Jan. 16, 2009
ATLANTA – Kristi Miller, a six-time All-American and four-time all-conference women’s tennis player who helped the Yellow Jackets to the 2007 NCAA Championship, was one of eight recipients who received the 2009 Today’s Top VIII Award by the National Collegiate Athletic Association Thursday night at the 2009 NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C.
The NCAA Today’s Top VIII award recognizes eight student-athletes out of nominees from every sport in every division who have completed their athletics eligibility for their success on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community.
Miller, who graduated last spring holding a perfect 4.0 GPA in history, technology and society, is just the third Georgia Tech student-athlete to ever win an NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award – the other two were Yellow Jacket golfers Bryce Molder (2002) and Roberto Castro (2008).
Also honored this year are Yael Averbuch of North Carolina, an Atlantic Coast Conference Soccer Offensive Player of the Year; national champion sprinter and hurdler Kirby Blackley of Findlay, a 10-time All-American and 14-time conference champion; gymnast Dylan Carney of Stanford, a five-time All-American and 2006 NCAA national co-champion; Mount Union football standout Gregory, the 2008 Gagliardi Trophy winner as the most outstanding Division III football player; All-American punter and placekicker Louie Sakoda of Utah, a two-time Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year; soccer standout Katy Tafler of Grand Valley State, her school’s all-time leader in points and goals and the two-time NCAA Division II Player of the Year; and the 2008 USA Softball National Player of the Year Angela Tincher of Virginia Tech, who holds 12 school records and four of the ACC’s top conference marks.
Miller received All-America honors in singles in each of her four seasons on the Flats and was named a doubles All-American in 2006 and 2007. The four-time All-ACC honoree captured the league’s Player of the Year Award in 2008 after receiving the ACC Rookie of the Year award in 2005. She led the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Title in 2007, two USTA/ITA National Indoor Titles (2007, 2008) and three ACC Championships (2005, 2006, 2007) during her tenure. Additionally, Miller received the 2006 Honda Award for Tennis as the top collegiate tennis player in the nation and also participated in the 2005 U.S. Open.
The three-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American concluded her career by receiving the At-Large Academic All-America of the Year honor after graduating from the Institute with a perfect grade point average. A recipient of both the NCAA and ACC Postgraduate Scholarships, Miller was a four-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar Athlete and four-time member of the ACC Honor Roll. She was twice named to the Academic All-ACC Tennis Team and received the prestigious Bernard P. Bellon Award for Historical Excellence from Georgia Tech in 2008.
Miller graduated from Georgia Tech owning the school records for singles wins (152), doubles victories (112) and singles winning percentage (.796) and played at the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles spots her entire career. She was the first All-American in school history, part of the first duo to ever represent Georgia Tech at the NCAA Doubles Championships, and is the only player in school history to eclipse 100 singles and doubles wins in a career.
The 2008 recipient of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, presented annually by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Miller spent countless hours volunteering in and around the Atlanta area in her spare time. The recipient of the 2008 Robert Cup Award, which recognizes the top student-athlete with regards to leadership on and off the playing field at Georgia Tech, Miller received the 2008 Peach of an Athlete Award, given by the Boy Scouts of America, recognizing her community service and leadership.
A member of Georgia Tech’s NCAA Certification Process Steering Committee in 2008, Miller served as the Community Service Chairman for Georgia Tech’s Student Athlete Advisory Board in 2008, organizing community service projects for all Georgia Tech student-athletes, including the Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition benefiting Robbie Ginepri Tennis, Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, TEAM Buzz, Girls on the Run, Hillside Foster Home, and the Georgia Force Food Drive. She also served a part-time internship with Representative Bill Hembree, the Chairman of Georgia’s Higher Education Committee, during her final semester in school.
The list of past recipients of the NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award includes Heisman Trophy winners Pat Haden, Archie Griffin, Doug Flutie, Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta and Danny Wuerffel, Olympic swimmers John Naber, Tracy Caulkins and Jenny Thompson, basketball All-Americans Darrell Griffith, Cheryl Miller, David Robinson and Rebecca Lobo, and Olympic volleyball player Karch Kiraly.
The NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award winners are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which comprises eight athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.
A complete list of the 2009 Today’s Top VIII:
* Yael Averbuch, North Carolina, soccer
* Kirby Blackley, Findlay, outdoor and indoor track and field
* Dylan Carney, Stanford, gymnastics
* Gregory Micheli, Mount Union, football
* Kristi Miller, Georgia Tech, tennis
* Louie Sakoda, Utah, football
* Katy Tafler, Grand Valley State, soccer
* Angela Tincher, Virginia Tech, softball