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Sports

Duck a finalist for Sports Illustrated's College Athlete of the Year

Duck a finalist for Sports Illustrated's College Athlete of the Year
Duck Liz Brenner shows off her guns before the game.
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EUGENE, Ore. -- Multi-sport standout Liz Brenner has been named a finalist for the Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year. The award celebrates one female and one male collegiate student-athlete who has demonstrated excellent performance on the field and in the classroom, while also displaying sportsmanship and commitment to the community.

Joining Brenner as finalists on the women’s side are Kimberlyn Duncan (LSU – track & field), Brittney Griner (Baylor – women’s basketball), Loren Shealy (North Carolina – field hockey) and Taylor Thornton (Northwestern – lacrosse).

The finalists, chosen by SI editors, include six seniors, two sophomores and two juniors who competed during the 2012-2013 academic year. The celebrated student-athletes represent 10 different sports and include a four-sport athlete (Brenner), multiple NCAA champions and record holders and the 2013 No. 1 WNBA draft pick (Griner).

The winners for both the male and female categories will be featured in the May 27 issue of Sports Illustrated. Profiles on the winners, including videos, will also be featured on SI.com.

Brenner was recently a top-three finalist for the Sullivan Award which is presented annually to the top amateur athlete in the U.S. Brenner was also recognized at the 2013 Oregon Sports Awards with the Bill Hayward Award, which is given to the top amateur female athlete from the high school, college and resident ranks.

The sophomore from Portland, Ore., has competed in four varsity sports at UO: volleyball, basketball, softball and track & field. In the classroom, the psychology major owns a 3.07 grade point average, and is pursuing a minor in business administration.

This past fall, the outside hitter helped lead the Oregon volleyball team (30-5, 16-4) to best-ever runner-up finishes in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament, and a school record for wins. The Ducks’ first-ever underclass volleyball All-American was also a second-team national recipient.

The All-Pac-12 and All-Region selection stood top 70 nationally in both kills (69th, 3.92 per set) and points (70th, 4.39 p/s), and ninth and eighth in the conference, respectively. She ended with double-digit kill totals in 26 matches. She was the team-leader in hitting on 11 occasions, while leading the team in points and kills 10 times each.

Brenner has started 26-of-41 career games as a member of the UO women’s basketball team. In 2012-13, she was the squad’s second-leading rebounder (7.4 rpg) and sixth-leading scorer (7.9 ppg). In early January, she recorded a career-high 17 points at home versus rival Oregon State, and logged a double-double at Utah in February (thanks to her 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds).

Brenner is in her first year with the UO track & field team. She recently posted the eighth-best javelin throw in school history at the Oregon Twilight meet held on May 3. She won the event with a mark of 157-10/48.11 meters.

Brenner also played for Oregon softball team which advanced to the College World Series during the 2011-12 athletic campaign. The former all-state prep catcher joined the team in mid-April, and played the next day in both games in the doubleheader sweep of Portland State. At season's end, she ended with three walks and two runs among her 10 at-bats.

The five finalists on the men’s side include: Trey Burke (Michigan – men’s basketball), Kyle Dake (Cornell – wrestling), Khaled Holmes (USC – football), Drew LeBlanc (St. Cloud State – ice hockey), Tyler Thornton (Duke – basketball).
 

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