Atalay, Phillips Take Home Top GW Senior Athlete Honors
May 1, 2012
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's tennis senior Ugur Atalay and women's lacrosse senior Sarah Phillips took home top athletics awards at the annual Senior Honors Luncheon on Tuesday afternoon in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom.
Atalay and Phillips claimed the Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete of the Year honors, senior rowers Eric Anderson and MacKenzie Hovermale took home the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, and 24 most valuable players were recognized for their athletic success during the 2011-12 academic year.
All of GW's 73 graduating senior student-athletes received a framed Varsity Letter and plaque, a copy of GW alumnus James C. Rees' book George Washington's Leadership Lessons as a gift from university Board of Trustees chairman Russ Ramsey, and their student-athlete sash to be proudly worn at upcoming Commencement ceremonies.
Atalay was the recipient of the J. Dallas Shirley Outstanding Senior Male Student-Athlete award given annually to a graduating male senior who excels in athletics, academics and community service. J. Dallas Shirley, a 1935 GW graduate, was a Colonials basketball star who later went on to a distinguished career as a D.C. educator and basketball official. The late Mr. Shirley was a well-known college and NBA referee as well as officiating in the 1960 Summer Olympics. He is one of just two GW graduates - the other being the legendary Red Auerbach - in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
From Istanbul, Turkey, Atalay is a four-year standout who has helped transform GW men's tennis into the most dominant program in the Atlantic 10 Conference. His leadership, hard work and dedication have been a major influence on a Colonials' team that has claimed back-to-back Atlantic 10 Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012.
Atalay made an immediate impact on the program as the Atlantic 10's Most Outstanding Rookie Performer in 2009, and he's earned A-10 First Team All-Conference recognition in each of his four seasons at GW. In those four seasons, Atalay has totaled more than 100 combined victories in both singles and doubles play.
In his final Atlantic 10 Championship last month, Atalay won four straight No. 2 singles matches, including the deciding match in the semifinals against Charlotte and the title-clinching match against Xavier, to propel the Colonials to their second straight league crown. Atalay sports a 21-9 singles record and 18-8 doubles mark this spring and will lead the GW men's tennis team into its second-ever NCAA Tournament later this month.
Off the court, Atalay excels in the classroom as a finance major with a cumulative 3.32 grade-point average, and he has been named to GW's Athletics Department Academic Dean's List all seven semesters.
Phillips received the Lynn George Outstanding Senior Female Student-Athlete award given annually to a women's senior athlete who exemplifies excellence in athletics, academics and citizenship. Lynn George was an outstanding GW student-athlete in the late 1940s, who later became the first director of women's athletics at GW, holding the title for 12 years through 1987.
Since arriving at GW in the fall of 2008, Phillips has raised the bar of expectations with her prolific production as the lacrosse program's all-time leading scorer, as well as her consistent success in the classroom.
An Atlantic 10 All-Conference selection all four years at GW, Phillips began her stellar career as the A-10's Rookie of the Year in 2009, was honored with Second Team All-Conference accolades after leading the Colonials in scoring as both a sophomore and junior, and capped her career with First Team All-Atlantic 10 honors just last week.
During her junior year, Phillips became GW's all-time assists leader and further distanced herself in the category this spring to become the only player in program history with more than 100 career assists. She went on to claim two more records this season by becoming GW's career points leader as well as setting the program's single-season points mark. Phillips and classmate Megan Seidman both joined the program's 100 career goals list this spring to become the first set of teammates to accomplish the century-club feat.
Phillips not only made her offensive presence known in the Atlantic 10, but on the national level as well. At the conclusion of the 2012 regular season, Sarah paced the A-10 and ranked in the Top 10 in all of NCAA Division I in assists, as well as ranked second in the league and fifth in the country in points per game.
Phillips also excels in the classroom as a finance major with a cumulative 3.67 grade-point average. She is one of only two GW lacrosse players ever to earn three A-10 All-Academic Team selections, and appeared on the Colonials' Athletics Department Academic Dean's List all seven semesters.
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
GW Athletics Most Valuable Players for 2011-12