John Brown Boasts 11 Fall NAIA Scholar-Athletes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (December 7, 2015) -- Eleven John Brown University fall sport athletes have been selected to the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete list for their respective sports, the NAIA national office announced today (Dec. 7).

The 11 nominations fall just two shy of last year's 13 total and one short of John Brown's output in the fall of 2013. Four earned the prestigious award for the second time in their careers in seniors Kenny Crane, Julie Whitlow, Cory Cole and Libby Blasingame. To be eligible for nomination, the student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.

“I am very proud of the 11 student-athletes in volleyball, soccer and cross country who received this prestigious award,” said Robyn Daugherty, director of athletics. “The award is recognition for a lot of hard work in the classroom over the last several years. I am honored to have these student-athletes in our athletic programs at JBU and appreciate all of their efforts, both on and off the playing fields.”

Kenny Crane earns his second-career honors after setting a season-best mark at the #JennaStrong Fall Classic on Oct. 16. A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., Crane turned in a time of 27:03 on the eight-kilometer course. The senior is currently majoring in graphic design.

Academically, junior Aaron Stafford joins Crane as the two men's cross country nominees. Stafford posted his season-best in 2015 at the Sooner Athletic Conference championships where he produced a 29:36 in the most important meet of the season, claiming 58th place. The Carl Junction, Mo. native is currently majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry.

Two fresh faces from the women's cross country team appeared on this year's list, including junior Annie Brown and Erin Haley. Brown, a kinesiology major and an accounting minor, turned in her season-best mark with a 20:19 time at the Sooner Athletic Conference championships, earning a 19th-place finish. Brown is a native of Fayetteville, Ark. Haley, meanwhile, hailing from Hot Springs Village, Ark., crossed the finish line at the 20:50 mark at the Chile Pepper Festival on Oct. 3 to claim her season-best time to grab 346th place overall.

Cole, a two-time winner, and senior Zeke Zumbro represent the men's soccer team. Cole, a business administration major from Colorado Springs, Colo., registered one goal and one assist (three points) in 14 games played this season. Zumbro experience a breakout campaign this year, including four goals and four assists (12 points). The engineering major from Los Alamos, N.M., also recorded a pair of game-winners and set a career-best in goals, assists and points.

Three women's soccer players highlight the Scholar-Athlete listing in juniors Sarah Hill and Sara Lachance while Whitlow joins the duo as the lone repeat honoree. Hill, from Overland Park, Kan., saw action in 18 contests this season and set a career-high five assists, which finished tied for third on the team. Lachance buried seven goals and six assists (20 points) to conclude her junior campaign. The Springdale, Ark., native tallied half of her season goals in a three-goal performance in JBU's win over Texas Wesleyan in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals on Nov. 7. Whitlow wrapped her JBU career starting 19 of 21 games on the back line, helping the team post a mere 1.19 goals-against average.

Finally, a pair of volleyballers made the list in seniors Audrey Dearien and Libby Blasingame. The duo helped John Brown to a 22-15 overall record and a berth in the SAC tournament semifinals. Dearien, a native of Frisco, Texas, posted team-bests in kills (430), attack attempts (1,123) and service aces (86). Dearien will finish out this academic year with a major in engineering. Blasingame broke out for a career year, posting 311 kills, a .321 hitting percentage and 109 total blocks. The Plano, Texas native majors in accounting with a minor in business administration.

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