CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Big South Conference announced on Wednesday that senior Brielle Spencer of the High Point women’s soccer team was awarded the Conference’s prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence. The award is given to the male and female student-athletes who attain the highest GPA during their college careers.
Spencer is one of four Big South athletes to receive the award along with Radford’s Jourdan McDaniel (women’s soccer) and Gardner-Webb’s Josh Padgett (men’s track & field) and Jane Savage (softball).
“Brielle truly exemplifies every characteristic we want in our student-athletes,” women’s soccer head coach Marty Beall said. “She has accomplished more in her career than any other HPU women’s soccer player. It has been an honor to coach her and have her lead our program. I am very thankful that we will have the pleasure of having Brielle join our coaching staff next fall as she completes her Masters.”
Spencer will graduate this spring with degrees in physics and mathematics, finishing with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She has been named the Big South Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year honoree in each of the past two seasons, is a four-time Millis Scholar-Athlete and three-time member of the Big South Honor Roll. Spencer was also named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team during her senior season, and is a two-time recipient of High Point’s Tobias Scholar-Athlete Award, which is given annually to HPU’s top female scholar-athlete. She was one of two recipients of the Big South’s Sunbelt Rentals Scholarship earlier this year.
The central defender helped HPU win two Big South Championships and make two NCAA Tournament appearances during her four-year career. She started 81 of 86 career matches, logged 7,158 career minutes and tallied one assist during her time with the Panthers. Spencer was part of a defensive unit that allowed just six goals in Big South conference play in 2011 and posted seven shutouts (six in Big South action).
Big South member institutions nominate one male and one female student-athlete — regardless if the sport is sponsored by the Big South — for the annual Christenberry Award. The honor is named for George A. Christenberry, the former President of Augusta College (now Augusta State University) and one of the founders of the Big South Conference. A member of the Big South Hall of Fame, Christenberry served as the League’s first President from 1983-86.
“The Christenberry Award is the highest academic honor awarded to Big South student-athletes,” Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander said. “We congratulate Jourdan, Josh, Jane and Brielle for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the field of play. Their careers truly exemplify the highest ideals of the Big South Conference.”
The Conference will formally present the awards on May 31 in Hilton Head, S.C., as part of the Big South Spring Meetings and Hall of Fame Dinner. It is the ninth time in the last 10 years that more than two student-athletes have been honored.