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    Amanda Thompson

Thompson named female athlete of the year

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A Mercer University women’s basketball student-athlete is taking home one of the Southern Conference’s top honors for the second consecutive year. 

Recent Mercer graduate and forward Amanda Thompson was named the 2018-19 SoCon Female Athlete of the Year on Tuesday afternoon in an announcement from the league office. 

Thompson becomes Mercer’s second female student-athlete to earn Athlete of the Year accolades, joining former teammate Kahlia Lawrence, who won the award for the 2017-18 academic year. She is the third overall Mercer student-athlete to earn the SoCon’s Athlete of the Year honor; Will Bagrou was a two-time recipient of the Male Athlete of the Year honor for 2016-17 and 2017-18. Thompson and Lawrence helped the Mercer women’s basketball team become just the third program in conference history to claim the female athlete of the year award in consecutive seasons.

A native of Hayesville, North Carolina, Thompson averaged 13.3 points and a league-high 10.6 rebounds per game as a senior, tallying 16 double-doubles. The SoCon Coaches’ Player of the Year and first team all-conference selection led the league in rebounding and averaged a double-double while Mercer went 25-8 overall and a perfect 14-0 in SoCon regular season action. Mercer clinched its fourth consecutive conference regular season title and its second straight SoCon Tournament title during the 2018-19 season. Thompson was the league’s player of the week four times and the conference player of the month three times as a senior. 

“Amanda is not only an excellent basketball player, but those of us that know her beyond the court know what an exceptional person she is,” said Mercer women’s basketball head coach Susie Gardner. “She was a team captain for all four years and was the glue for our team over that time. The coaches, teammates, fans and the entire Mercer Family respect and admire Amanda. 

“I know Amanda’s family is very proud of all that she has accomplished and the woman that she is. I could not be prouder of Amanda for being the incredible role model she is, along with being an amazing ambassador for the Southern Conference.”

Thompson was the recipient of the SoCon’s Pinnacle Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average on the championship-winning team, in each of the last two years. She was named to the Mercer president’s list five times and the dean’s list twice, plus was awarded a postgraduate scholarship by the conference office in May.

“This is an incredible honor for Amanda, who graduated from Mercer as one of our most accomplished and well-rounded student-athletes,” said Jim Cole, Mercer Director of Athletics. “She defined what it means to be a student-athlete, displaying a tireless work ethic on and off the basketball court. This award is a testament to Amanda and the entire women’s basketball program’s consistent excellence.”

Arguably her most impressive accomplishment, Thompson was named a 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-American by the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America this past spring. She graduated summa cum laude and with university honors from Mercer in May 2019 as an electrical engineering major. During her collegiate career, Thompson logged nearly 300 hours volunteering; the majority of the time with Mercer on Mission, where she spent time in Ecuador and Peru working with artisanal and small-scale gold miners to develop a mercury capture system to make their gold refining process safer. She also spent time with GoBabyGo!, a program that uses engineering skills to adapt electrically powered cars for children with disabilities.

By Jace Sanders/ Mercer Guest writer

Clay County Progress

Mailing Address: PO Box 483, Hayesville, NC 28904
Physical Address: 43 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904
Phone: 828-389-8431
Fax: 828-389-9997