April 11, 2012
AUBURN--Former Auburn student-athletes Katy Frierson (soccer) and Dan Mazzaferro (diving) are among six finalists for the 2012 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, the NCAA has announced. One male and one female former student-athlete will be selected later this month for the renewable award, which provides $24,000 annually.
"We're very proud of Katy Frierson and Dan Mazzaferro and congratulate them on the high honor of being named Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship finalists," Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. "They have each excelled academically and athletically throughout their time as student-athletes at Auburn, exemplifying the best and highest ideals of the Auburn Creed."
The remaining four finalists include Miles Batty of Brigham Young (track and field/cross country), Matt Horn of Winthrop (soccer), Elizabeth Phillips of Washington University (track and field/cross country) and Kelsey Ward of Drury (swimming).
A soccer All-American in 2010 and 2011, Frierson was a four-time first-team All-SEC member and named conference freshman of the year in 2008. The Homewood, Ala., native led Auburn to the 2011 SEC Tournament title and was named the tournament MVP. She was drafted 10th overall in the women's professional soccer draft.
"I'm immensely honored to be considered for this scholarship," Frierson said. "To be named as a finalist in such a well-rounded group of student-athletes is extremely exciting and humbling. I'm very thankful for this opportunity and would like to thank the Auburn family for their continued support."
Academically, Frierson graduated summa cum laude in three and a half years with a degree in political science and was the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year her senior year. A member of Phi Kappa Phi and a Lowe's Senior Class Award first-team member, Frierson was the 2010 NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Hermann Trophy semifinalist. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in international development at Auburn.
"We are so proud that Katy is a finalist for the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship," Auburn head soccer coach Karen Hoppa said. "She epitomizes the term student-athlete and has been an extraordinary representative of the Auburn soccer program on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. For her to have the opportunity to interview in Indianapolis as one of just six NCAA student-athletes is a great honor for her and for Auburn University."
Mazzaferro was a three-time SEC champion diver and the SEC Male Diver of the Year in 2009 and 2011. A native of Cheshire, Conn., Mazzaferro is a seven-time All-American who participated in the 2007 and 2009 World University Games and was a United States Olympic Trials finalist in 2008.
"It is a tremendous honor to be named a finalist for the Walter Byers Scholarship," Mazzaferro said. "The experiences and opportunities I had as an NCAA Division I student-athlete, have positively impacted me and will remain a part of me throughout my life. I am grateful for the service of Walter Byers and the thousands of other NCAA coaches and staff who have created, and continue to improve, an environment that encourages excellence in academics, athletics, and service."
A Rhodes Scholar finalist in 2011 and 2012, Mazzaferro graduated from Auburn with a 3.92 grade point average in chemistry and was a two-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Mazzaferro was a finalist for the Byers Postgraduate Scholarship in 2010 and 2011, and is a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America Academic All-American. Currently studying medicine, Mazzaferro is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi, Golden Key International Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Iota and National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
"Congratulations to Dan on being named a finalist for this award," Auburn head swimming and diving coach Brett Hawke said. "He has been an outstanding ambassador for the Auburn swimming and diving program, and we are proud of his many accomplishments. He has had success at the highest levels - athletically and academically - and we appreciate the contributions he has made to our program."
The Byers Scholarships were established in 1988 to recognize the contributions of former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Recipients must have at least a 3.5 grade-point average, demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership, and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development.