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Baylor Duo Named Big 12 Scholar-Athletes of the Year

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IRVING, Texas – Baylor earned a pair of Big 12 Spring Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards on Thursday, as women’s golfer Laura Lonardi and women’s tennis player Blair Shankle were recognized by the conference office.

Award winners were chosen for their respective sports based on a vote of each sport’s head coaching group.

Lonardi, a senior women’s golfer from Verona, Italy, has now been chosen as the Big 12 Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year in each of the last two seasons. She was nominated with a 3.96 grade point average in mathematics and statistics.

Lonardi earned All-America honors after recording six top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments as a senior, and she led the team with a 72.39 stroke average. She finished her Baylor career with the second-best stroke average in program history at 74.12, and her 72.39 stroke average this season was the second-best single-season mark in school history.

Shankle posted a 16-6 overall mark in singles action this season, including an 8-2 record at the No. 1 position and a 6-1 record in conference play. She led the team with 14 dual-singles match wins, including a 5-5 mark against ranked opponents. The junior from Dallas carries a 3.98 grade point average in accounting.

Shankle is a two-time ITA All-American Doubles selection, a three-time ITA Scholar-Athlete, a 2015 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a five-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection. She was Baylor’s lone singles player in the final 2015-16 ITA rankings, coming in at No. 75, and she joined Kiah Generette to rank No. 22 nationally in the final ITA doubles rankings.

Baylor has now earned 12 Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors since the conference established the award in 2012-13. The Bears’ 12 honors rank third in the league behind Iowa State (15) and West Virginia (13), and ahead of Kansas State (11), Kansas (10), TCU (9), Oklahoma State (7), Oklahoma (6), Texas (6) and Texas Tech (6).

A Scholar-Athlete of the Year is named in each of the Conference’s sponsored sports. Each Big 12 institution nominates one individual per sport with the winners selected by a vote of the league’s head coaches for that sport, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. In order to qualify for the honor, the student-athlete must be a junior or senior (athletic and academic standing), have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher, participation in at least 60 percent of the team’s scheduled contests and a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.

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