Bowman & Criner Honored as Top Student-Athletes at Nevada

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RENO, Nev. — Matt Bowman and Dellena Criner have been named the 2008-09 Doc Martie & Ruth I. Russell Award winners as the University of Nevada's top male and female student-athletes, Director of Athletics Cary Groth announced Tuesday.

"Matt and Dellena have had outstanding collegiate careers and are very deserving of our athletics department's most prestigious awards," Groth said. "Both Matt and Dellena are outstanding examples of everything that a student-athlete should be. They have played key roles in the success of their teams and have excelled in competition, the classroom and the community throughout their careers."

The awards were named for J.E. "Doc" Martie, a former Nevada men's basketball coach and administrator, and Ruth I. Russell, a former director of women's athletics. Student-athletes are nominated by their head coaches and must be in their final year of eligibility and in good academic standing. The award winners are chosen in a vote by the athletics department staff.

A senior outfielder and infielder from Dayton, Nev., Bowman is a four-year starter and three-time Academic All-WAC honoree. He hit his 63rd career double in May to move past former Wolf Pack player and current Toronto Blue Jay Lyle Overbay (1996-99) to become Nevada's career record holder in the category and now has 66 doubles. A second-team All-WAC honoree as an outfielder in 2008, Bowman will also end his time at Nevada ranked in the Wolf Pack top 10 for career at bats (777), runs scored (194), hits (262), stolen bases (30) and games played (208). This season, he leads the team with 20 doubles and 10 home runs, has the team's third-best batting average at .308 and will graduate in May with a degree in accounting.

"Matt Bowman has been the model for what you would want a student-athlete to be," Wolf Pack baseball coach Gary Powers said. "He has been outstanding on the field as a player, teammate and leader by example giving 100 percent of himself to his team every day he has been here. He has been consistently solid in the classroom and an outstanding citizen and tremendous representative of our institution both on and off the field of play. He has been one of the most enjoyable people I have had the pleasure to coach and be associated with in my 27 years of service at the University of Nevada. This is a well deserved honor, and we will surely miss him."

A senior guard from Oakland, Calif., Criner was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year in each of her last two seasons at Nevada. She also earned first-team All-WAC and WAC All-Academic honors three times during her career. A regional finalist for the 2009 Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America team and one of 30 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Criner became the first player in school history to record at least 1,500 career points, 350 career assists and 250 career steals. She ended her career as Nevada's leader in all-time steals (271) and games played (124), ranks second in career free throws made (551), third in assists (375) and fourth in scoring (1,629). Criner led the team in scoring in each of her last three seasons at Nevada and will graduate in May with a degree in accounting.

"Dellena is an exceptional student-athlete who is very deserving of this prestigious award," Nevada women's basketball coach Jane Albright said. "She is a true difference maker, and her influence has been great in all aspects of our program. Dellena blessed us all with her leadership, dedication, personality, talent and character, and we will miss her greatly."