Avila honored with league's top award, Murphy Osborne Award

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Conference Carolinas is proud to recognize Rodrigo Avila of King University as the 2013-14 Murphy Osborne Award recipient. Avila has been selected as Conference Carolinas' most outstanding student-athlete from a field of ten nominees representing Conference Carolinas institutions. Avila, a senior tennis player, is deemed to have the most outstanding accomplishments of the year based on academic, athletic, leadership, service and involvement within the community.

Avila is a double major in mathematics and physics with a minor in business administration. He has a 4.0 within his degree classes which contribute to a 3.99 overall GPA. Accompanying this, Avila has earned several awards during his four years at King including: the 2012-13 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar Athlete, 2012-13 Division II Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award , 2013 King University Arthur W. King Memorial Scholarship (Outstanding Physics Major), 2013 King University William E. Torbert Memorial Scholarship (Outstanding Mathematics Major), and was selected as a member of Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Avila has earned the role captain for the men's tennis team where he has played as the No. 1 flight since his sophomore year in 2011. He has been named to the first team all-conference list twice and was the two-time recipient of the Conference Carolinas Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, an honor given to one junior or senior athlete from each sport who exhibits both academic and athletic excellence.

According to King's head coach, Kethan Darbar, Avila is a dependable, hard-worker who is goal oriented. "He sets forth plans for success, then he implements his plans with work. For example, when Rodrigo wanted to optimize his skills on the court, he would put an extra effort in optional evening and weekend training alone. His work produced successes. During our first year working together, Avila earned the No. 1 singles slot on the team. Rodrigo's level of effort and abilities set the standard for his younger teammates and upcoming new players as well."

Avila exhibits leadership with his involvement with the men's tennis team and the King University community. Avila is the Vice President of the Physics Club, a member of the Society of Physics Students (Sigma Pi Sigma), and a member of the President Society, a select group of students on campus who work for the admissions office. His involvement and willingness to serve extends into the surrounding town working with an outreach program for elementary schools and(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) festivals aiding in physics. He volunteers to tutor in math, physics, economics, and Spanish for college students. Avila is also active with King University's "Coats for Kids" program and the Johnson City's Hispanic "Corazon Latino Festival".

He [has] continually impressed me," said athletic director, David Hicks, "not only with his leadership abilities, but with his maturity and prudence in handling challenging situations with his teammates and coaches. His leadership played a significant role in transforming our tennis program into one of the more successful programs in the conference."

Conference Carolinas institutions are able to nominate one student athlete, that qualifies and best represents their school and the conference. The finalists for the highest academic award presented by the conference are as follows: Archer Bane of Barton College, Lydia Schellenberg of Belmont Abbey College, Samantha Lockman of Converse College, Rachel Whitmire of Erskine College, Rodrigo Avila of King University, Heather Peterman of Lees-McRae College, Jenelle Fortunato of Limestone College, Brahm Moolman of University of Mount Olive, Brett Morley of North Greenville University, and Lauren Lyle of Pfeiffer University.

To be eligible for the award, a student must be a senior student-athlete with a minimum grade point average of 3.25. The student must be a full-time student at the time of nomination, must have been a full-time student for at least two years at the member school, and must be a starter or important substitute in a conference sport. The recipient is selected by the Faculty Athletics Representatives of Conference Carolinas institutions and represents the best of the best for the league.