DAPHNE, Ala. – Baseball pitcher Jake Arrieta and basketball player Breanna Stewart, both from the United States, have been voted the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for April.
Arrieta, of the Chicago Cubs, threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in a 16-0 win on 22 April 2016, his second no-hitter in two seasons. Arrieta helped himself at the plate by hitting two singles, drawing a walk and scoring a run.
Stewart scored a game-high 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to lead the University of Connecticut Huskies to a fourth consecutive National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA) Women’s Tournament Championship on 5 April 2016 with a 82-51 victory over Syracuse University. She finished her college career with numerous NCAA women’s tournament accomplishments, including third all-time in points (446), third in rebounds (207), and second in blocks (71).
The two athletes are now eligible for the Academy’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year Award to be voted on at year’s end.
The runner up in the men’s balloting was basketball player Kris Jenkins of the United States and third place went to marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.
Jenkins executed a perfect 3-point shot at the buzzer to secure Villanova University a 77-74 victory over the University of North Carolina in the championship game of the 2016 National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA) Men’s Basketball Tournament on 4 April 2016 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history when he won the London Marathon on 24 April 2016 with a time of 2:03:05, setting a course record and missing the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) marathon world record by only 8 seconds.
The runner up in the women’s balloting was gymnast Simone Biles of the United States and third place went to runner Caster Semenya of South Africa.
Biles took the gold medal in the all-around competition at the 2016 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Xfinity Arena on 9 April 2016 in Everett, Wash.
Semenya was a triple winner on 16 April 2016 at the South African Championships in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She won the women’s 400 meter, 800 meter and 1500 meter races. In the 400 meter and 800 meter races she had world leading times of 50.74 seconds and 1 minute 58.45 seconds, respectively. She won the 1500 meter race in 4 minutes 10.93 seconds.
This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Year program, which is part of the institution’s annual Awards of Sport program. Each month, the public is invited to participate by nominating and voting for the Male and Female Athletes of the Month on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu. Monthly winners become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor, which is selected at year end by an online public balloting. Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tennis great Serena Williams were the Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2015.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.