Baseball player Ben Zobrist and swimmer Katie Ledecky have been voted the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for November.
Zobrist, a utility player for the Chicago Cubs, was named the World Series MVP after hitting .357 with 10 hits, two doubles, and a triple in seven games against the Cleveland Indians. Zobrist hit the go-ahead RBI double in the 10th inning of Game 7 on 2 November 2016 to seal an 8-7 win and clinch the Cubs’ first World Series championship since 1908.
Stanford University’s Ledecky won a 1,650-yard freestyle National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) race with a time of 15:03:92, breaking the U.S. collegiate record by 20 seconds and her own American record by 10 seconds, on 20 November 2016 at a meet at Ohio State University.
The two athletes are now eligible for the Academy’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year Award to be voted on at year’s end.
The runner up in the men’s balloting was University of Texas running back D’Onta Foreman and third place went to tennis player Andy Murray of Scotland.
Foreman rushed for 341 yards – the third most in a single game in school history – and three touchdowns, averaging over 10 yards a carry in a win against Texas Tech on 5 November 2016. Foreman rushed for more than 100 yards in 13 consecutive games this season, breaking Earl Campbell’s previous school record of 11. He finished with 2,028 rushing yards, the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season.
Murray defeated Novak Djokovic to win the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour Finals in London on 20 November 2016. Murray beat Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 to win the season-ending event and retain his status as the world’s top ranked male tennis player.
The runner up in the women’s balloting was German pentathlete Annika Schleu and third place went to Ironman athlete Meredith Kessler of the United States.
Schleu won her second consecutive International Modern Pentathlon Union Champion of Champions women’s title on 12 November 2016 in Doha, Qatar. The modern pentathlon combines the skills of pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horseback riding and running.
Kessler won the Ironman Arizona women’s race – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run – with a time of 8:48:23. She has won three consecutive Ironman Arizona races.
This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Year program, which is part of the institution’s annual Awards of Sport program. Each month, the public is invited to participate by nominating and voting for the Male and Female Athletes of the Month on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu. Monthly winners become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor, which is selected at year end by an online public balloting. Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tennis great Serena Williams were the Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2015.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit ussa.edu.
By Eric Mann
Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.