VWU's Harris, WLU's Patrick Earn Top Scholar-Athlete Honors
FOREST, Va. --- The latter end of the ODAC's alphabet features in the final recognition bestowed by the conference this year as Virginia Wesleyan University and Washington and Lee University are home to the 2018-19 Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Scholar-Athlete Award winners. Marlins women's basketball playmaker Jayla Harris earned the Berkley Award, while Generals cross country and track & field runner Hank Patrick received the Jopson Award following a vote of the conference's Board of Directors.
Harris is just the second student-athlete from Virginia Wesleyan to win the Berkley Award, joining former volleyball standout Rebecca L. Bradford in 2009-10. The list Patrick joins is a bit longer as he is the second straight and 15th overall Jopson Award recipient for W&L, increasing their league record. This is the sixth straight year a General has earned at least one of the two senior-driven awards.
Inaugurated in 1984 and 1981, respectively, the Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Scholar-Athlete Awards are given each spring to member institution seniors and conference sport participants who exhibit the highest athletic, academic, and extracurricular achievements. Ms. Berkley began her collegiate teaching career at then Lynchburg College. Several years later, she moved to Hollins University where she coached tennis, field hockey, and soccer, and served as the athletic director for 30 years.
The Jopson Award is named in honor of the Bridgewater College professor and coach who retired in 1981 following 45 years at BC. Dr. Jopson, who initiated and directed the Eagles' cross country and track programs, led his teams to ODAC indoor track titles in 1979, 1980 and 1981, and outdoor crowns from 1978 through 1981.
RELATED: All-Time Berkley and Jopson Award Winners
Hailing from Fredericksburg, Va., Harris shined on and off the court for Virginia Wesleyan. Harris put the caps on an extraordinarily productive career by earning ODAC Player of the Year laurels in a vote of the league's head coaches. She led the ODAC in both scoring and total points scored, racking up career bests at 21.1 points per game and 549 total markers, respectively. She also led the league in field goals made (200) and free throws made (103).
Harris, a four-time all-conference selection including three nods to the All-ODAC First Team, finished her career as the Marlins all-time leading scorer at 1,931 points. The previous record, held by Amy Simpson, had stood for 33 years. Harris's point total moves her into fifth on the ODAC's all-time points scored chart. Harris scored in double figures in 93-of-106 total games played including 10 games of 30 or more points. She poured in a career-high and VWU single-game record 37 points in a 77-68 win over Roanoke on January 21, 2017.
In the classroom, Harris graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.71 grade point average as a business major with a focus in accounting. She plans to start the CPA exam process shortly following graduation and assume a position as a tax accountant with Cherry Bekaert, LLC, in January 2020. Soon to be a four-time All-ODAC Academic Team honoree, Harris is a member of Sigma Beta Delta (business), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership) and Chi Alpha Sigma (collegiate athlete) national honor societies. The eight-semester Dean's List honoree earned the Norfolk Sports Club Award as the most outstanding senior student-athlete at VWU.
Harris' contributions to her communities have been numerous. She has mentored students at all levels of school including girls high school basketball, elementary students, and attendees at Virginia Wesleyan's basketball camps. She volunteered at Norfolk Play Days and helped support LifeNet Health for organ donation and procurement (among other services relating to transplant solutions). Harris volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2018, which is the same year she helped organize services and resources for domestic violence victims at Genieve Shelter in Suffolk, Va. She also partnered with Virginia Wesleyan's Black Student Union to create "Munchy Booth," an on-campus food option in an effort to prevent travelling off campus after alcohol consumption.
From Baton Rouge, La., Patrick has been a linchpin to Washington and Lee's success in cross country and in the mid-distance and distance events for the school's indoor and outdoor track & field programs over the past several years. Patrick finished third in each of the past two ODAC cross country championships, earning him a pair of All-ODAC First Team honors. He placed 12th at the 2017 NCAA regional meet to earn a trip to the national championships, where he went on to place 221st overall. That was his second appearance on the national stage as he helped the Generals team qualify for the season's final meet in 2016.
On the track, Patrick contributed 32 total points to appearances in three indoor and one outdoor conference championships. He helped Generals win the 2016 distance medley relay (indoor), affording him an All-ODAC First Team nod. He picked two all-conference awards in 2018, placing second in the 3,000-meter run (indoor) and third in the mile run (indoor).
In the classroom, Patrick boasted a 3.989 grade point average as a biochemistry major with minors in poverty and human development. His name became synonymous with ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards as he claimed each of the past two in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field for six total plaques. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Patrick received a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, one of just 21 awarded at all Divisions of the NCAA following the 2018 fall campaign. The 2017 Academic All-American is a Johnson Scholar and winner of the Shillington Organic Chemistry Scholarship. The soon-to-be four-time All-ODAC Academic Team honoree is a W&L Scholar-Athlete Award winner and is a multi-honoree on the Washington and Lee President's List.
Patrick has volunteered his time at several venues. Over the past three years, he has been a community table volunteer for Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA) and served Habitat for Humanity. He was a counselor at the Nike Boulder Running Camp in the summer of 2018. Patrick also spent time on a professional track, serving as a research assistant at the LSU Veterinary School in 2014 and 2017. He also volunteered at the east branch at the University of Arkansas for Medical Services.
2019 Marjorie Berkley Award Nominees
Briana Moore, Bridgewater | Basketball
Erin Anderson, Emory & Henry | Softball
Nikki Simpao, Lynchburg | Field Hockey
Kaylin Stenson, Roanoke | Field Hockey
Shamyra Wilkerson, Shenandoah | Track & Field
Jayla Harris, Virginia Wesleyan | Basketball
Cordelia Peters, Washington and Lee | Lacrosse
2019 Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Award Nominees
Brett Jones, Bridgewater | Baseball
Jeremiah Hedrick, Guilford | Football/Track & Field
Matthew Meadows, Lynchburg | Lacrosse
Eric Hoy, Randolph-Macon | Football
Jack Howard, Roanoke | Baseball
Hank Patrick, Washington and Lee | Cross Country/Track & Field