SUZANA CAVALCANTE WINS GSC COMMISSIONER'S TROPHY HONORS
June 27, 2008
PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. - The Gulf South Conference is proud to announce its male and female Commissioner's Trophy winners for the 2007-08 academic year. For the second year in a row, Delta State provided the men's winner and West Florida garnered women's honors. Suzana Cavalcante (Tennis, Junior, Sao Paulo, Brazil) became UWF's second consecutive Commissioner's Trophy winner after women's soccer great Lindsay Nemanich claimed last year's award. Michael Eubanks (Football, Senior, Cleveland, MS) won the men's award, marking the second straight year that a DSU football player took the podium, following quarterback Scott Eyster.
Cavalcante is UWF's third female winner, following 2002 honoree Krissy Styrna and Nemanich. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native is the first women's tennis standout to take home the award. "I wasn't expecting it at all," said Cavalcante. "Just being one of the (GSC's) top 10 athletes is amazing. It's just great to be here with all these great athletes, and when he said my name, I just couldn't believe it." Head Coach Derrick Racine was very proud of Cavalcante, "She is just a great person, along with being a great athlete, and it makes me feel good that she was recognized for that. She is one of those athletes that excels at academics and other things, as well as her sport, and she makes my job easy," claimed Racine.
Eubanks is the fourth straight football standout to claim accolades and he is Delta State's eight men's GSC Commissioner's Trophy winner. The Cleveland, MS native's award ups Delta State's all-time number of men's and women's honorees to the 11 which the most by any other GSC school.
The Commissioner's Trophy, the highest honor bestowed by the Conference and one of the most prestigious individual honors in Division II, was presented at the GSC's Annual Banquet, Thursday, June 26 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front in Pensacola Beach, FL. Twenty-eight student-athletes (15 females and 13 males) were nominated for the GSC's 12th Annual Top Ten (was previously the "Top Eight" until 2005), which combines athletic achievements and academic excellence with extracurricular activities, leadership and community service. The male(s) and female(s) earning the most points receive the Commissioner's Trophy.
Suzana Cavalcante's three seasons at the University of West Florida have established new standards for GSC Women's Tennis. She was named an All-American this season for both singles and doubles by the ITA just last week. Cavalcante set the tone early in her career, becoming just the third player ever to be named GSC East Division Freshman and Player of the Year in 2005. Since then, she has not let up, becoming just the second player in league history to earn three consecutive Player of the Year awards. This season, the Sao Paulo, Brazil native recorded an 18-6 record at No. 1 singles and a 24-3 mark at No. 1 doubles. Included in the singles record is a 12-6 mark versus Top 25 foes from Division I, II and NAIA classifications and a win over the No. 1 Division II player at the NCAA Nationals.
Cavalcante was also the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) South Region Singles and Doubles Champion, but her honors were not confined solely to the court: she also collected the 2008 ITA South Region Arthur Ash, Jr. Award for Leadership, Sportsmanship and Community Service. Cavalcante fully understands the physical demands and risks that student-athletes endures, majoring in Athletic Training while carrying a 3.63 overall grade-point average and a 3.88 G.P.A. in her major. She is a two-time GSC All-Academic honoree and garnered 2008 ITA/NCAA Academic All-America laurels.
Cavalcante is a member of the Athletic Training Student Association which duties include volunteering at local high schools and UWF sporting events. For the past three seasons she has been a part of the Junior Argos program, spending three hours per week (80 hours per year) mentoring children ranging from 6-14 years of age. She has volunteered to teach at-risk children in St. Louis, Missouri as part of the Lift for Life program and helped build houses with Habitat For Humanity during the 2008 NCAA Sports Festival.
Meanwhile, for the Men's commissioner trophy, Delta State University football has seen its share of record setting performances the past few seasons, as Eubanks followed teammate Scott Eyster in winning the awar. Eubanks wrapped up a stellar career in 2007, setting NCAA and GSC records. The Cleveland, Mississippi native became the NCAA's all-time leader in sacks (39.0) racking up 12.0 this past season. He also set the GSC career mark for tackles for loss (70.5) recording 27.0 stops in the Fall.
Eubanks rode those efforts to a third-place finish in the Harlon Hill Trophy balloting (the DII Heisman). He became just the second defensive player ever to finish in the top three, following GSC great Ronald McKinnon, who won the award in 1995. His honors did not stop there, as he was a unanimous All-American by the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), D2Football.com, Don Hansen's Football Gazette and Daktronics. He also became just the fourth player in league history to claim back-to-back GSC Defensive Player of the Year honors and also made the All-GSC First Team for the second year in a row.
Eubanks' impressive resume extends beyond the gridiron, holding a 3.61 overall grade-point average and a 3.75 G.P.A. as a Biology and Chemistry Major. He has his career path set: he will enter the University of Mississippi Medical School this Fall. He plans to pursue a degree in obstetrics and eventually return to the Mississippi Delta and open a clinic for the less fortunate. He is a three-time GSC All-Academic Team and CoSIDA Academic All-Region honoree. The eight time Dean's List student has won back-to-back Arthur Ashe, Jr. Scholar Awards and captured the AFCA Eddie Robinson National Scholar-Athlete Award.
West Florida's Matthew Galloway was named as one of the five finalists for the second year in a row. Galloway, a PING first-team All-American, tied for third at the Division II National Championships, while helping lead the Argos to their second national title under head coach Steve Fell. "Matt has done a lot on and off the golf course," stated Fell. "He's done everything I've ever asked of him, and I was glad to see him finish off his senior year with a national championship."