– West Virginia University seniors Frances Silva
and Sarah Martinelli
were named Scholar-Athletes of the Year by the Big 12 Conference today.
Silva, an Overland Park, Kan., native, was named the Big 12 Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Martinelli, a Morgantown native, was named the Big 12 Women’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year, along with Texas’ Marielle Hall.
Silva, the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for NCAA Division I women’s soccer, capped her four-year Mountaineer career with several academic honors, including a spot on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Women’s Scholar All-America Frist Team. A NSCAA/Continental Tire All-America Second Team honoree, she was one of 15 semifinalists for the 2013 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy. A unanimous selection as the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Silva scored a spot on the all-conference first team and led the Big 12 in goals (15), assists (13) and points (43).
Silva graduated last May with a 3.97 undergraduate grade point average (GPA) in broadcast journalism. She is working toward a master’s in sport management.
The Mountaineers (16-4-3, 7-1 Big 12), the two-time defending Big 12 regular-season champions and 2013 Big 12 Soccer Tournament champions, finished the year ranked No. 12 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire College Rankings. WVU closed its year with a 1-0 loss at No. 1-seed Virginia Tech on Nov. 22 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Martinelli’s time as a Mountaineer included an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in each of the past two seasons, while maintaining a 3.72 GPA. She finished eighth overall at the Big 12 Championships with a personal-best 6k time of 20:44.9, earning All-Big 12 honors. Her 6k time was the best by a Mountaineer runner since Sarah Anne-Brault ran a 20:36.8 at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Martinelli came in 22nd place overall the NCAA Regional meet to earn All-Mid-Atlantic Region distinctions.
Martinelli was named the Big 12 Conference’s Runner of the Week in early October, following her efforts at the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pa. During her career, Martinelli was a Big East Academic All-Star, named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and recognized on the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll. She will graduate in May with a degree in exercise physiology.
Honorees were selected as the award-winners for their respective sports based on a vote of each sport’s head coaching group. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
The Big 12 Conference established the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards in 2012-13 to recognize its outstanding student-athletes. Honorees must be a junior or a senior with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher and must have participated in at least 60 percent of the team’s scheduled contests with a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.