For the second month in a row, a member of the Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team has earned the United States Sports Academy’s Female Athlete of the Month award, while a three-time champion of the Master’s golf tournament won on the male side.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nominating and balloting processes. Visit the Academy website and fill out the nomination form, and return to the website the first week of each month to vote on the Athlete of the Month. Winners will be announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of the Academy Update.
Maya Moore won the April ballot after her teammate, Tina Charles, was so honored a month earlier. The University of Connecticut’s junior forward scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds to help the Huskies overcome a sluggish first half and beat Stanford 53-47 in the NCAA women’s championship game in San Antonio, Texas. The three-time All-American had 34 points and 12 boards in a semifinal victory over Baylor.
American golfer Phil Mickelson won the April Male Athlete of the Month honors. The 18-year PGA veteran won his 3rd Masters – one of only eight players to win as many – with a three-shot victory at Augusta, Ga. on 11 April. Mickelson shot a final-round 67 that included five birdies and no bogeys. He entered the day trailing Lee Westwood by one shot. His 16-under was the best score for a winner since 2001.
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James finished second in the April ballot for Male Athlete of the Month. Along with being named NBA MVP for the second straight year, the Cleveland forward led the NBA playoffs in scoring with a 32.3 average, as the Cavaliers defeated the Chicago Bulls in five games of their first-round playoff series. He scored at least 30 points in four of his eight starts in April.
The comeback story of the year for tennis, Kim Clijsters finished second on the female side. The former No. 1 player in the world won 17 consecutive points in the second set and to defeat Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1 in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open. Less than a year after ending a two-year retirement, the 2009 U.S. Open champion has climbed from unranked to No. 11 in the world.
Third place on the male side went to Boston Marathon Champion Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya. Cheruiyot won the 114th Boston Marathon in record style, breaking the course record in a time of 2:05.52. It was 82 seconds faster than the course record set in 2006 by Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who is not related. It was the 18th victory by a Kenyan in the last 20 Boston events.
On the female side, national champion gymnast Susan Jackson finished third. The Louisiana State University senior won the all-around and the balance beam at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships in Gainesville, Fla. The 11-time All-American finished second in the vault for the second year in a row after winning it as a sophomore. She finished her college career with three national titles.