Russell, Kimble named Kiwanis Barton Athletes of the Year

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She helped the Lady Bulldogs enjoy one of their best basketball seasons in recent memory and he continued to make Bulldogs history and solidify his standing as one of the track and field program’s greatest performers.

Senior Alex Kimble and junior Larry Russell Jr. were saluted Thursday night as the Barton College’s Kiwanis Female and Male Athletes of the Year at the school’s annual athletic awards banquet in Wilson Gym. It was the second straight such honor for Russell.

Kimble, a redshirt senior in her third season at Barton, emerged as one of the Lady Bulldogs’ top offensive threats as they won the Conference Carolinas tournament for the first time in seven years and earned a spot in the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time since 2011. Barton finished 23-9.

After averaging just 5.6 points per game as a junior, Kimble scored 17.1 points per game, sixth-best in Conference Carolinas, while making a league-best 89 3-pointers this season. She ranked fifth in free-throw percentage at .797. Kimble scored in double figures in 26 of Barton’s 32 games and scored more than 30 points in a game twice.

Kimble was the only Lady Bulldog to be named to the All-Conference Carolinas first team. She landed on the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information’s All-State second team.

Kimble was saluted as the Conference Carolinas Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women’s basketball.

Russell became an indoor track All-American for the second time this winter when he finished fifth in the long jump at the NCAA Div. II championships. He earned All-America status in the high jump at the 2017 indoor nationals and also in the long jump at the outdoor national championship last spring.

He qualified for the 2018 indoor national meet with a school-record long jump of 7.63 meters at the Conference Carolinas Championship. Russell was named the men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year in the league. He was ranked in the top five in the Southeast Region in all three jumps and was proclaimed the regional men’s field athlete of the year by U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association.

Russell won the long jump at the Conference Carolinas Championships last week and his season-best of 7.44 ranks ninth among Div. II jumpers. He also earned all-conference acclaim with a third-place finish in the triple jump.

Russell will look for more All-America honors when he competes in the 2018 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Championships in late May in Charlotte.

Also receiving special awards were men’s volleyball player Charles Hyde, track athlete Justin Alford, women’s volleyball player Riley Bane, men’s soccer player Jens Madsen Hordvik, women’s soccer and track athlete Nikki Helton, baseball player Noah Almond and tennis player Vanessa Sonoja.

Hyde received the Edward L. Cloyd Award, given annually to the senior student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average. Hyde posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.94 in business and accounting.

Bane and Hordvik were presented the Gary W. Hall Excellence in Athletics Award, which is presented annually to Barton student-athletes who demonstrate a strong work ethic, a passion for their sport, and a dedication for excellence in the classroom, campus and community.

A redshirt junior from Wilson, Bane has been an integral part of back-to-back league championships for the women’s volleyball program, earning all-tournament honors in 2016-17 and the Most Outstanding Player award for this year’s tourney.

Hordvik, a senior from Arendal, Norway, is a two-time All-Conference Carolinas goalkeeper. In the fall, he became the first Barton men’s soccer player to receive the league’s Player of the Week award since 2014. Last year, Hordvik was chosen by Barton’s coaches as the 2017 recipient of the G. Ernest Brewer Memorial Scholarship, which is presented annually to a student-athlete combining quality athletic and academic performance.

Bane was joined by Helton in gaining Leader of Distinction status in the Barton Student-Athlete Leadership Academy.

This year’s Brewer Memorial Scholarship recipient was Sanoja, a junior on the women’s tennis team from Bolivar, Venezuela. Almond, a sophomore on the baseball team from Raleigh, was selected by Barton’s coaching staff to receive the Ned Liggon Memorial Scholarship, which is given annually to a North Carolina resident who has been a leader on the field, on their teams and in the campus community.

Alford, a senior from Middlesex and a Southern Nash High graduate, was honored as Barton’s finalist for Conference Carolinas’ Murphy Osborne Award, the league’s highest honor. Alford is an all-conference pole vaulter for the track team who was the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in indoor track.