June 11, 2010
SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- The University of Portland's Thomas Betterbed and the University of San Francisco's Jennifer-Lee Heinser were named the West Coast Conference Male and Female Scholar Athletes of the Year, WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich announced today. Betterbed becomes just the fourth Portland male student-athlete to earn the conference's top honor and the first since 2000, while Heinser is the fifth USF women's student-athlete to earn the award and is the first female tennis player to garner the distinction.
"The mission of the WCC's member institutions is to give its student-athletes opportunity to grow as leaders through athletics, academics, and community service," said WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich. "Thomas and Jennifer embody the ideals of our member schools and are very deserving recipients of this distinguished award."
The highest honor in the WCC is selected by a vote of the WCC's Executive Council to recognize the finest accomplishments in athletics, academics and community service by individuals who have completed their WCC eligibility.
FEMALE SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Jennifer-Lee Heinser, University of San Francisco ~ Tennis ~ 3.89 GPA
Jennifer-Lee Heinser wrapped up her career at the University of San Francisco as one of the greatest players in West Coast Conference women's tennis history. Heinser was a three-time WCC Player of the Year, earning the distinction in 2008, 2009, and 2010. She is just the second women's tennis player to earn three conference Player of the Year Awards. The three-time All-WCC first team member went undefeated during conference play during her three-year career. Heinser was named USF's team MVP three times and participated in the NCAA Singles Tournament all three years.
While at San Francisco, Heinser epitomized the term student-athlete, earning a degree in Business Administration with a 3.89 GPA. Upon graduation, Heinser earned the USF Dean's Medal, awarded to a student who has best exemplified, through his or her academic accomplishments, extracurricular work, and personal life, the values of the University of San Francisco and its missions and goals. In addition to her athletic and academic responsibilities, Heinser has also been very active in the community, participating in Kids Day events in Golden Gate park, volunteering at Glide Memorial Church Shelter, and participating in multiple Bay Area Breast Cancer Awareness tennis events.
MALE SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Thomas Betterbed, University of Portland ~ Cross Country ~ 3.70 GPA
During his four years on the Bluff, Thomas Betterbed was an integral part of a University of Portland cross country team that has won 31 consecutive West Coast Conference championships, the longest active conference winning streak in the nation. Betterbed started his career by earning the WCC Freshman of the Year award in 2006. He earned two All-WCC first team honors (2006-07) and two United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches of America (USTFCCCA) All-West Region accolades. He also served as team captain in 2009 and 2010 and was a member of three Portland teams that ran at the NCAA Championships.
Betterbed was equally as impressive in the classroom, graduating from Portland with a 3.70 GPA in Biology and a double minor in Chemistry and Spanish. He was named to UP's Dean's List six times and was a two-time USTFCCCA Academic All-American. Despite his demanding athletic and academic schedules, Betterbed still found time to give back to the Portland community, volunteering at the Dental Village, a dental clinic for children from low-income families, and with the Legacy Emanuel Hospital Trauma Unit. Betterbed has also volunteered at numerous Race for the Cure events.