Student and Academic Life

12 Wildcats Earn Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Honors

photo of UK's 12 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars
UK is home to 12 of this year's Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2019) — Twelve University of Kentucky athletes were recognized as 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars, announced recently by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. Among the 12 Wildcats to earn Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars honors, junior swimmer Asia Seidt was named the Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar of the Year.

A full list of UK’s Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars selections are as follows:

Celera Barnes (Women's Track and Field): Third Team

  • Majoring in kinesiology
  • First Team All-America in the 4x100m relay
  • SEC Bronze Medalalist in the 4x100m relay
    • Ran a 42.30, the school record and third fastest by a school in collegiate history
  • NCAA semifinalist in the 100m after running a personal best 11.16 at NCAA East Prelims
  • Won the 100m at Kentucky Relays
  • On UK's winning 4x100 and 4x200m relays at Tennessee Relays
  • On UK's winning 4x100m relay at Florida Relays
  • SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll
  • U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic

Josephine Chang (Women's Golf): First Team

  • 4.0 GPA in kinesiology
  • Dual major in kinesiology and biology
  • Second straight Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Team selection
  • Appeared in 23 career events with a 76.9 stroke average
  • Tied for second place at the 2019 Colonel Classic with a score of even par

Marshall Gei (Baseball): First Team

  • 4.0 GPA in radiation science (master’s degree)
  • 2019 UK Athletics Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • Earned an undergraduate degree in medical physics
  • Studies radiation science and medical physics as a graduate student
  • Frank G. Ham Society of Character honoree

Alaina Kwan (Gymnastics): First Team

  • Competed on both bars and vault in every meet this season
  • Recorded career-high 9.875 bars score three times this season
  • Contributed to school record 49.475 team bars score on Feb. 15 at Georgia
  • Contributed to tie for school record 49.425 vault score on April 6 in NCAA Regional Final
  • Contributed to single-season school record six 197-point performances
  • Contributed to best finish in school history with No. 9 national ranking

Aime Mabika (Men’s Soccer): Third Team

  • Majoring in exercise science
  • 2018 Third Team All-America
  • 2018 First Team All-Conference-USA
  • 2019 First Team All-Southeast Region
  • Member of the 2018 C-USA Regular Season Championship, C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament Elite Eight team
  • Played a central role in the nation's No. 3 goals against average (.49) and shutout percentage (.64) defense in 2018
  • 2017 C-USA All-Freshman Team
  • Led UK with three goals, including two game-winning goals, which was the outright team lead from holding midfield and central defense during his freshman season in 2017
  • SEC Honor Roll

Kendall Muhammad (Men’s Track and Field): First Team

  • Majoring in human health science
  • 2018 SEC 1,500m finalist
  • 2017, 2018 NCAA East Prelims qualifier
  • 2016 USATF U20 Silver Medalist in the 1,500m
  • SEC Honor Roll
  • CATSPY Awards Community Service nominee

Keyarash Namjounpanah (Men’s Soccer): Third Team

  • Majoring in business management
  • Co-captain of the 2018 C-USA Regular Season Championship, C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament Elite Eight team
  • SEC and C-USA Honor Roll
  • Started 15 of 28 games played in two seasons on defense
  • SEC Honor Roll

Cathryn Papasodora (Rifle): First Team

  • Majoring in integrated strategic communication
  • 2018 NCAA Team Champion
  • 2018 Great American Rifle Conference All-Conference
  • 2017 Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association All-American
  • 2016 CRCA Scholastic All-American

Asia Seidt (Women’s Swimming and Diving): First Team, Sports Scholar of the Year

  • 4.0 GPA in kinesiology
  • 16-time NCAA All-America, including eight First Team All-America honors (leads the program, male or female)
  • 2019 NCAA Elite 90 recipient
  • 2019 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • 2017-18, 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team
  • 2018, 2019 USA World University Games Team
  • 2017, 2018, 2019 All-SEC First Team
  • 2017, 2018, 2019 SEC Champion in 200 Backstroke
  • 2018 SEC Champion in 100 Backstroke
  • 2018, 2019 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll
  • 2018 CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team
  • 2017 SEC Freshman Female Swimmer of the Year
  • 2017 SEC All-Freshman Team
  • 2017 SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll

Avery Skinner (Volleyball): Second Team

  • Two-time All-SEC Academic Team selection
  • A member of two consecutive SEC Championship teams
  • The Wildcats went 18-0 in league play in 2018-19
  • Has 28 career matches with 10 or more kills
  • Earned nearly 500 career kills in 55 career matches during her two-year career
  • 2017-18 All-SEC Freshman Team selection

Fadhli Soetarso (Men’s Golf): First Team

  • Three-time All-SEC Academic Team selection
  • Appeared in 13 career tournaments
  • Owns a 74.11 career stroke average
  • Has one career top-10 collegiate finish
  • Won the 104th Kentucky State Amateur

Katie Stuart (Gymnastics): First Team

  • Was named the second SEC Specialist of the Week in school history for 9.975 vault score on March 16 at Nebraska
  • Recorded eight individual vault wins, two all-around wins, two bars wins, and one beam win over her career
  • Competed in at least three events in every meet this season
  • Contributed to 197.525 record team score on March 3 versus Central Michigan, only to be broken by 197.600 team performance in NCAA Regional Final on April 6
  • Contributed to school record 49.475 team bars score on Feb. 15 at Georgia
  • Contributed to tie for school record 49.425 vault score on April 6 in NCAA Regional Final
  • Contributed to single-season school record six 197-point performances
  • Contributed to best finish in school history with No. 9 national ranking

In 1992, Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr. A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people.

Each year Diverse invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.