Maryland's O'Donnell, Florida State's Makusha Named 2010-11 ACC Athletes of the Year

July 28, 2011

Greensboro, N.C. (ACSMA) - Florida State's Ngoni Makusha, an internationally elite track performer who ran and jumped his way into company with Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens this spring, and Maryland's Katie O'Donnell, one of the most accomplished field hockey players in NCAA history, are the ACC's Athletes of the Year for 2010-11.

Makusha, one of only four people to win NCAA titles in the 100 meters and the long jump, is the winner of the Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the league's top male athlete, and O'Donnell, who put up impressive statistics across the board, claimed the Mary Garber Award, symbolic of the ACC's finest female competitor. The accolades, determined by a voting of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, are named for respected journalists who chronicled the ACC from its inception.

"The ACC's Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards are two of the most prestigious recognitions that can be earned by a student-athlete in this league," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "Ngoni and Katie were selected from a group of tremendously talented nominees and I applaud them on their outstanding accomplishments."

Makusha, a junior from Zimbabwe, edged Duke basketball standout Nolan Smith 17 votes to 16 to become the 58th winner of the McKevlin Award. In the past year, the 2008 Olympian built on an already impressive resume.

His victory in the 100-meter dash (9.89) at the NCAA outdoor championships, achieved in the rain, set a meet record and was the fourth-fastest performance in the world under any conditions this year. His victorious long jump of 8.40 meters, the second-longest in the world in 2011 and best jump in 18 years at the NCAA Championship meet, delivered his third NCAA championship in the event and made him the fourth person in NCAA history to win the long jump and the 100 in a single NCAA Championship. The exclusive fraternity includes Lewis and Owens, who combined for 13 Olympic gold medals.

Makusha also ran on the Seminoles' 4x100 relay team, which won the NCAA title.

"This is an amazing honor when you consider this encompasses all the sports across the ACC", stated Makusha, who was in Paris when notified. "It is special knowing that this is not just for track, but is much bigger than that. To join Charlie Ward and Walter Dix as the only Seminoles to win the McKevlin Award is amazing. I look up to Walter and to win the same award he won in 2007 really means a lot to me. Representing Florida State as the winner of the McKevlin Award also carries great meaning as this school has meant so much to me during my time as a Seminole."

O'Donnell won the Honda Sports Award in field hockey for the second straight year in 2010, leading the nation in goals with 34 and points with 98 as the Terrapins claimed their fourth NCAA championship in the past six years. The senior from Blue Bell, Pa., the only player in NCAA history with 100 or more assists and 300 or more points, finished her career with 99 goals.

In the fall of 2010, she was named the Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation, besting a field that included decorated softball pitcher Jennie Finch.

Like Makusha, O'Donnell has considerable international experience. At the age of 16 in 2005, she became the youngest person to represent the U.S. senior national team, and she has played in 25 such games in major competitions since.

O'Donnell won the 22nd Mary Garber Award by receiving 28 of the 43 votes cast. She becomes the third field hockey player to win the Garber, joining Wake Forest's Kelly Dostal (2005) and Paula Infante of Maryland (2006). Other Terrapins with Garber plaques are Jen Adams (2000, 01) and Sarah Forbes (2007), both of whom played lacrosse, and Kelly Amonte, a lacrosse and soccer star.

"I am so grateful to receive this award because there are so many talented female athletes in the ACC," said O'Donnell, who is currently on the West Coast training with Team USA for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. "This is the best conference in the country and to receive the Garber Award is truly one of the highlights of my career. Thank you to my coaches, teammates, family, competitors and all of the field hockey supporters for making ACC field hockey the best. I will continue to work hard to represent the great program of Maryland field hockey and the ACC in the 2012 Olympics."

Makusha is the third Seminole to win the McKevlin. He joins join track performer Walter Dix (2007) and Charlie Ward, a football and basketball standout (2003, '04). He is the seventh person in his sport with the honor; that list includes NC State's Julie Shea, who won twice before the creation of the Garber citation.

Anthony J. McKevlin Award Voting
17Ngoni MakushaTrackFSU
16Nolan SmithBasketballDuke
4Tyrod TaylorFootballVirginia Tech
3Anthony CastonzoFootballBoston College
2Da'Quan BowersFootballClemson
1Matt McLeanSwimmingVirginia
Mary Garber Award Voting
28Katie O'DonnellF. HockeyMaryland
3Cheyenne WoodsGolfWake
3Brittany ViolaDivingMiami
3Kim WilliamsTrackFSU
3Sinead FarrellySoccerVirginia
1Kelsi WesemanSoftballGeorgia Tech