Mercer soccer player Will Bagrou was named the Southern Conference Male Athlete of the Year on Monday, while Samford distance runner Karisa Nelson was named the Female Athlete of the Year.
“Will has been very instrumental to our program’s success over the last three years with two championships and an NCAA Tournament appearance,” Mercer head coach Brad Ruzzo said. “Not only does he represent Mercer on the field with his ability, but he has succeeded in the classroom and the community.
“He has strong character and has developed into a very humble young man while working incredibly hard to achieve his personal and team goals.”
Bagrou is the first Mercer athlete to win the award and is the first men’s soccer player in conference history to win the award. The junior was named the Southern Conference Soccer Player of the Year last fall and earned first-team All-America honors by the National Soccer Coaches Association. He was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann trophy, given to the top Division I soccer player.
Bagrou led Mercer with eight goals and 20 points during the 2016 season as the Bears won the conference tournament and qualified for to the NCAA Tournament.
Bagrou has a 3.2 GPA and is active in the community, working with the Macon Miracle League, tutoring children at Bruce Elementary School in Macon and assisting the homeless at Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia.
“I’m thankful to have been named the SoCon Male Athlete of the Year,” Bagrou said. “This conference is filled with very talented student-athletes, so it is a big honor for me to receive the award.
“I’d like to thank my teammates for pushing me every training session to get better. I couldn’t have won this award without them.”
More Bobcats honors
Georgia College’s Brandon Benson and Cal Gentry were named to the Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-America baseball team Friday.
Benson was named to the first team, while Gentry, a freshman from Perry, was named to the third team.
Benson, a senior who also was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s first team, hit .395 with 22 home runs, 79 RBI and 74 runs scored. Gentry, who started at third base the entire season and took over as the leadoff hitter during the season, led the Peach Belt Conference with a .441 batting average and added 42 RBI and 59 runs scored. He had hitting streaks of 17 and 13 games.
Historic draft pick
Former Mercer lacrosse player Colin Massa made history Sunday when he became the program’s first drafted player in the Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft.
Massa, a defenseman, was selected 81st overall (ninth round) by the Denver Outlaws. A four-year starter with the Bears, Massa joins Outlaws goalie Mike Nugent in the league.