HOUSTON -- University of Houston junior golfer Megan Thothong and Men's Indoor Track & Field distance star Brian Barraza were recognized with the American Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award for their respective programs Wednesday.
Thothong and Barraza were two of 25 honorees selected by the conference's faculty athletics representatives. It was the first Sports Excellence Award for each in their careers.
The Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards are given to a student-athlete in each league-sponsored sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades and performances, and volunteer service to the community. Student-athletes who have attained junior academic standing and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 are eligible.
Majoring in business, Thothong has posted a 3.96 GPA during her first three seasons with the Cougars. Competing at the NCAA Columbus Regional in May, she became the first Cougar in school history to compete in three NCAA Regionals during her career and is the only Cougar to win multiple individual tournament titles.
In 2016-17, the Dallas native posted a 74.91 scoring average and finished among the top-20 leaders at three tournaments, including a season-best sixth-place showing at The American Championships in April.
As she prepares for her senior season in 2017-18, Thothong ranks as the Cougars' career leader in strokes (7,308), tournament victories (2) and rounds played (98) and stands second in stroke average (74.57), top-10 finishes (9) and top-20 finishes (13).
In June, Thothong was named an All-American Scholar by the Women's Golf Coaches Association for the third consecutive season.
She shared the award with East Carolina's Lisa Peterson.
During his tenure at Houston, Barraza earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.77 as a kinesiology major and has enjoyed one of the most successful distance running careers in Cougar history.
Barraza was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team for his excellence on the track and in the classroom. He was named to the All-America Team for the first time in his career and joined 11 student-athletes in making their first appearances on the list.
Barraza becomes just the second Cougar track student-athlete to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors after Jolanda Jones was named to the team in 1987 and 1989. In Houston's history, 12 student-athletes have received 14 honors since 1964.
Competing only on the indoor circuit in 2016-17, the El Paso, Texas, native punched his ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 3,000-meter run, where he made history for the program. Barraza completed the 15-lap affair in 8:00.69 to finish seventh and earn First Team All-America honors. The feat marked the first time that a Cougar received that accolade in a running event over 400 meters.
Barraza opened the slate with a historic run, when he broke the school record in the mile and became just the second Cougar in program history to run a sub-4 mile, crossing the line in 3:58.66. The mile record gave Barraza his fifth program-best mark, as he also owns the indoor 3,000- and 5,000-meter run records as well as the outdoor 5,000- and 10,000-meter records.
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