Runas, Hawkins and Chopan Receive Top Athletics Accolades

Demi Runas

May 22, 2013

DAVIS, Calif. - Three-time Big West Golfer of the Year Demi Runas, Mid-Major basketball All-American Corey Hawkins and Academic All-America soccer player Mustafa Chopan are the recipients of UC Davis Athletics' top student-athlete awards for the 2012-13 season, it was announced Wednesday.

Runas, currently competing at the NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championships in Athens, Ga., for the 17th-ranked women's golf team, has been named the Dr. Hubert Heitman Award winner as the outstanding female student-athlete while Hawkins, a sharp-shooting guard who recently completed his inaugural men's basketball season at UC Davis, is the recipient of the Colby E. "Babe" Slater Award as the outstanding male student-athlete.

Chopan, an Aggie team captain who helped the men's soccer team to its first Big West North Division title, will receive the W.P. Lindley Award as UC Davis' outstanding student-athlete.

Presented on an annual basis, all three awards will be given during the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame and Student-Athlete Awards Ceremony on June 1 at Freeborn Hall.

Runas, a senior from Torrance, has won two tournaments this season. She captured the Golfweek Conference Challenge in the fall before capping her regular season by winning her first Big West individual championship. She's currently ranked 16th among all Div. I players in the Golfstat Cup, has 16 rounds at par or below, and has posted seven top-five finishes.

Runas, who was also named to the All-Big West first team for the fourth straight year while leading the Aggies to their fourth straight league title, was voted Big West Golfer of the Month on three of five possible occasions this season. She leads her team in virtually every statistic, a list that includes scoring average (72.4), putts on greens-in-regulation (1.838), greens in regulation (66.3 pct.) and total short game (61.1 pct.). 

In addition to her athletics excellence, Runas possesses a 3.3 GPA and was named an Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar last April. She's the second golfer to win the Heitman Award, joining Alice Kim who won in 2010.

Corey Hawkins

Hawkins, a sophomore from Goodyear, Ariz., will receive the Slater Award after leading UC Davis to one of the biggest turnarounds in Div. I men's basketball this season. The Aggies won a Div. I era-high 14 games behind Hawkins who played his first season on Hamilton Court after transferring from Arizona State.

UC Davis' first-ever Big West scoring champion ended the year ranked No. 12 nationally in scoring at 20.3 ppg, was one of three underclassmen to finish with a top-15 scoring average and was the fifth-highest scorer in the country among all returning Division I players. 

Hawkins shot nearly 85 percent from the line, ranking him 58th among all Div. I players, and was among the top 10 sophomores. He was named to the 2013 Lou Henson All-America team and is just the second Aggie to earn a spot on the All-Big West first team. Hawkins was also named the Big West Newcomer of the Year.

A two-time Big West Player of the Week, Hawkins ended the year highly ranked in six conference categories, including scoring (1st, 20.3 ppg), free throws (2nd, .842), defensive rebounds (5th, 4.8 pg), steals (7th, 1.5 pg), three-point percentage (10th, .400) and rebounding (15th, 5.6 pg). 

He was especially dangerous during conference games, leading the Big West in scoring (22.5 ppg) and three-point percentage (52.5 pct.).

Hawkins scored at least 20 points in 15 games and had at least 30 in five more. Besides his 34-point effort during the Aggies' nationally televised game on ESPN2 against Long Beach State in March, he scored 30 or more against Northern Arizona, Hawai'i, Cal State Northridge and Northern Colorado.

His most prolific game occurred during the Aggies' key road sweep of Cal State Northridge and Hawai'i in mid-January when he poured in a school-record 40 points against the Rainbow Warriors while taking just 14 shots.

Hawkins is the first men's basketball player since Dante Ross was honored in 1998 to receive the Colby E. "Babe" Slater Award.

Mustafa Chopan

Chopan, a senior from Citrus Heights, will receive the Lindley Award after excelling in the classroom, the soccer field and the community. He joined the team as a walk-on in 2009 and eventually started at midfield in all 21 games last season while helping UC Davis capture its memorable Big West North Division title. 

Named UC Davis' men's winner of the 2012 Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012, Chopan earned the highest cumulative GPA on the men's soccer team every quarter he was on the roster and earned A+ grades in 22 different classes at UC Davis.

A top-10 finalist for the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Chopan received Academic All-Conference accolades from the Big West each season, was named a prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2011 and 2012, and received Academic All-West Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 2012.   

Graduating magna cum laude (top 1.8 pct. among more than 2,000 seniors in the College of Biological Sciences) with a 3.93 GPA in neurobiology, physiology and behavior, Chopan earned his place on the Intercollegiate Athletics Honor Roll for 13 consecutive quarters and made the Dean's List eight times. He also earned a perfect 4.0 GPA in nine of 13 quarters, as well as two summer sessions.

A Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative in 2010-11, Chopan also found enough room in his academic and athletic schedule to volunteer at Sutter General Hospital throughout that academic year.

Other nominees for the Heitman award included Alycia Cridebring (cross country, track and field), Elizabeth Datino (lacrosse), Katie Edwards (swimming and diving), Carmen Eggert (water polo), Sydnee Fipps (basketball), Michelle Ho (gymnastics), Ashley Marshall (track and field), Samantha Shellem (swimming and diving), Lauren Wallace (cross country, track and field), Allison Whitson (volleyball), Casey Wollbrinck (field hockey) and Katie Yamamura (gymnastics). Brian Ford (soccer), Jordan Glass (football) and Matt Vowell were nominated for the Slater Award.

Other nominees for the Lindley Award include Hannah Curran (water polo), Sean Davies (football), Ho, Emily Mecke (field hockey), Runas and Whitson.

In addition to the individual student-athlete awards, the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame ceremonies will feature inductions for track and field coaches Jon and Deanne Vochatzer, golf's Louie Bishop, women's water polo player Katherine O'Rourke (Shroyer), women's basketball player Kari Sivesind (Montero) and baseball's Robby Tulk.

Former UC Davis football and soccer standout Rolf Benirschke will receive the Aggie Legacy Award for outstanding achievements in an athletics-related field since leaving the university. Jane Arp was selected as the recipient of the Special Recognition Award for volunteer contributions to the athletics department.

Tickets for the evening are available for purchase by the public by contacting the athletics development office at (530) 754-2583.