Drake Named GNAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year

June 20, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington University senior javelin thrower Bethany Drake added to her lengthy list of academic and athletic awards by being named the 2016-17 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, announced Monday by the conference office.

Drake (Sandy, OR) becomes the second WWU student-athlete to earn the award since conference athletic directors started voting on the award in 2001-02. She joins former Viking volleyball player Liz Bishop (2003-04) as the WWU student-athletes to win the award.

Drake capped her illustrious WWU career winning the javelin competition at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships on May 27 in Bradenton, Fla., her second national title during her collegiate career, also winning top honors in 2014. In addition to being named a First Team All-American for the third time in her career, Drake was named the GNAC’s Track & Field Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row, and was named WWU’s co-Female Athlete of the Year. Drake was crowned the GNAC outdoor champion in the javelin for the first time in her career, winning with a meet-record mark of 52.40m/171-11 against a field that saw seven GNAC athletes advance to the national meet.

“I am blown away to be receiving this honor,” Drake said. “Being an athlete has made me a better student, and being a student has made me a better athlete. The discipline and dedication that I've learned from pursuing my athletic goals has definitely carried over in my life. I am so grateful that being an athlete allowed me the opportunity to complete both of my degrees, I don't take it for granted. I couldn't have done this without the support of amazing people who invested in me, who allowed me to invest fully in my dreams and journey.”

Outside of competition, Drake graduated last June with a bachelor’s degree in art education, carrying a 3.87 cumulative grade point average. She walked again this June through a newly renovated Carver Gymnasium with a perfect 4.00 GPA in her graduate program. She was a CoSIDA District 8 All-Academic selection and became a three-time GNAC Academic All-Star. She was also named WWU’s co-Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“Bethany is the whole package when you call her a student-athlete,” said WWU Track & Field head coach Pee Wee Halsell. “She has excelled in competition as a three-time All-American and a two-time national champion. In the classroom, she has done the same receive her undergraduate degree and then continue on for a Master’s degree in teaching. She is a gifted artist and will make a wonderful teacher and coach. Bethany puts her all into whatever she is doing and I think her being named the GNAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year is more than well deserving.”

GNAC FEMALE SCHOLAR-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

2016-17

Bethany Drake, Western Washington (Track & Field)

2015-16

Shayla Page, Seattle Pacific (Soccer)

2014-15

Suzanna Ohlsen, Seattle Pacific (Basketball)

2013-14

Lacey McGladrey, Saint Martin’s (Softball)

2012-13

Helen Crofts, Simon Fraser (Track & Field)

2011-12

Kelsey Jenkins, Seattle Pacific (Soccer)

2010-11

Dara Jack, Saint Martin’s (Basketball)

2009-10

Jessica Pixler, Seattle Pacific (Cross Country/Track & Field)

2008-09

Ashley Puga, Northwest Nazarene (Cross Country/Track & Field)

2007-08

Amanda Peters, Northwest Nazarene (Soccer/Track & Field)

2006-07

Ana Gutierrez, Seattle (Soccer)

2005-06

Mullen, Central Washington (Track & Field)

2004-05

Martina Kartikova, Saint Martin’s (Basketball)

2003-04

Liz Bishop, Western Washington (Volleyball)

2002-03

Nichole Sauvageau, Seattle (Soccer)

2001-02

Nichole Sauvageau, Seattle (Soccer)

A four-time outdoor national championships participant, three-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-American and two-time national champion, Drake concludes her collegiate career with a career-best mark of 54.18m/177-9 ranking as the conference record as well as No. 2 in WWU history. Among an illustrious list of accolades and honors during her collegiate career, Drake’s senior season alone has included the following honors:

  • GNAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • GNAC Track & Field Female Athlete of the Year
  • NCAA Division II javelin national champion
  • USTFCCCA First Team All-American
  • USTFCCCA All-West Region
  • GNAC javelin champion
  • Two-time GNAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week
  • College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 8
  • GNAC All-Academic Team
  • WWU Female Athlete of the Year (Co-Recipient)
  • WWU Female Scholar Athlete of the Year (Co-Recipient)
  • HERO Sports Division II HERO of the Year Finalist

Drake is set to compete this week at the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Over the weekend she tied her season best with a throw of 52.40m/171-11 at the Iron Wood Throwers Club Last Chance Qualifier in Portland. She will compete in the USATF Championships with former teammate Katie Reichert.

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