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Farm Bureau Insurance Honors ODAC Scholar Athletes


Each year, Farm Bureau Insurance recognizes student-athletes from each of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s (ODAC) 22 male and female sports. The awards recognize student-athletes who distinguish themselves through outstanding classroom performance and athletics achievement.

Farm Bureau Insurance presents awards to these top male and female athlete in each ODAC-sponsored sport, applauding the commitment and desire each has shown towards collegiate excellence. The program culminates each spring when the conference names its top male and female athlete.

“We believe true achievement involves success gained through hard work and education,” says Matt Smith, marketing director at Virginia Farm Bureau. “Those are bedrocks of a bright future and we are proud to help recognize the excellence of intelligent and talented young people through this partnership.”

The 2008-09 Fall sports winners have been selected. They are:

Rebecca Leedom, Virginia Wesleyan (Volleyball)
Anne Van Devender, Washington and Lee (Women’s Soccer)
Chris Thomas, Bridgewater (Men’s Soccer)
Nick Olivero, Catholic University (Football)
Kristina Landis, Eastern Mennonite (Field Hockey)
Becca Taylor, Washington and Lee (Women’s Cross Country)
Michael Welsh, Washington and Lee (Men’s Cross Country)

The sport awards are selected by the Sports Information Director of each member institution. In order to be eligible, the student-athlete must have a cumulative 3.2 grade point average and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at his/her institution.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of every one of our student-athletes,” says ODAC commissioner Brad Bankston. “It is especially gratifying to be able to recognize those who personify the definition of ‘student-athlete’ through these awards, and we are proud to be affiliated with Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance in this program.”

The ODAC Board of Directors created the sport-by-sport scholar-athlete awards prior to the start of the 2003-04 academic year. The conference sports information directors have selected these honors since their inception, maintaining an equitable balance of emphasis between athletic prowess and academic achievement. Inaugurated in 1984 and 1981, respectively, the Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. “Doc” Jopson Scholar-Athlete Awards are given each May to member college seniors and conference sport participants who exhibit the highest athletic, academic, and extracurricular achievements.

In 2008, Bridgewater College’s Jeff Highfill and Washington and Lee University senior Nathaniel James shared the league’s top male student-athlete honor. The top female student-athlete was Lauren Askey, a Lynchburg College senior.

ODAC Purpose
Entering its 34th year, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) is one of the nation’s largest Division III conferences. The 14-member ODAC, including Catholic’s associate status, stands as the second-largest multi-sport NCAA Division III conference in the country behind the 15-member American Southwest Conference in Texas. Athletic opportunities at the Division III level provide positive educational outcomes and growth for participants, as well as other valuable benefits for member institutions and communities. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) exists to provide a framework for realizing these opportunities through athletic competition, guided by our commitment to shared values and bounded by the educational missions and institutional identities of the respective members. Together, member institutions strive to foster a climate of excellence and integrity in the conduct of their athletic programs. For more information about ODAC programs and members, please visit the ODAC on the web at .

About Farm Bureau Insurance
Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance is committed to providing products that best meet the insurance needs of Virginia’s families and small businesses. An organization with more than 148,000 members, served by more than 100 county offices throughout the Commonwealth, Farm Bureau Insurance also offers a wide range of financial planning products and services. Visit Virginia Farm Bureau at


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