Smith, Glover Named 2011-12 Athletes of the Year
Aug. 19, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - At the 12th-annual Walk of Champions Sunday evening, senior track and field throwers Tim Glover and Brittany Smith received the Illinois State Athlete of the Year awards for the 2011-12 season. Glover received the Milt Weisbecker Male Athlete of the Year Award and Smith received the Jill Hutchison Female Athlete of the Year Award at the event, which welcomes new Redbird student-athletes to campus.
Glover won a gold medal at the 2012 North American Central American and Caribbean Under 23-Championships, after claiming his second-straight NCAA Division I National Title in the javelin, throwing a career-best 268-00, which set school and conference records. Glover also qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, throwing 250-00 and finishing sixth. The Normal, Ill., native was named the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association - 2012 NCAA Division I National Men's Field Athlete of the Year for outdoor track & field. Glover also received the organization's award for Regional Male Field Athlete of the Year. Those accolades add to his third-straight Missouri Valley Conference title, as well as his second-straight Valley Most Outstanding Field Athlete award. He ended the season with the No. 1-ranked collegiate throw and the No. 4 best throw in the country.
The male athlete of the year award is named for Weisbecker, the former athletics director who led Illinois State through times of change from 1966 to 1974. As athletics director, he successfully led the university's athletic program from the NCAA College Division into Division I status. Additionally, Weisbecker had an outstanding record in seven seasons as the Redbird's head golf coach, including a fourth-place NCAA College Division finish in 1969.
From three All-American honors at the NCAA Track and Field Championships to a gold medal at the North American Central American and Caribbean Under 23-Championships in the shot put, Smith continued her stellar Redbird career. Smith claimed two runner-up performances at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scoring 16 points for the Redbirds en route to the team's highest finish at the championships in school history. The Oak Park, Ill., native also qualified for the Olympic Trials, finishing 11th in the hammer and 10th in the shot put. The six-time All-American claimed three runner-up performances at the Valley Championships, after earning the Tony Wilson Award at the Sea Ray Relays for the Most Outstanding Female Field Athlete of the meet. She holds every Illinois State throwing record, except for the discus throw, in which she ranks No. 2.
The other six female nominees were Jordan Birch (softball), Katie Jean (women's golf), Jamie Russell (women's basketball), Rachel Tejada (soccer), Robin Weissman (gymnastics) and Wenting Zhang (Diving).
The female athlete of the year award is named in honor of Hutchison, who retired from coaching women's basketball in 1999 after racking up 461 wins in 28 seasons at Illinois State. Now a radio analyst for Redbird broadcasts, Hutchison was a pioneer and advocate for women in athletics throughout her coaching career. A banner in her honor hangs from the Redbird Arena rafters, and she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
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