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Arkansas ’ Strode among Byers scholarship finalists named


The NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship Committee has selected six finalists for the annual Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarships.

The 2009 finalists are Elizabeth Carlton, swimming and diving, Kenyon; Kara Denby, swimming and diving, Auburn; Amy Massey, soccer, Southern California; Tim Masthay, football, Kentucky; Craig Sheedy, swimming and diving, Arizona; and Blake Strode, tennis, Arkansas.

The Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarships were established in 1988 and recognize the contributions of former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. The awards encourage academic achievement of student-athletes. Each Byers Scholar will receive a $24,000 scholarship.

Recipients of the award must have a 3.5 grade-point average (4.0 scale), demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development. Two finalists, a male and a female, will be selected in April as recipients of the 2009 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarships.

Strode is majoring in international economics and Spanish at Arkansas. He is enrolled in the Honors College and is a recipient of the university’s prestigious Bodenhamer Fellowship. He was the recipient of the 2008 Central Region ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship and is a two-time all-Southeastern Conference performer. In the classroom, Strode earned a pair of ESPN The Magazine all-district honors, was the 2008 SEC Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year and is a multiple-time member of the Arkansas Athletics Department and SEC Academic honor rolls. Strode was also recently selected to represent his university as a finalist for the SEC’s H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award.