Josh McDougal, an 11-time All-American, has captured the Big South Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive time.
Liberty junior Josh McDougal, who captured five All-America honors during the 2006-07 cross country and track & field seasons, has been voted the 2006-07 Big South Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year for the second straight time, the conference announced today.
McDougal (Peru, N.Y.), now an 11-time All-American, becomes the second male student-athlete to win back-to-back Howard Bagwell Awards since the program's inception in 2000. Coastal Carolina soccer standout Joseph Ngwenya was the first to do so, taking the 2003 and 2004 awards.
McDougal and four other Liberty student-athletes have combined to win seven of the 16 Big South Athlete of the Year awards distributed since 2000. Baseball player Keith Butler won the first-ever Howard Bagwell Award, in 2000. Meanwhile, Anthonia Akpama (volleyball/2000), Katie Feenstra (women's basketball/2004 and 2005) and Heather Sagan (track & field/2002) each garnered the Big South Female Athlete of the Year distinction during their respective careers.
Along with McDougal, Coastal Carolina freshman women's golfer Aruka Felgueroso was honored today as the 2006-07 Big South Female Athlete of the Year. Both student-athletes were selected by the conference's athletics directors, senior woman administrators and sports information directors. McDougal earned 88 points and 10 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Coastal Carolina golf All-American Dustin Johnson, who tallied 73 points and seven first-place votes. Coastal Carolina football player Tyler Thigpen was third in the voting with 56 points and one first-place vote, followed by High Point basketball player Arizona Reid (27 points, two first-place votes). Radford tennis player Martin Sayer received 20 points to round out the top five male vote-getters.
Felgueroso becomes the first Big South golfer – male or female – to win the Big South's annual Student-Athlete of the Year award. In a very close vote, she received 44 points and four first-place votes, edging out Liberty softball player Jessica Moore (Sr., Chesapeake, Va.), who finished with 43 points and two first-place votes. Liberty track & field athlete Arlene Zelinskas (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) was third with 42 points (four first-place votes) and 2005-06 Big South Female Student-Athlete of the Year Tiffany Evans from Radford was fourth with 41 points (two first-place votes). Winthrop volleyball standout Taryn Surbaugh finished fifth in the voting with 33 points and received three first-place votes.
McDougal was recognized by the Big South quite frequently during the 2006-07 academic year. For the third consecutive year, the Empire State native won the Big South Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year award. He was voted the Big South Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year for the third time and repeated as the Big South Men's Outstanding Track Performer indoors. The junior received 10 Big South Athlete of the Week awards during the year (three cross country, four indoor track & field, three outdoor track & field). McDougal was also recently honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as the Southeast District Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
McDougal capped off a solid 2006 cross country season with a 27th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, which was good for All-America status. His year also included individual victories at the Roy Griak Invitational and Pre-Nationals. The junior crossed the finish line first at the Big South Cross Country Championships for the third year in succession, helping the Flames win the team conference title for the second season in a row. He has won 17 of 21 career cross country races at Liberty and has set 11 course records.
During the 2006-07 indoor track campaign, McDougal won two more All-America distinctions, placing third at 3,000 meters and eighth at 5,000 meters at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. Just five days before the national meet, McDougal blazed to a winning time of 13:37.32 in the 5,000-meter final at the IC4A Championships in Boston. The effort, then a personal best, represented the fastest 5K time in the world during the indoor season. McDougal additionally won the Big South indoor mile and 3,000-meter championships, helping the Flames capture the conference team title for the 10th straight time.
McDougal then enjoyed the finest outdoor track season of his career, setting personal bests in the 1,500 meters, mile, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, and claiming another pair of All-America recognitions. At the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, McDougal placed third at 10,000 meters and finished fourth at 5,000 meters, despite being the only male to attempt the distance double at the meet.
The junior clocked a 13:20.43 for 5,000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 13, which makes him the No. 5 all-time collegiate performer in the event. It also held up as the fastest collegiate performance in the nation this year by nearly 10 seconds. McDougal had opened his year with a bang less than two weeks prior to his stellar 5K effort, joining the sub-4:00 mile club with a time of 3:57.46 on his home track at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex. He ran the 10,000 meters at Stanford's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in 28:27.65 on April 29, cutting 22 seconds off his previous best.
McDougal's season also featured a pair of impressive triples. He was victorious in the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000-meter races at the Big South and IC4A Championship meets, enabling Liberty to win both of the events' team titles. McDougal became the first athlete in 36 years to sweep the 5,000 and 10,000-meter crowns at the IC4A meet, winning the latter race less than a half hour after the conclusion of the 5,000. Later in the meet, he became the first athlete in the 131-year history of the IC4A Championships to add a 1,500-meter title to the long-distance double, doing so in a school-record time of 3:44.56.
Felgueroso was named an Honorable Mention All-America by Golfweek, becoming the Big South's first women's golf All-American in 10 years. She is just the second women's golfer in Big South history to win Golfer of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season (Winthrop's Janice Roberts in 1998), and was a unanimous selection for the Freshman award.
Felgueroso earned an at-large individual berth to the NCAA East Regionals – the Big South's first such honor since 2001, and tied for 13th with a 2-under par 214 (68-70-76), falling just short of qualifying for the national meet as an individual. Felgueroso finished runner-up at the PUPS Big South Women's Golf Championship with rounds of 76-77-71 for a 224. She finished 2006-07 as the Big South leader in lowest stroke average at 73.79 and posted a league-best seven top-10 finishes during the year, including Medalist honors at the Unlimited Potential Classic and the Waterlefe/USF Invitational.
Ranked as high as No. 51 nationally by Golfweek and No. 24 in the GolfStat Cup standings during the 2006-07 campaign, Felgueroso was Coastal Carolina's top finisher in nine of 10 events and earned Big South Women's Golfer of the Week three times. She shot in the 70s in all 28 rounds she played this season and carded seven rounds under par, including a career-best 68 at the NCAA East Regional.
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 most recently completed regular season. Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year 2006-07 – Josh McDougal, Liberty (track & field) 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 Student-Athlete of the Year 2006-07 – Aruka Felgueroso, Coastal Carolina (golf) 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)
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