CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Coastal Carolina women’s track athlete Felicitas Mensing (Neuhausen, Germany/Kepler Gymnasium) and Chanticleers’ men’s cross country runner Blair Paul (Queenston, Ontario, Canada/Sir Winston Churchill) have been awarded the annual Bob McCloskey Insurance Big South Conference Graduate Fellowships, it was announced today by Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. Bob McCloskey Insurance, a Big South Corporate Partner, will award $2,000 each to Mensing and Paul for their respective graduate studies on Thursday evening, May 29 as part of the Conference’s Hall of Fame Dinner at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island.
The Big South Conference Graduate Fellowship Program was established by the League in the fall of 2005 as a means of recognizing the academic excellence of Big South Conference student-athletes who intend to pursue postgraduate studies upon graduation from a Big South Conference institution.
“I want to congratulate Ms. Mensing and Mr. Paul for their outstanding undergraduate careers and selection for this prestigious honor,” said Kallander. “The entire Big South family is proud of their accomplishments and we wish them the best in their graduate studies. We are also gratified by the support of McCloskey Insurance for this worthy award.”
“It is with great pleasure that we present these scholarships to these two fine, deserving student-athletes, and wish to extend our heartfelt wishes to their continued success in their future endeavors,” added Bob McCloskey. “We also are very proud and excited to be a Big South Corporate Partner, and look forward to a long-term relationship.”
Mensing was a three-year letterwinner for the Coastal Carolina women’s cross country and track & field programs. She concluded her career with 11 All-Conference performances during the cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. During her cross country career, she earned All-Conference three times, just one of 23 individuals in Big South history to accomplish that feat. She finished third in the Conference Championship meet this past season after placing fifth as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore. She also finished in the top 40 at the NCAA Cross Country Regionals as a freshman and sophomore. Mensing also was voted the Big South’s Indoor Track & Field Most Outstanding Track Performer in 2007, was a two-time Big South Indoor 3,000m champion and was the 2007 Big South Indoor mile champion. This season, Mensing ran a time of 9:58.66 in the 3,000 meters at the Tiger Indoor Invitational – the third-fastest time in the Big South this year. Mensing is a two-time Big South 3,000-meter steeplechase champion, winning the event in 2006 and 2008. She is the Conference’s and school record holder in the event with a time of 10:24.24. During the 2008 outdoor season, she qualified for the NCAA East Regional Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and has won three races this outdoor season.
A 4.00 student in mathematics, Mensing was named one of the Big South’s 2008 Christenberry Award winners for Academic Excellence. She graduated from Coastal Carolina in just three years and will attend the University of Minnesota to pursue her master’s degree in mechanical engineering. In 2007-08, she swept the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards in the three women’s running sports – cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. In addition, Mensing was a member of the Mathematical Association of America Math Conference in 2006 and 2007, was a member of the Coastal Carolina Math Jeopardy Team in the Spring of 2007, and tutored in the Foreign Language Instructional Lab all three years at Coastal. She was named to the President’s List each semester, was a member of the Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society and the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honor Society. Mensing also earned Chanticleer All-Academic Team honors in 2006 and 2007, the President’s Scholar Award in 2007 and 2008 and the 2008 Time Warner Cable Award for Highest Senior GPA. During her time at Coastal, Mensing mentored students at Myrtle Beach High School’s Academy of the Arts, Science and Technology program in building a robot for the “My First Robot” competition.
Paul was a four-year letterwinner for the Coastal Carolina men’s cross country and outdoor track & field squads during his career, and served as cross country team captain in 2007. Paul earned All-Conference honors in cross country his senior year after finishing 10th in the Conference Championship meet with a time of 26:30.6. He ran a career-best 10K time of 32:35.85 at the NCAA Cross Country Regionals and raced a season-best 8K time of 25:30.3 at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet. Paul ranks on the Big South’s top 10 this season in three outdoor events. His time of 15:07.39 in the 5,000-meter run is ninth-best in the Conference, while his 3:58.96 in the 1,500-meter run and 9:47.53 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase rank 10th in both categories.
A 3.91 student in marine science, Paul has been accepted to the University of California-Santa Barbara to pursue a Ph.D. in marine science with the intention of attaining a professorship. During his academic career, Paul was a two-time All-Academic Team honoree in both cross country and outdoor track & field. A three-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll member, Paul was named to the Coastal Carolina University President’s List three times, was a four-time Dean’s List member and received the Dean’s Scholar Athlete Award in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Paul also received the Harvard Origins of Life Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2007, was a Canadian Internship Scholarship recipient at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences in 2006, and has been an active member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society since 2007. Furthermore, Paul has been a member of Who’s Who Among College Students in America since 2006, and has been involved in the Volunteer Mentorship Program at Whittamore Park Middle School in Conway, S.C. since 2007.
Nominations for the Graduate Fellowship are made by the Faculty Athletics Representative or the Chief Academic Officer at a Big South member institution, and are limited to one male and one female at each school. The additional finalists for the 2008 fellowship are listed below:
Nominee, school/Sport/Major/GPA/Postgraduate Study
James Atkins, High Point/Men’s Soccer/Track/Communications/3.90/MBA
Allyson Fasnacht, Liberty/Women’s Basketball/Sports Management/3.88/Business Administration
Tyler Leveski, Radford/Men’s Soccer/Communications/3.614/Corporate Communications
Cassandra Price, Radford/Women’s Tennis/International Finance/4.000/Business Administration
Alex Torriero, High Point/Women’s Soccer/Business Administration/3.974/Law
To qualify for the Big South Conference Graduate Fellowship, candidates must have the following requirements:
* An overall undergraduate cumulative grade-point average of 3.500 or better based on a maximum 4.000, or the equivalent in other recognized grading systems;
* Have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of a varsity team at a Big South Conference member institution;
* Be a graduating senior or be enrolled in graduate study at a Big South Conference institution while completing the last year of eligibility;
* Have applied for admission into a graduate degree program at a properly accredited, non-profit educational institution or into a post baccalaureate professional degree program at a professionally accredited law school, medical school or the equivalent, without restriction as to the national site of the institution;
* Have evidenced superior character and leadership;
* Have demonstrated that participation in athletics and community service has been a positive influence on the nominee’s personal and intellectual development. Relative success in athletics is important but not of overriding significance;
* Enroll in a graduate degree program the fall semester or term subsequent to being awarded the fellowship.