Nathan Jones from Mars Hill and Wingate’s Kaitlyn Brunworth have earned the 2016-17 South Atlantic Conference Presidents Award, the League announced. The Presidents Award is the highest individual honor presented annually by the South Atlantic Conference.
The SAC Presidents Award is voted on by the league’s Faculty Athletic Representatives and to be eligible, student-athletes must exemplify excellence in athletics, academics and community service. Further, to be nominated for this prestigious award, the individual must have been honored as the Scholar-Athlete of the Year during the year in one of the league’s 18 sponsored sports.
“Kaitlyn and Nathan represent everything that is positive about college athletics,” said South Atlantic Conference Commissioner Patrick Britz. “Both are excellent students, amazing athletes and wonderful stewards of community service. The SAC is honored to recognize them with this prestigious award and even more proud to have them represent Mars Hill, Wingate and the league.”
Jones, a senior mathematics major, boasts a cumulative 3.79 GPA, with a perfect 4.0 in his major courses. Jones has earned Academic All-American honors twice in his career, has been named to the Dean’s list three times as well as earning three appearances on the South Atlantic Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Jones earned the Mars Hill University Man of the Year honor during his junior season.
“Nathan is a person who plans and set goals and works tirelessly to bring his plans to fruition,” said Mars Hill head cross country coach Mike Owens. “As a team captain this season, he helped guide 10 freshman runners and took it upon himself to step up an fill the shoes of decorated runners that graduated from the 2015 squad.”
Jones has been a formidable runner for the Lions since his freshman year and culminated his career with the Individual South Atlantic Cross Country Championship this past season. A three time All-Region selection, Jones is a four-time All-Conference honoree and took home Freshman of the Year honors during his rookie season. He currently owns both the 10K and 8K records at Mars Hill as he posted his fastest 8K time of his career this past season with a clocking of 24:07
On top of his efforts and contributions on the running course, Jones has also given his time for numerous causes on the Mars Hill campus. During his freshman year, Jones was a volunteer for the Bailey Mountain Conservation Society and was a member of the Campus Beautification Project, both of which strive to achieve goals of sustainability. A member of the Campus Activities Board, Jones donated five hours per week on the year in addition to his work as a math tutor in both the math labs and math center, where six hours a week were given to both. For the last two years he has been a member for the Ethics Bowl Debate Team and has participated in the ongoing effort with the Animal Rescue Operation. The honor is his second-consecutive Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor.