AWARD: Simmons named ASC Athlete of the Year
Graphic by: Jordan Kinney
Graphic by: Jordan Kinney

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TYLER – UT Tyler senior Whitney Simmons has been selected as an American Southwest Conference Athlete of the Year recipient after winning two NCAA Track & Field National Championships and a pair of American Southwest Conference titles to cap her historic career for the Patriots. Teidrick Smith was named the ASC Male Athlete of the Year for helping to lead the Mary Hardin-Baylor football team to the NCAA Division III championship.

Simmons has a long and impressive list of career accomplishments with three NCAA national championships, seven All-American honors, three USTFCCCA West Region Field Athlete of the Year selections and winning six ASC titles. Her senior season included winning the hammer and discus at the ASC Championship in Abilene after winning six regular-season meets in the Outdoor season. She started her year by winning the Weight Throw at the NCAA DIII Indoor with a mark of 19.62 meters in Naperville, Illinois for the second national title of her career.

“I had to really work for this one. Every day. Every week,” said Simmons after winning the 2017 Weight Throw title. “My competitors made me bring my best to the ring today and I couldn’t have asked for a better competition. After it was over I just felt this flood of relief run over me. My Indoor season is done and I couldn’t have asked for a better last ride.”

She would continue dedicating herself and finished her amazing career by setting a new NCAA DIII record and winning the Hammer Throw national title with a mark of 64.03 meters in Ohio. It was her third NCAA championship after she had also won the 2016 title.

“It was the most amazing feeling, and the best moment of my life to date,” she said after winning the third NCAA title of her career. “All of my hard work. Everything from the last four years was for that final mark, and I couldn't be more overwhelmed with pride and gratefulness."

A White Oak native, Simmons was a four-time All-American in the Hammer Throw during the Outdoor season and a three-time NCAA DIII Indoor All-American in the Weight Throw during her career with the Patriots. 

“Words cannot express how proud I am for Whitney,” UT Tyler coach Chris Stonestreet said. “For four years, she carried herself with class and pride through her successes and her failures. She represented our program with the highest character and has set a standard of excellence on and off the track for future patriots.”

In ASC Championship competition, Simmons won the conference Hammer title all four years and won the discus as a junior and senior after finishing second her first two years. She is the only UT Tyler student-athlete to win more than one national title in their careers.

“Whitney is simply a high-quality individual who loves the sport; works hard; and loves her UT Tyler home,” said UT Tyler Track & Field head coach Bob Hepler. “She is the true student-athlete that every NCAA program wants to produce. An outstanding young person who is a student first, but still excels as an athlete. Amazing.”

Dr. Howard Patterson added: “Quite often coaches are blessed to have the opportunity to work with gifted and talented student athletes, but seldom are they able to see someone achieve as much as Whitney has achieved during her amazing college career. Whitney has brought distinction to her sport, The University of Texas at Tyler and her hometown of White Oak. We are all very proud of the determination, dedication, sportsmanship and focus Whitney exhibited throughout her career at UT Tyler. Her accomplishments will stand for years to come and she will serve as a role model for countless young women who strive to be the very best they can be. We wish Whitey the best of luck as she now sets her sights on gaining an Olympic Team berth.”

Simmons is the third UT Tyler athlete to earn the award following Kelsie Batten (2016) and Lauren Robenalt (2014) who won ASC Athlete of the Year for their contributions for the softball program.  UT Tyler basketball coach Kendra Hassell won the award twice (2002, 2003) when she was a player at Hardin-Simmons. The ASC Athlete of the Year award recognizes the men's and women's student-athlete whose athletic accomplishments during the current athletic year best contributed to their sport, their institution's overall athletic program and to the conference. Each ASC member institution nominates its campus athlete of the year recipients to the conference-wide ballot. The award is presented for the 18th time in the 2016-17 academic season after votes from the conference's sports information directors and former Outstanding Media Service Award recipients.

A defensive end for UMHB, Smith was named National Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Cru to the Division III football national championship in mid-December. Following the 2016 season, Smith was voted ASC Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season after leading the conference with 15.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. A three-time all-conference selection, Smith is the first player in ASC history to win conference Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons. He finished his career as the ASC all-time and single-season record holder in sacks and tackles for loss. Smith capped his senior season voted to four all-America teams, named All-South Region, and honored as the South Region Defensive Player of the Year.

The American Southwest Conference Athlete of the Year award annually recognizes a male and a female student-athlete whose athletic accomplishments best contributed to their sport, their institution's overall athletic program and to the conference.

