ST. LOUIS -- Sara Lungren of Wichita State University and Eitan Barbalat of Bradley University have been selected as the female and male recipients, respectively, of the Missouri Valley Conference’s Dr. Charlotte West Scholar-Athlete Award, Valley Commissioner Doug Elgin has announced. The Missouri Valley Conference Faculty Athletics Representatives Committee selected Lungren and Barbalat from a field of league student-athletes who met the Dr. Charlotte West Scholar-Athlete Award criteria, including academic achievement, athletics excellence and service and leadership.
Lungren is a Caldwell, Kan., native and achieved a cumulative 3.84 grade point average while majoring in elementary education. A three-time MVC Scholar-Athlete selection, she earned first-team honors in both 2006 and 2007 and honorable-mention honors in 2005. A CoSIDA Academic All-District VII selection, she achieved first-team recognition in 2007 and honorable mention in 2006. Lungren was appointed to both the Wichita State AD’s and Dean’s Honor Roll from 2003-2007. She was named Wichita State’s recipient of the Missouri Valley Conference State Farm Good Neighbor Award in fall of 2007.
An outside hitter for the Shocker volleyball team, Lungren served as captain for two seasons. She garnered first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference recognition in both 2006 and 2007, and was appointed to the second-team in 2005. Lungren became the fourth player in conference history to repeat as MVC Volleyball Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007.
Lungren served as a Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) member since 2006 and as vice president in 2007. She has been active in community service at Wichita State participating in the Missouri Valley Conference “Just Read”, Adopt-A-Family Christmas, Rock with The Shocks Character Education, and Pen-Pal programs. Lungren also volunteered her time leading area youth volleyball clinics.
Barbalat, a native of Thornhill, Ontario, graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology and a perfect cumulative 4.0 grade point average. He was awarded Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete honors in 2007 and 2008, both times earning first-team recognition. Barbalat was a two-time ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American, awarded second-team honors in 2007 and recently named to the 2008 first-team. He was one of 10 national finalists for the baseball 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Eight times included on the Bradley Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, Barbalat was also named to the Missouri Valley Conference Honor Roll and Commissioner’s Academic Excellence list in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2008, he was recognized with the league’s highest academic achievement earning the Missouri Valley Conference President’s Council Academic Award.
A pitcher on Bradley’s baseball team, he made three scoreless appearances his freshman year. During the 2006 season, he developed a potentially life-threatening blood clot in his right arm. After undergoing surgery that could possibly end his baseball career, he returned in his junior season to be named a second-team Academic All-American. In his final season as a Brave, he went 3-1 with a save and a 5.14 ERA in 35 innings.
Barbalat served on the Board of Directors of Bradley University United Way and was the Chairman of the United Way Youth Committee. He was involved with LINCS (Leaders Instilling Knowledge through Cooperative Service), Buddy with the Braves and Missouri Valley Conference “Just Read” programs. Barbalat plans on a career in medicine and volunteered at a local hospital emergency room. He begins his postgraduate studies at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in August of 2008.
The first-ever recipient of the Honda Award of Merit in 1996 for outstanding achievement in women’s collegiate athletics, Dr. Charlotte West was a driving force for more than 40 years in the area of advancement of women’s sports.
On June 30, 1998, she retired from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, after serving in the capacities of head coach, associate athletics director, interim athletics director and senior woman administrator during her 41 years with the Missouri Valley Conference-member institution. West coached five women’s sports from 1957-75 and, in 1982, was among the first group of women inducted into the SIUC Athletics Hall of Fame.
During her tenure at SIUC, she became the first female member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and later served on the organization’s board of directors. West was also a president of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). In 1991, she was presented with the Administrator of the Year Award by the National Association of Collegiate Women Administrators. West also received the Administrator of the Year Award, given by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
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