VERMILLION, S.D. -- South Dakota’s Alexa Duling, a standout in track and field for the Coyotes, was named the 2010-11 Great West Conference Female Scholar-Athlete, the league announced earlier this week. The award is the single-highest individual honor awarded by the Great West, and recognizes outstanding academic achievement, athletic achievement, attitude and leadership of one male and one female student-athlete.
Duling, of Gregory, S.D., has thrived both in athletic and academic endeavors at South Dakota and also has been instrumental in implementing a “Girls on the Run” program on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A biology major with a 4.0 GPA, Duling was named first-team academic all-district and to the Great West Academic All-Conference team for the second straight year.
“This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Alexa,” said Lucky Huber, South Dakota women’s track and field coach. “She is a great role model for young people both on and off the field of competition.”
With a desire to provide positive activities for young girls on the Rosebud Reservation, Duling organized “Girls on the Run,” an event that took place every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer months. She received the maximum 15 commitments for the program in just the first year and also helped form a 5K race which allowed families to come and watch.
Duling just completed her third season in the Coyote track and field program and had an outstanding campaign. In the outdoor season, she qualified for the NCAA West Preliminaries in the 400-meter hurdles and finished 30th at the event in Eugene, Ore. She won the 400-meter dash at the Great West Outdoor Championships and added wins in the 400 meters and 200 meters at the Great West Indoor Championships, finishing with four All-GWC honors overall. Duling also set the new school outdoor record in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:00.15.
To be eligible for the Great West Conference Female Scholar-Athlete Award, a student-athlete must be a junior or senior who has completed two seasons of athletic competition in a conference-sponsored sport at a member institution and must have a minimum grade point average of 3.2. The student-athlete must display an exemplary mental attitude toward his or her peers and academic and athletic mentors, including leadership, maturity, integrity and contributions to the community. Each institution can nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the award through its faculty athletics representative, and the honorees are determined by a vote of the member institutions.