All-Time Winners

Year Men Women
2016-17 Teidrick Smith, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Football) Whitney Simmons, Texas-Tyler (Track & Field)
2015-16 Conner Combs, East Texas Baptist (Baseball) Kelsie Batten, Texas-Tyler (Softball)
2014-15 Connor Bertsch, Concordia Texas (Baseball) McKenzie Ralston, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Golf)
2013-14 Kyle Schleigh, Texas Dallas (Basketball) Lauren Robenalt, Texas-Tyler (Softball)
2012-13 Javicz Jones, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Football) Katie Kuykendall, Hardin-Simmons (Soccer)
2011-12 Kevin Cunningham, McMurry (Track & fFeld) Brittany Roberson, Howard Payne (Basketball)
2010-11 Ben McLaughlin, Louisiana College (Football) Amy Kuykendall, Hardin-Simmons (Soccer)
2009-10 Jake Mullin, McMurry (Football, Baseball) Ayrika Henderson, East Texas Baptist (Softball)
2008-09 Hann Ollison, McMurry (Track & Field) Ashley Huston, Hardin-Simmons (Track & Field)
2007-08 Jerrell Freeman, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Football) Meia Daniels, Howard Payne (Basketball)
2006-07 Josh Kubiak, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Football) Meia Daniels, Howard Payne (Basketball)
2005-06 Aaron Crais, Texas Lutheran (Baseball) Sandi Clark, Louisiana College (Softball)
2004-05 Cody Brotherton, McMurry (Track & Field) Holly Glover, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Golf)
2003-04 Cody Fredenburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Football) Brittany Cary, McMurry (Golf)
2002-03 Preston Meyer, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Football) Kendra Anderson, Hardin-Simmons (Basketball)
2001-02 Robert Moore, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Basketball) Kendra Anderson, Hardin-Simmons (Basketball)
2000-01 (co) Aaron Kernek, Austin College (Football,Track & Field) Talitha Belcher, McMurry (Track & Field)
  (co) Robert Moore, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Basketball)  
1999-00 Brad Parris, McMurry (Track & Field) Ogonna Merritt, McMurry (Basketball)

Awards Breakdown

Multiple Award Recipients

2 Kendra Anderson, Hardin-Simmons (01-02, 02-03)
2 Meia Daniels, Howard Payne (06-07, 07-08)
2 Robert Moore, Mary Hardin-Baylor (00-01, 01-02)

Recipients by Sport

9 Basketball
9 Football
8 Track & Field
4 Baseball
4 Softball
3 Golf
2 Soccer

Recipients by Institution

10 Mary Hardin-Baylor
8 McMurry
5 Hardin-Simmons
3 Howard Payne
3 Texas-Tyler
2 East Texas Baptist
2 Louisiana College
1 Texas Dallas
1 Austin College
1 Texas Lutheran

Men's Recipients by Institution

8 Mary Hardin-Baylor
5 McMurry
1 Concordia Texas
1 East Texas Baptist
1 Louisiana College
1 Texas Dallas
1 Austin College
1 Texas Lutheran

Women's Recipients by Institution

5 Hardin-Simmons
3 Howard Payne
3 McMurry
2 Mary Hardin-Baylor
3 Texas-Tyler
1 East Texas Baptist
1 Louisiana College

2016-17 Athlete of the Year Nominees
# Athlete of the Year

# Whitney Simmons Track & Field Texas-Tyler
Ellyn Avery Basketball Sul Ross State
Leah Brown Softball Mary Hardin-Baylor
Micah Cisernoz Volleyball, Basketball Howard Payne
Jaela Dejean Basketball Concordia Texas
Kami Jones Soccer Hardin-Simmons
Bryanna Moltz Basketball Univ. of the Ozarks
Jayne Perez Softball East Texas Baptist
Savannah Settle Softball Louisiana College
Shantel Thomas Track & Field McMurry
Michelle Toro Volleyball Texas Dallas
Stephanie Vana Soccer LeTourneau
# Teidrick Smith Football Mary Hardin-Baylor
Conner Combs Baseball Eat Texas Baptist
Shed Davis Football Louisiana College
Jason Disney Football Howard Payne
Nate Estrada Basketball McMurry
Nathaniel Jack Basketball Hardin-Simmons
Jeff Martin Basketball LeTourneau
Thomas Mills Soccer Univ. of the Ozarks
Joe Neal Basketball Concordia Texas
Jermaine Stevens Football, Track & Field Sul Ross State
Joseph Weber Soccer Texas Dallas
Daniel Williams Baseball Texas-Tyler

Note: Belhaven University was ineligible for the 2016-17 awards under ASC membership requirements.




HAMMER - 64.03m National Champion (2017)
WEIGHT THROW – 19.62m National Champion (2017) 


64.03 (NCAA DIII National Championship - Geneva, Ohio)
63.08 (1st - Tom Tellez Invitational – Houston, Texas)
62.78 (1st - UWL Eagle Open – La Crosse, Wisconsin)
62.56 (1st - East Texas Invitational – Commerce, Texas)
62.52 (1st - Marc Randle Classic – Tyler, Texas)
61.35 (1st - Southern Arkansas – Magnolia, Arkansas)
61.30 (1st - SFA Carl Knight Invite – Nacogdoches, Texas)
60.27 (4th - Texas Relays – Austin, Texas)
58.06 (1st - ASC Championship – Abilene, Texas)