded season for Liberty's track/cross country standout as Josh McDougal was named the Big South's Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year today by the league.
McDougal becomes the second Liberty male student-athlete to garner the award as baseball player Keith Butler was the recipient of the honor in 2000, snagging the first-ever Howard Bagwell Award. Three of Liberty's student-athletes have been named the Big South Female Athlete of the Year as Anthonia Akpama (volleyball/2000), Katie Feenstra (women's basketball/2004 and 2005) and Heather Sagan (track and field/2002) garnered the honor during their illustrious careers.
Along with McDougal, Radford's track and field athlete Tiffany Evans was honored today by the league as well as the junior was named the Big South Female Athlete of the Year. Both honorees were selected by the conference's athletics directors, senior woman administrators and sports information directors.
McDougal earned 102 points and 13 first-place votes in receiving the Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year award, ahead of Winthrop baseball standout Heath Rollins, who recorded 69 points and five first-place votes. Coastal Carolina golfer Dustin Johnson was third with 55 points and two first-place votes, followed by High Point ballplayer Mark Shorey with 39 points and three first-place votes.
Coastal Carolina basketball player Jack Leasure tallied 32 points, Radford tennis player Martin Sayer had 25 points, Charleston Southern football player Collin Drafts recorded 24 points, while Charleston Southern track standout Nathan Breland had 16 points and two first-place votes. Radford track athlete Brian Richotte had 15 points, CSU linebacker Jada Ross posted 10 points and Birmingham-Southern soccer player Thimo Langner had three points to round out the voting.
Evans becomes the first Radford student-athlete – male or female – to win the Big South's annual Athlete of the Year award. She received 92 points and eight first-place votes, finishing just ahead of Coastal Carolina softball player Meagen Johnson, who tallied 87 points and nine first-place votes. Coastal Carolina volleyball player Katherine Jensen-Spencer and High Point basketball player Katie O'Dell tied for third with 38 points, with O'Dell receiving three first-place votes.
Coastal Carolina cross country runner Ann Marie Moutsinga earned 32 points and two first-place votes, Radford softball pitcher Ashley Taylor totaled 24 points and UNC Asheville soccer player Hilary McKay had 20 points. Liberty track athlete Arlene Zelinskas garnered 17 points, followed by Winthrop track athlete Nicole Tucker's 16 points and Winthrop tennis player Ana Paula Noves' 14 points. Coastal Carolina track athlete Chasity Johnson and Birmingham-Southern golfer Emily Klein round out the voting for Female Athlete of the Year with 10 and two points, respectively.
McDougal, who was runner-up in the voting last year as a freshman, was the Big South's first-ever "triple crown" All-American, as he earned four All-America honors in 2005-06 (Cross Country, Indoor 3,000 meters, Indoor 5,000 meters and Outdoor 5,000 meters) and is a six-time All-American during his two-year collegiate career.
He was named Big South Track Athlete of the Year for the second-straight year (2005 and 2006) and is a two-time Big South Cross Country Runner of the Year (2004 and 2005), as well as the 2006 Big South Men's Indoor Track Performer of the Year. McDougal led Liberty to two Big South Championships this year (Cross Country and Indoor Track & Field), and won every cross country race of the year until the NCAA National Championship where he placed fourth.
He set a new course record with a time of 23:24 at the Stanford Invitational and 23:12.6 at Pre-Nationals, and was the NCAA Cross Country Regional champion with a course record time of 29:40.1. The Big South Indoor Track & Field champion in the mile and the 3,000 meters, McDougal nearly missed posting a sub- four minute mile with a time of 4:01.63 in the mile at Liberty's Last Chance Indoor Track Meet.
McDougal also was the IC4A Indoor Track champion with a time of 7:53.16 in the 3,000 meters, besting a course record that had stood since 1981, he also placed fifth in the 3,000 meters and fourth in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and was the Big South Outdoor champion in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:45.01.
In addition, he was the Penn Relays champion in the 5,000 meters with a time of 13:55.59 and the IC4A Outdoor Track champion in the 10,000 meters with a time of 29:21.13. McDougal also finished ninth overall and was the third best American in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a time of 14:24.17.
Evans, the 2005-06 Big South Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year, placed seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw to earn All-American honors, and a ranking of seventh in the nation, with a toss of 20.26 meters (66'05.75"). She took first in the weight throw at the 2006 Big South Indoor Championship with a distance of 19.35 meters (63'06.00"), setting a Conference record, and also took first in the shot put at the event, setting a new school record with a throw of 14.57 meters (47'09.75").
She was awarded Indoor Track Big South Athlete of the Week for her performance at the Virginia Tech Invitational with a throw of 19.34 meters (63'5.5") in the weight throw, as she marked her furthest throw at RU with a distance of 20.12 meters (66'0.00"). Evans captured first in the weight throw at the Virginia Tech Last Chance meet with 62'00.25" and placed fifth at UNC Fast Times in the shot put with 47'07.75".
She also captured Big South Track Athlete of the Week for her performance at the NCAA Championships, where she placed second in the shot put with a distance of 47'11.25". She was victorious in the hammer throw with a toss of 54.30 meters (178'02") at the RU Five Way Challenge, and at the same event, she took second in the shot put and discus with throws of 14.36 meters (47'01.50") and 41.08 meters (134'09"), respectively.
Evans set a Big South Conference and meet record at the Big South Championship in the shot put with a toss of 15.10 meters (49'06.25") and took the gold medal in the hammer throw with a distance of 57.17 meters. In addition, she placed third in the shot put at the 2006 Penn Relays with a toss of 14.79 meters, and took ninth in the hammer throw with a toss of 55.33 meters at the same event.
She also had a toss of 49'02.50" (15.00 meters) in the shot put to take sixth at the Georgia Tech Invitational, and placed eighth in the shot put with a throw of 14.97 meters (49'01.50") at the 2006 NCAA Regionals as well as 16th in the women's hammer throw with a toss of 52.82 meters at Regionals.
In March 2000, the Big South Conference Executive Committee voted to create an annual Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year award, and name the male award in honor of Howard Bagwell, one of the founders of the Big South Conference. The nominees consist of the Most Valuable Players from each sport for the regular season most recently completed.
Howard Bagwell Male Athlete Of The Year
2005-06 - Josh McDougal, Liberty (track & field)
2004-05 - Mike Costanzo, Coastal Carolina (baseball)
2003-04 - Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina (soccer)
2002-03 - Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina (soccer)
2001-02 - Justin Owens, Coastal Carolina (baseball)
2000-01 - Jason Colson, Winthrop (baseball)
1999-00 - Keith Butler, Liberty (baseball)
Female Athlete Of The Year
2005-06 - Tiffany Evans, Radford (track & field)
2004-05 - Katie Feenstra, Liberty (basketball)
2003-04 - Katie Feenstra, Liberty (basketball)
2002-03 - Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina (track & field)
2001-02 - Heather Sagan, Liberty (track & field)
2000-01 - Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina (track & field)1999-00 - Anthonia Akpama, Liberty (volleyball)