The American Athletic Conference (AAC) has announced the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2020-21 academic year.
The University of Tulsa student-athletes garnered four sport-specific scholar-athlete honors while also earning the overall scholar-athlete award for the league’s male sports. It marked the third consecutive year that Tulsa has had four AAC scholar-athlete award winners.
In the seven-year history of Tulsa’s membership in The American, a total of 20 Golden Hurricane student-athletes have now been recognized as their particular sports recipient of the scholar-athlete of the year award.
Cross-country and track All-American Patrick Dever was selected as The American’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while also earning Scholar-Athlete of the Year merits for the sport of men’s cross-country. Caitlin Klopfer earned the women’s cross-country scholar-athlete of the year award for the second consecutive season, while Rebecca Lescay is the women’s basketball recipient and Henry Visser received the honor for men’s indoor track and field.
As The American’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Dever will receive a $4,000 postgraduate financial scholarship. The individual sport Scholar-Athletes of the Year honorees will receive a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship.
A four-time All-American and six-time all-conference selection, Patrick Dever completed his career with a 3.800 graduate GPA in accounting.
Dever led Tulsa to the school’s 11th straight conference cross-country championship, while finishing as The American’s individual champion this past year. Dever also placed fifth individually in leading Tulsa to a sixth-place performance at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships in March, while picking up All-America accolades.
The senior from Leyland, England, also excelled on the track where he was the NCAA’s 10,000-meter outdoor champion and placed sixth in the 5,000m run. His time of 27:41.87 in the 10,000m shattered a 42-year old meet record by more than 19 seconds.
A seven-time all-conference selection, Caitlin Klopfer graduated with a 3.956 grade point average as a double major in chemical engineering and French. It marked her second AAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Last year, Klopfer also earned the overall Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year trophy.
Klopfer, from Ballwin, MO, led the Hurricane women harriers to a second straight AAC title and the school’s second consecutive trip to the NCAA Cross-Country Championships in the 2020-21 season. She finished as runner-up at the league championship, while finishing in 69th place at the NCAA meet.
On the track, Klopfer won the 10,000-meter race at The American Championship and advanced to the NCAA West Regional. She also placed fifth in the 5,000m at the AAC event.
A three-time all-conference academic selection, Lescay will return for a fifth season with the Golden Hurricane in 2021-22.
Lescay, from Plano, Texas, started every game last season, averaging 7.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per games, while shooting .383 percent from the field. She also had a team-best 38 steals and eight blocks on the season.
In her career, Lescay averages 6.4 points (707) and 3.2 rebounds (359), has 223 assists, 179 steals and 30 blocks, while starting in 92 of 111 contests.
Henry Visser, a track and field athlete, has maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA as a double major in finance and economics. In a shortened indoor track an field season, Visser won the 400-meters at the Wichita State Invite and placed third at the Division I Challenge.
The redshirt junior from Bocholt, Germany, Visser has been on the President’s List in all eight semesters at Tulsa. He graduated this past May, summa cum laude, and as the Outstanding Economics Graduate.
Visser placed fifth at The American Championship in the 400-meters in 2020 and this past year finished in sixth place for the 400m hurdles at the conference’s outdoor meet.
Selections for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards are made by the faculty athletic representatives on the basis of academic credentials and athletic performance. Each conference school may nominate one student-athlete who has achieved senior academic standing as determined by the institution. A winner is chosen from each of the conference’s 22 sponsored sports in addition to men’s and women’s at-large selections from sports not sponsored by the conference.