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Tech Nominates Two for GAC Scholar-Athlete

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Jake Denzer and Laura Farney are the nominees from Arkansas Tech University for the inaugural Great American Conference male and female scholar-athlete of the year awards.

Denzer (photographed, left) and Farney (photographed, right) are among 17 student-athletes from the nine GAC members nominated for the awards.

The GAC will announce its first female and male scholar-athlete of the year award winners at the 2012 GAC Night of Champions banquet on Wednesday, June 20, at Embassy Suites in Little Rock.

The awards will be decided by a vote of administrators from the nine GAC member institutions.

Tickets to the GAC Night of Champions event are $25 per person and can be reserved by sending e-mail to greatamericanconference@gmail.com.

Denzer was a four-year letterman for the Arkansas Tech football program.

A native of Elkins, he played fullback, tight end and punter for the Wonder Boys. He was a member of the 2009 Tech team that reached the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Denzer became the seventh football student-athlete in Arkansas Tech  history to earn Academic All-America honors when he was named to the 2011 Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-America second team in recognition of his performance on the football field and in the classroom.

Denzer punted 54 times for 2,085 yards during his senior season. His 38.6 yards per punt average ranked sixth in the Great American Conference.

Fifteen of Denzer's 2011 punts were down inside the opponent's 20-yard line, and his longest punt of the season was a 72-yard boot.

Denzer also caught two passes for 21 yards and was an integral part of Arkansas Tech's run-blocking scheme from his tight end position.

He earned a spot on the GSC Academic Honor Roll three years and was a member of the 2010 GSC All-Academic team.

Denzer shared the 2011-12 Arkansas Tech most outstanding senior male student-athlete award with Wonder Boys basketball team member Matt Haney.

Farney earned four letters as a member of the Arkansas Tech volleyball team. She was named a 2011 American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II All-America honorable mention selection.

A product of Morton, Ill., Farney made 469 kills, 396 digs and 44 blocks during the 2011 season. She helped the Golden Suns finish with an overall record of 35-4 and a Great American Conference mark of 16-0.

Arkansas Tech won the inaugural GAC regular season and postseason championships, and the Golden Suns earned a berth in the NCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament for just the second time in school history.

Farney finished her four-year Golden Suns career ranked among the program's all-time leaders in career kills (3rd, 1,460) and career digs (4th, 1,136).

She is one of just four Arkansas Tech volleyball players to accumulate 1,000 or more kills and 1,000 or more digs in a career.

Farney was a two-time Gulf South Conference All-Academic team selection and a three-time honoree on the GSC Academic Honor Roll.

She was named the 2011-12 Arkansas Tech most outstanding senior female student-athlete by a vote of the Arkansas Tech faculty athletic committee.

Other nominees for the inaugural GAC male scholar-athlete of the year award are Armando Saldivar of East Central University (cross country), Philip Biwott of Harding University (cross country), Brittain Diamond of Henderson State University (baseball), Landon Flax of Ouachita Baptist University (baseball), Travis Kincheloe of Southeastern Oklahoma State University (football), Travis Chrietzberg of Southern Arkansas University (golf) and Jeremy Soliday of Southwestern Oklahoma State University (baseball).

Other nominees for the inaugural GAC female scholar-athlete of the year award are Jennifer Hickman of the University of Arkansas at Monticello (softball), Emily Kennemer of East Central University (softball), Kristen Celsor of Harding University (basketball/track), Ashley Ray of Henderson State University (softball), Whitley Hoppe of Ouachita Baptist University (soccer), Kelsey Reding of Southeastern Oklahoma State University (softball), Whitley Patterson of Southern Arkansas University (golf) and Madison Cabaniss of Southwestern Oklahoma State University (basketball).

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