Mountain West Announces 2014-15 Athletes of the Year

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former Colorado State football player Garrett Grayson and former Boise State cross country/track and field student-athlete Emma Bates were announced today as the recipients of the 2014-15 Mountain West Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards, respectively. Bates is the first multi-year recipient of the award, earning the honor in 2013-14.

Established by the Mountain West Joint Council in May 2010, the MW Athlete of the Year Awards are bestowed annually to one male and one female student-athlete who have achieved athletic excellence during the past academic year. In addition to superior athletic achievement, criterion for the MW Athlete of the Year Award requires that nominees be in good academic standing throughout their season of competition, and demonstrate good character and conduct on and off the playing field.

Grayson, who was selected with the 75th overall pick (No. 11 in the third round) in the 2015 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, was named the 2014 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. In his senior campaign, Grayson led the Rams to their first national ranking since 2003, reaching as high as No. 21 in the USA Today/Coaches and Associated Press polls. An All-Mountain West First Team quarterback, he ranked among the top quarterbacks in the nation in passing yards (4th; 4,006 yards), passing efficiency (5th; 166.2), passing yard per game (7th; 308.2), and passing touchdowns (8th; 32). The native of Vancouver, Washington was responsible for 198 of Colorado State’s points during the season as the Rams averaged 33.9 points per game on the way to a 10-3 record and a spot in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. He set every career record in CSU history during the 2014 season and broke his own single-season records for passing yards (4,006) and passing touchdowns (32). Grayson is only the third Mountain West quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in a single season. He threw for more than 400 yards in two different games (434 at Boise State and 425 versus UC Davis) last year to claim two of the top four passing games in school history. His primary target in 2014, Rashard Higgins, led the nation in receiving yards (1,750) and receiving yards per game (145.8) while averaging 8.0 receptions per game.

Bates, the first back-to-back Mountain West Athlete of the Year, capped her collegiate career with three All-America performances in cross country and track. Her first All-America performance came at the 2014 NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships where she finished in third place with a time of 19:44.5 over the 6-kilometer course. Bates won the 2014 Mountain West Women’s Cross Country individual championship with a 6K time of 19:37.30. Bates, who also won the 2013 crown, became the first two-time MW women’s cross country champion and was the 2014 MW Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Year award in October. The Elk River, Minnesota native earned Second Team All-America honors in two events at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June. Bates placed ninth in the 5000 Meters with a time of 15:56.72 and 10th in the 10,000 Meters race (33:50.14). During the outdoor regular season, she broke her previous Mountain West records in both events with a time of 15:32.46 in the 5000 Meters at the Stanford Invitational (April 3) and a new mark of 32:13.28 in the 10,000 Meters at the Payton Jordan Invitational.

Year Male Female
Jerry Hughes (football), TCU Jodi Ewart (golf), New Mexico
Jimmer Fredette (basketball), BYU Danielle Minch (volleyball), Colorado State
Kurt Felix (track & field), Boise State Whitney Gipson (track & field), TCU
DJ Peterson (baseball), New Mexico Shanieka Thomas (track & field), San Diego State
Derek Carr (football), Fresno State Emma Bates (cross country/track & field), Boise State
Garrett Grayson (football), Colorado State Emma Bates (cross country/track & field), Boise State