Athletics
Natalie Pearson, Matt Dickey & John Williams Earn Honors
Courtesy: UNCABulldogs.com
Release: 04/26/2011
Natalie Pearson was named Female Athlete of the Year on Monday night
Courtesy: UNC Asheville
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Athletics Department held its ASHSPY Awards ceremony Monday night to honor its teams and student-athletes from 2011-11 academic year.  The event was held at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville.

Senior sprinter Natalie Pearson was named Female Athlete of the Year for the third straight year. Men's basketball players Matt Dickey and John Williams were named Co-Male Athletes of the Year.

Pearson has enjoyed a spectacular year this season. On Saturday, she captured the 100 and 200 meters at the Big South Conference Outdoor Meet and was named Most Outstanding Track Performer at the conclusion of the meet. In addition, Natalie was named to the Big South All-Academic Team for her work in the classroom.

She sat out most of the indoor season before returning to the Big South Conference meet in February. Despite not running in a competitive race in more than six months, Pearson finished second in both the 100 and 200 meters, helping Asheville finish in third place in the meet, the highest finish ever for a Bulldog track and field program.

Dickey and Williams helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2011 Big South Conference championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament where Asheville picked up its second tournament victory.  Dickey was the Big South Tournament MVP and first-team All-Conference selection.  The junior guard was Asheville's leading scorer with a 15.7 scoring average and led the team in three-pointers made with 65. Matt scored 22 points in the Bulldogs' 81-77 victory over Arkansas Little-Rock in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.

Williams earned a spot on the Big South All-Tournament team with a sensational tournament. He blocked a championship-game record six blocked shots against Coastal Carolina in the title games. The senior forward finished the season with an 8.9 scoring average and 5.3 rebounding mark. He led Asheville in blocked shots with 46 and finishes his career as the all-time leader in blocked shots with 255. During the Big South Tournament, he averaged 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots per game.

Here is a list of the other awards given out on Monday night.

Best Moment: Matt Dickey hitting the winning shot at Coastal Carolina
Male and Female Breakthrough Athlete: Zoe Hamel and Milan Ristic
Best Record Breaking Performance: Simon Haake
Best Comeback Athlete: Dillon Tabar
Best Underdog Moment: Women's Track and Field getting from last to 3rd in indoor conference
Male and Female Big Dog: Natalie Pearson and Matt Dickey
Male and Female Crush: Sarah Gentry (breaking the school record in the 800m) and John Williams (dunk at Liberty)
Most Outstanding Coach: Eddie Biedenbach
Best Championship Performance: Men's Basketball
Male and Female International Athlete: Natalie Pearson and Lassi Hurskainen
Christenberry Award: Dana Sroka and Jake Sides
Biggest Fan: Robert Yearout
Service Award: Mike Burke

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