Seniors Meike Drewell and James Sappington of the Murray State rifle and football teams, respectively, were announced Thursday as two of six recipients of the 2019-20 OVC Scholar-Athlete Award. The award is the highest individual honor that can be earned by OVC student-athletes, and is given annually to three men and three women student-athletes for their accomplishments in both the classroom and athletic arena, and because of their leadership qualities.
The six winners were selected from a group of 19 finalists by a vote of OVC Faculty Athletics Representatives. Honorees must have performed athletically with distinction, earned at least a 3.25 grade point average and conducted themselves in a manner which has brought credit to the student-athlete, his or her institution, intercollegiate athletics and the OVC. The award is based on academic and athletic criteria/accomplishments achieved during the 2018-19 school year.
“Meike and James epitomize student-athlete success at Murray State University. They serve as ideal examples for our 350+ student-athletes”, said director of athletics Kevin Saal. “Meike & James are leaders on and off the range/field, are exemplary students and are extremely talented athletes in their respective sport. These two have worked tirelessly to achieve elite results academically, socially and athletically. Their accomplishments at Murray State are only the beginning of great things to come, as they transition into the next phase of life.”
Sappington began his career as a kicker before switching to tight end for the Racers. After the switch in 2018, he led the team in yards per catch (18.3) and was second on the Racers squad in total receiving yards (439) and third in receptions (24).
The Peculiar, Missouri native has already completed his undergraduate degree, earning a 3.88 grade point average in business administration with a minor in public and community health. Now in graduate school, he has earned all A’s while at Murray State, as his only lower grades came while completing college credit while still in high school. Sappington earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in 2018 and has earned the OVC Academic Medal of Honor in addition to being named to the MSU Dean’s List and President’s List multiple times. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Chi Alpha Sigma honors societies and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) where he has served as the vice-president (2017-18) and president (2018-present). Sappington has taken mission trips to New York City and the Dominican Republic in addition to volunteering at a local food pantry and a nursing home while leading weekly Bible study.
Drewell is in her fourth season with the Murray State rifle team, having been a key contributor and now team captain for a program that has won three OVC Championships and qualified for the NCAA Championship in each of her first three years with the program. She was named OVC Freshman of the Year and a smallbore All-American in 2017. In 2019, she placed sixth in individual aggregate score at the NCAA Championships, helping the Racers to a fourth-place team finish. At the 2019 NCAA Championship she also earned the prestigious Elite 90 award, which goes to the individual competing at the championship with the highest GPA.
In the classroom, the native of Austin, Texas has a perfect 4.0 grade point average in business administration with a minor in non-profit leadership studies. Drewell has also been named a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association Scholastic All-American selection in addition to earning multiple OVC Academic Medal of Honors, OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and MSU Dean’s List selections. She is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi, Beta Gamma Sigma and Chi Alpha Sigma honor societies. She is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Women in Business Club and active with a student-athlete Bible study.
With Thursday’s announcement, Drewell and Sappington have pushed Murray State’s total number of OVC Scholar-Athlete winners to 39 with Sappington becoming the 20th male Racer to win the wards and Drewell the 19th female. The Racers currently have more award winners total and individually by gender than any other league school. Tennessee Tech follows MSU with 33 all-time winners, while Eastern Kentucky is third with 31.