September 18, 2013

Button, Thibodeau Selected as 2013 Kassen/Lowry Athletes-of-the-Year

GEORGETOWN, Texas - Southwestern University announced the 2013 Dr. Tex Kassen and Dr. Carla Lowry Athlete-of-the-Year awards which denote the top male and female athlete at Southwestern for that given school year. Junior men's golfer Cameron Button and senior volleyball player Rachel Thibodeau were chosen among numerous candidates as this year's recipients of the esteemed award.

Button, from Deer Park, Texas, finished in the top 15 in seven of the nine tournaments last season and posted a 74.41 scoring average which is the top full season scoring average of any Southwestern golfer in the Golfstat era. He was a First Team All-SCAC selection after leading the Pirates to a second place finish at the SCAC Championships and their first NCAA Championship berth.

At the Championships, Button came in fifth overall as the Pirates placed 14th in the nation. His 67 in the second round tied for the lowest round of the tournament with only one other golfer accomplishing the feat. For his outstanding play, Button was a Third Team All-American selection and is the first men's golfer to earn All-American honors.

"Cameron led our team with his actions," said Head Men's Golf Coach Dan Ruyle. "He has worked really hard on his game both during the school year and throughout the summer. He has made not only himself a better player, but also those around him, which is evident with the men's golf team's first ever appearance in the NCAA tournament."

Thibodeau, an outside hitter from Richardson, Texas, has racked up nearly every accolade imaginable during her collegiate career. In her senior season, Thibodeau captained the Pirates and led them to their eighth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. She was selected as the SCAC Player-of-the-Year, First Team All-SCAC, First Team AVCA All-South Region, Third Team AVCA All-America after leading the Southwestern kills with 392, averaging 3.35 per set with a .203 attack percentage. She was third on the team in aces with 29 and fourth in digs averaging three per set. Thibodeau also recorded 25 assists and 42 blocks in her final season.

Her excellence extended beyond the court as Thibodeau was selected as a recipient of the 2012-13 NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship. She was a First Team Academic All-American selection and was named as the 2013 SCAC Woman of the Year.

"Rachel led a young team the entire season and was instrumental in key victories versus top ranked opponents," said Head Volleyball Coach Hannah Long. "Her dominance on the court and respect given by our colleague institutions is reflected in her selection as the SCAC Player of the Year."

Drs. Kassen and Lowry are former Directors of Athletics who were advocates for all student-athletes.  They expected excellence from all student-athletes who participated wearing the Southwestern uniform.  They had great respect for those who worked hard, were exceptional performers and those that exemplified great sportsmanship.

The two student-athletes will be honored and receive their rewards at a sporting event during the 2013-14 academic year. 

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