Watkins named finalist for Ken B. Jones Award

Washburn SID

Former Washburn Ichabod football player Zach Watkins has been named a finalist for the Ken B. Jones MIAA Student Athlete of the Year which was announced today by the conference office.

Watkins is looking to become the first Washburn student-athlete to win the award since Michael Dritlein, a fellow football player, won the award in 1996. Nikki Olberding, a former Lady Blues Basketball player, won the award in 1998. Watkins is joined by Northwest Missouri’s Myles Burnsides (football) and Nebraska-Omaha’s Mike Higgins (football) as the other two finalists.

The award, which is in its 17th year, is named in honor of the man who served as the MIAA’s first full-time commissioner for 16 years.  Jones retired in 1997 and passed away in May 2004.  One male and one female are selected for the honors, with the finalists invited to the annual MIAA Awards Dinner, which is set for June 10 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown in Kansas City, Mo.


A 12-member panel of athletics directors, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives and sports information directors – including a representative from each member institution – selects the finalists.


Each nominee is judged in four areas: 2009-10 Athletics Accomplishments; 2009-10 Academic Accomplishments; 2009-10 Campus/Community Service; and Career Athletics, Academics and Service Achievements.


To be nominated, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade-point average as of April 1, and must have completed at least their junior season of eligibility in the 2009-10 academic year.

The women’s finalists were Cassondra Boston, (Emporia State, women’s basketball); Caitlin Pankratz (Central Missouri, Volleyball/Softball); Kimi Shank (Missouri Southern, Cross Country/Track and Field).