BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 29 – Football player Derek Sherrod and soccer player Leanna Baldner have been nominated for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship and football player Mark Melichar and softball player Courtney Nesbit have been nominated for the Brad Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship by Mississippi State University.
The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship has been presented by the Southeastern Conference since 1986 to the league’s top male and female scholar-athletes.
The SEC Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship was named for former Associate Commissioner Brad Davis. Davis succumbed to cancer on March 2, 2006. He had been a member of the SEC staff since 1988, first serving as an assistant commissioner until 1994 when he was promoted to associate commissioner.
The Southeastern Conference will name the 2010 recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship on April 6 in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day. The Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship winners will be announced on April 5.
Highlights of the Bulldogs’ nominees include:
Derek Sherrod, Football (Male McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Nominee)
• Earned B.B.A. degree (cum laude) in Risk Management Insurance and Financial Planning in August 2010
• Will earn Masters of Education degree in December 2011
• National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete (2010)
• Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American
• President’s Scholar and Bulldog Honor Roll
• Four year letter winner and team captain as a senior
• Two-time All-SEC and first-team All-America selection in 2010
• Participated in the Starkville Academy Fall Festival, Thanksgiving Food Drive and Halloween Carnival
• The Columbus, Miss. native is the son of Louis and Harriette Sherrod
Leanna Baldner, Soccer (Female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Nominee)
• Earned a B.A. degree (summa cum laude) in Communications/Public Relations in August 2010
• Will earn Masters of Education degree in December 2011
• President’s Scholar, Dean’s Scholar and MSU Bulldog Honor Roll
• MSU Athletic Department’s Newsome Academic Achievement Award for women’s soccer
• Four-year letter starter and three-year captain
• Two-time member of SEC Soccer Community Service Team
• Counselor at Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Church of God camps
• Active in Campus Crusade for Christ and Reformation University Fellowship
• MSU M-Club President (2010-11)
• The Marion, Miss. native is the daughter of Bill and Jodi Baldner
Mark Melichar, Football (Male Davis Community Service Nominee)
• Earned a B.B.A. degree in Insurance, Risk Management and Financial Planning in May 2010
• Will earn Master of Science degree in December 2011
• Dean’s List Scholar and Bulldog Honor Roll
• Member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor Societies
• Four-year letter winner
• Visited children at Jackson (Miss.) Children’s Hospital, Aiken Village Preschool and West Point Middle School
• Was a bellringer for Salvation Army and collected goods for Palmers Home
• The Birmingham, Ala. native is the son of Randolph and Debbie Melichar
Courtney Nesbit, Softball (Female Davis Community Service Nominee)
• Will earn a B.S. degree in Special Education in December 2011
• Presidential Scholar and Dean’s Scholar
• Member of Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor Society
• National Fastpitch Coaches Association Academic All-American
• Three-year starter as first baseman/outfielder
• She has been active in MSU’s Halloween Carnival for children, Bully’s Book Blitz, Festival of Trees and canned food drives.
• Helped coach 3rd-grade girls basketball team and taught Vacation Bible School.
• The Acworth, Ga. native is the daughter of David and Kim Nesbit
The SEC Office will be releasing each of its institution’s nominees periodically until the April 6 winners are announced. The schedule is as follows:
Alabama – McWhorter: Greg McElroy, football (male); Kayla Hoffman, gymnastics (female) / Davis: Dan Armstrong, swimming & diving (male); Jessica Allaway, rowing (female).
Arkansas – McWhorter: Luke Laird, track & field (male); Michelle Stout, gymnastics (female) / Davis: Chris Nott, tennis (male); Britni Williams, soccer (female).
Auburn – McWhorter: Dan Mazzaferro, swimming & diving (male); Erica Meissner, swimming & diving (female) / Davis: Justin Hargett, baseball (male); Addison Ragsdale, soccer (female)
Florida – McWhorter: Michael Yuan, swimming & diving (male); Ali Crabb, track & field/cross country (female) / Davis: Bobby Walsh, swimming & diving (male); Megan Bush, softball (female)
Georgia – McWhorter: Mark Dylla, swimming & diving (male); Chelsea Nauta, swimming & diving (female) / Davis: Asaph Levy, track & field (male); Bridget Lyons, track & field/cross country (female)
Kentucky – McWhorter: Josh Nadzam, track & field (male); Lauren Rapp, volleyball (female) / Davis: Marcus Davis, football (male); Samantha DeMartine, softball (female)
LSU – McWhorter: Sebastian Carlsson, tennis (male); Jane Trepp, swimming & diving (female) / Davis: Kyle Rose, track & field (male) / Courtney Alexander, soccer (female)
Ole Miss – McWhorter: Lee Moore, track & field (male); Emily Kvitle, volleyball (female) / Davis: Barnabus Kirui, track & field/cross country (male); Juliana Smith, track & field (female)
Miss. State – McWhorter: Derek Sherrod, football (male); Leanna Baldner, soccer (female) / Davis: Mark Melichar, football (male); Courtney Nesbit, softball (female)
South Carolina – March 30
Tennessee – March 31
Vanderbilt – April 1
National Student-Athlete Day was created in 1987 by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and presented by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
National Student-Athlete Day is held each April 6 to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. It is also a time to recognize those parents, teachers, coaches and school systems which make it possible for young people to find the balance between academics and athletics.
Each year, the SEC, in conjunction with AT&T, an SEC Corporate Champion sponsor, provides the league’s male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship recipients with a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship. The Davis Award recipients each receive a $6,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by the SEC. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $3,000 post-graduate scholarship.
The award recipients are chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 12 SEC institutions and are honored at the SEC Spring Meetings in Sandestin, Fla. on June 3.
Last year’s McWhorter Award recipients were Auburn swimmer Jordan Anderson and Tennessee track & field athlete Phoebe Wright. The Davis Award recipients were Georgia track & field athlete John Egan and Auburn gymnast Krissy Voss.