SPOKANE, Wash. – Three of the best student-athletes ever to don a Whitworth uniform in their respective sports will be honored as Pirate senior award winners for 2011-12. Rory Buck will receive the Dennis Spurlock Memorial Award, while Kaimi Rocha, Felix Friedt and Landon Scott will be recognized as Senior Athletes of the Year at Saturday's Senior Reflections ceremony.
The awards were voted on by the Whitworth athletics department.
The Dennis Spurlock Award is named in memory of the former Pirate All-America quarterback (1958-61). The award was established to honor Whitworth student-athletes who model the characteristics of the award’s namesake, specifically modesty, poise, and leadership in addition to excellence in athletics performance, drawing respect for the school, the team, and the individual.
Buck concluded his Whitworth swimming career as a four-time NCAA Division III individual champion. He won back to back national titles in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events as a junior and senior. He was voted by NCAA Division III coaches as the 2011 Men’s Swimmer of the Year as a junior after breaking a long-standing national record in the 200 distance. Buck has led the Whitworth men to four consecutive Northwest Conference team championships, extending the Pirates’ string of league titles to ten in a row. He holds NWC records in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events.
One of the most popular athletes ever at Whitworth, Buck has served as a team captain for the Pirates for the last two seasons.
Buck was a Capital One Academic All-American in 2011 and is a strong candidate for the same award this year.
In April of this year Buck traveled to South Africa, his country of birth, to compete for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. He finished fourth the 100-meter breaststroke and third 200-meter breaststroke at the S.A. Olympic Trials.
The Whitworth Senior Athlete of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic achievement during a student's final year of eligibility.
Kaimi Rocha led Whitworth to its second straight Northwest Conference volleyball championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament last fall. She was selected as an AVCA Second Team All-American and was voted by the NWC coaches as the Conference’s Player of the Year for the second year in a row. The Pirates went 37-14 in volleyball over the last two seasons, including a two-year record of 28-4 in the NWC. She led the NWC in points per set (4.3), kills per set (3.68) and total kills (331) in 2011. She also ranked fourth in the conference in total service aces (34). She was voted as the NWC Player of the Week three times this past season. Whitworth lost in five sets to regional host, and eventual regional champion, Cal Lutheran in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Felix Friedt finished his career as the 13th leading scorer in Whitworth men’s basketball history. In addition to earning First Team All-NWC honors in 2012, Friedt was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-West Region Second Team and the D3hoops.com All-West Region Third Team. He finished the season with 504 points, averaging 16.8 points per game. He also led the Northwest Conference in rebounding average (8.7) and was second in the NWC in free throw percentage (83.3%) and made more free throws (200) than all but one other player in the league even attempted. Friedt also led the conference with 15 double-doubles this season. Off the court Friedt was selected as a First Team Academic All-American and was a finalist for the prestigious Jostens Award. Friedt led Whitworth to final record of 26-4, to NWC regular season and tournament championships, and to a pair of victories in the NCAA Division III tournament before the Pirates finally fell in overtime in the round of sixteen.
Landon Scott has helped lead Whitworth to its first Northwest Conference baseball championship in 21 years this season. Under his leadership the Pirates tied a school record for most wins in a season with 26. The four-year starter batted .321 this season and ranked fifth in the NWC with 34 runs batted in and 38 runs scored. He has a career lifetime batting average of .394 and was a two-time First Team All-Northwest Conference and two-time All-Region honoree before receiving honorable mention All-NWC this season. He has played in 150 games in his Pirate career heading into next week’s NCAA West Regional.
This group of three contributed extensively to another outstanding year of Pirates athletics. Whitworth won its fifth straight NWC McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports trophy in 2011-12.