March 18, 2013
FAIRFAX, Va. - UC Davis senior gymnast Katie Yamamura has been selected as one of 10 female finalists for the 2013 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award, it was announced by the magazine Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Co-sponsored by the NCAA, the award was created by Black Issues In Higher Education, now known as Diverse, to recognize undergraduate minority student-athletes who achieve academically, athletically and in the campus and community.
Candidates must hold a grade-point average of 3.2 or higher. More than 500 men and women were nominated; only 10 men and 10 women were chosen as finalists.
Yamamura, last year's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Year and the university's W.P. Lindley Award recipient as the year's top scholar-athlete, wraps up a record-breaking career in the UC Davis gymnastics program. She holds the school benchmark in the all-around at 39.325, a feat she has achieved twice in the past three weeks. Yamamura has nine All-MPSF awards, with the maximum five more expected to be announced later this week. She has also won the conference's Gymnast of the Week on 12 occasions.
In the classroom, Yamamura has compiled a 3.95 GPA in her major of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, a program in the university's esteemed College of Biological Sciences. She has earned All-Academic nods from both the conference and the national coaches' association (NACGC/W) every year. Last year, Yamamura added a Capital One Academic All-America second-team selection, as voted by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Recent recipients of the award include Baylor's Robert Griffin III, who also garnered the Heisman Trophy; and Kara Lawson, the ESPN announcer who previously starred for the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA. Yamamura is the second Top 10 finalist in as many years for UC Davis, which boasted soccer player Mustafa Chopan in the 2012 rolls.
The winner of the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Awards will be announced in the April 2013 issue of Diverse.
2013 ARTHUR ASHE, JR. SPORTS SCHOLAR FINALISTS
Javier Balboa, Gymnastics, Iowa
Twany Beckham, Basketball, Kentucky
Clay Belton, Football, Findlay
Laurence Bowers, Basketball, Mizzou
Chris Burnett, Football, Georgia
German Decena, Football, William Paterson
Ryan Evans, Basketball, Wisconsin
Devin Hedgepeth, Football, Oklahoma State
Joel Kight, Football, Ole Miss
Andrew Nunez, Baseball, Caldwell
Shayla Bivins, Basketball, Georgia Tech
Kody Burke, Basketball, North Carolina State
Allie Couzo, Soccer, Felician
Kastine Evans, Basketball, Kentucky
Jess Harlee, Basketball, West Virginia
Michelle Ikoma, Gymnastics, North Carolina
Ta'Kenya Nixon, Basketball, Eastern Illinois
Ifeatu Okafor, Track/Cross Country, Texas Tech
Monique Weathers, Basketball, Benedict
Katie Yamamura, Gymnastics, UC Davis