Dec. 18, 2008
GREENSBORO. N.C. - Three Atlantic Coast Conference student athletes - North Carolina soccer player Yael Averbuch, Georgia Tech tennis player Kristi Miller and Virginia Tech softball pitcher Angie Tincher - have been selected as recipients of this year's Today's Top VIII Award.
The Today's Top VIII Award is given annually to eight student-athletes who excel athletically, academically, and in leadership and community service.
A psychology major from Upper Montclair, N.J., Averbuch started a school-record 105 games during her college career and played on two NCAA championship teams at UNC. Earlier this fall, she was named the Academic All-America of the Year, recognizing her as the top student-athlete in her sport. She was named the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's soccer in 2007.
Averbuch is a three-time All-America and a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection who was named national player of the year as a sophomore. She also is a member of the U.S. Under-23 team.
Active in community outreach activities, Averbuch represents her team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Carolina Leadership Academy's Veteran Leaders program and a recipient of its highest honor, the Three-Dimensional Leader Award.
Tincher, a native of Eagle Rock, Va., has collected national player of the year honors from USA Softball, been named a first-team All-American as both a pitcher and as a student-athlete, earned Academic All-American of the Year honors from ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA, won the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, led the Hokies to the Women's College World Series for the first time in program history, signed to play professionally in Japan's top division and had her number retired by the Tech Athletics Department.
Tincher also is the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and graduated last spring summa cum laude with a degree in finance.
Miller received All-America honors in singles in each of her four seasons at Georgia Tech and was named a doubles All-American in 2006 and 2007. The four-time All-ACC honoree captured the league's Player of the Year Award in 2008 after receiving the ACC Rookie of the Year award in 2005. She led the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Title in 2007, two USTA/ITA National Indoor Titles (2007, 2008) and three ACC Championships (2005, 2006, 2007) during her tenure. Additionally, Miller received the 2006 Honda Award for Tennis as the top collegiate tennis player in the nation and also participated in the 2005 U.S. Open.
The three-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American concluded her career by receiving the At-Large Academic All-America of the Year honor. A recipient of both the NCAA and ACC Postgraduate Scholarships, Miller was a four-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar Athlete and four-time member of the ACC Honor Roll. She was twice named to the Academic All-ACC Tennis Team and received the prestigious Bernard P. Bellon Award for Historical Excellence from Georgia Tech in 2008.
The 2008 recipient of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, presented annually by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Miller spent countless hours volunteering in and around the Atlanta area in her spare time and has been recognized with a number of awards for her efforts.
The Today's Top VIII Award is given each year by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to honor eight outstanding senior student-athletes of the preceding calendar year with weighted criteria including athletics ability and achievement, academic achievement and character/leadership. Notable athletes to receive the honor include John Elway (1983), Rebecca Lobo (1996), Peyton Manning (1998) and Cat Osterman (2007). Recipients will be honored at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration January 15, at the 2009 NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C.
The complete list of this year's Today's Top VIII Award recipients:
Yael Averbuch, North Carolina, soccer
Kirby Blackley, Findlay, outdoor and indoor track and field
Dylan Carney, Stanford, gymnastics
Gregory Micheli, Mount Union, football
Kristi Miller, Georgia Tech, tennis
Louie Sakoda, Utah, football
Katy Tafler, Grand Valley State, soccer
Angela Tincher, Virginia Tech, softball