Griffith and Yeisley Named McCoy Award Winners; Franek Selected Walker Award Recipient
April 16, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. ; - Softball's Ashley Griffith and men's soccer standout Jason Yeisley have been selected recipients of Penn State's 2010 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award.
In addition, women's cross-country and track standout Bridget Franek was presented the Eric A. Walker Award and Blue Sapphire majorette P.J. Maierhofer and men's track and field student-athlete Tyler McCandless earned the John W. Oswald Award. All five were recognized at the University's annual Student Awards Ceremony earlier this week.
The McCoy Award is presented annually to one senior male and one senior female student-athlete who have combined successful athletic participation with academic excellence. The award is named for Ernest B. McCoy, who was Penn State's Athletic Director and Dean of the College of Physical Education from 1952-70. His name adorns the Penn State natatorium.
Griffith earned second team All-Big Ten accolades in 2009 after posting a team-high .311 batting average. The senior also tied for the team lead with 41 hits. A co-captain in 2010, Griffith is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. A senior majoring in kinesiology and movement science, Griffith earned a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award in 2009.
The New Jersey native is well on her way to another strong season in 2010. Through 38 games, Griffith owns a .308 batting average, helping the Nittany Lions to a 26-12 record heading into this weekend's series against Illinois. She has made180 career starts for head coach Robin Petrini.
Yeisley departed Penn State following a distinguished and highly decorated collegiate career marked both by excellence and adversity. After missing the 2008 season while recovering from a serious knee injury suffered the year prior, he battled back to return for his senior season. Yeisley's hard work paid off, as he flourished in 2009, leading Penn State to an undefeated regular season home record, a second place finish in the Big Ten, the Big Ten Tournament title game, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
He was a central figure on the Big Ten's top scoring offense, totaling eight goals and five assists to tie for second on the team with 21 points. During the year, Yeisley was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 7) for the second time in his career and to the Soccer America Team of the Week (Sept. 6), the College Soccer News National Team of the Week (Oct. 4), and to the all-tournament teams for the Wolstein and Penn State Classics. Yeisley's standout season culminated with his selection by the conference coaches as Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten He was also named to the NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team.
In December, Yeisley was announced as the 2009 winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for men's soccer, an honor presented annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I men's soccer. He was also named one of just two Division I men's soccer recipients of a 2009-10 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Yeisley recently signed a contract with Major League Soccer's FC Dallas and is on the active roster.
The University presented Franek with the Walker Award, given to the student who has contributed most to enhancing the reputation of the University through extracurricular activities. The Walker Award is given in honor of former President Eric Walker, who held that position at Penn State from 1956-70.
Franek is one of the elite distance runners in the nation. A seven-time All-American in cross country, she became just the second Nittany Lion in program history to win the Big Ten individual title, and capture Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors in 2009. Franek's gold medal run at the Big Ten championships last fall lifted the Nittany Lions to their first Big Ten title in cross country.
Franek, who is a Kinesiology major, has been an active member of SAAB and many volunteer efforts around campus. She was also a member of the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America team last spring, and a USTFCCCA and Big Ten All-Academic award winner during each of her competitive seasons. Last summer, Franek qualified for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany, where she competed for the United States in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Maierhofer and McCandless were named winners of the Oswald Award. The John W. Oswald Award, established in 1983, annually recognizes graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University. The award features a medallion honoring John W. Oswald, president of the University from 1970 -83.
A public relations major with a 3.7 GPA, Maierhofer is a senior from Altoona. As Penn State's Blue Sapphire featured baton twirler, she has represented the University at home football games and other functions since 2007 and has won College Miss Majorette of America. In 2009 she interned as a marketing associate with Penn State's Intercollegiate Athletics, designing promotional activities for events including the Big Ten Golf and Wrestling Championships.
McCandless is an integral piece on the Nittany Lion men's track and field team. Twice voted team captain by his fellow Nittany Lions, McCandless was an NCAA All-Region selection in cross country and a member of Nittany Lion cross country team that finished 25th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2008. The senior posted a sixth-place finish in the 5,000-meters at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
McCandless is also a member of the Athletic Director's Leadership Institute. McCandless is also involved in many volunteer activities and community projects while being a role model for young people, working track and field camps at Penn State, and at the Boulder Running Camp, in Boulder, Colorado.
A senior majoring in meteorology, McCandless has received the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's scholarship award and a NASA Sylvia Stein Memorial Space Grant Scholarship. He owns a 3.72 GPA while running more than 100 miles per week as a long-distance runner for the cross country and track and field teams.