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Golf's Joseph Sykora and Softball's Jordan Praytor Nominated for SEC Honor



BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 19 ?? Softball player Jordan Praytor and golfer Joseph Sykora have been nominated by the University of Alabama for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship.

            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 Southeastern Conference will name the 2008 recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship on April 6 in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day.

Praytor, a senior from Vancouver, Wash., has earned a 3.75 grade point average, majoring in Biology and Spanish.  She is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (2008 Spring Honor Roll announced later in spring) and has made the Dean’s List seven semesters and has earned President’s List honors.  

She was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar-Athlete in 2007.  She is also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Professional Honor Society, the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and has been a member of the UA Honors Program since 2005. 

In 2006, she was named second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District.  During the summer of 2007, Praytor studied abroad in Madrid, Spain.

Athletically, Praytor is a three-time second-team All-South Region selection by the NFCA and a first-team All-SEC performer.  She is a pre-season All-America pick this season by  As a freshman in 2005, she was an all-SEC Tournament selection and a member of the all-freshman team.  A three-year starter, she led the Tide in walks, second in stolen bases, hits and triples last season.

She is also active in the community, having volunteered at UAB Children’s Hospital, DCH Regional Medical Center, Holt Elementary School, Capstone Village Retirement Home and has taken part in the NCAA Leadership Conference and the UA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Sykora, a senior from Daphne, Ala., earned his undergraduate degree in Accounting in 2007 with a perfect 4.00 grade point average and is enrolled in the Master’s program at UA in Accounting, where he has earned a 4.00 GPA.

He is a two-time member of the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America At-Large first-team and was voted the SEC Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2006 and 2007.  Sykora was also a finalist for the Paul W. Bryant Student-Athlete Award during the last two years.  He is also a member of the Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars Team.

He is a four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and has been a member of the UA President’s List and Dean’s List since Fall 2003.  In 2007, Sykora was named the Austin Scholar for Outstanding Senior in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, the Outstanding Graduate Student by Beta Gamma Sigma, the Alumni Outstanding Senior Award and was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

As a member of the Tide golf team, he was the individual medalist at the Topy Cup US-Japan Intercollegiate and the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate.  He was also the Alabama State Match Play Champion and participated in the U.S. Amateur Match Play Championship. 

The Crimson Tide are currently the nation’s second-ranked golf team by Golfweek.

Sykora has also been active in the community, volunteering in local children’s programs as part of the UA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, teaching golf to children at the Alabama Golf Camp and being a student leader on Campus Crusade for Christ.

            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 ?? Joseph Sykora, Golf (Male) / Jordan Praytor, Softball (Female)

            Arkansas ?? March 20

            Auburn ?? March 21

            Florida ?? March 24

            Georgia ?? March 25

            Kentucky ?? March 26

            LSU ?? March 27

            Ole Miss ?? March 28

            Miss. State ?? March 31

            South Carolina ?? April 1

            Tennessee ?? April 2

            Vanderbilt ?? April 3

             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 $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.  The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $5,000 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 May 29.

            Last year’s recipients were Alabama baseball player Emeel Salem and Vanderbilt track and field athlete Erika Schneble.