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Athletes of Distinction

BJ Graber Award
Nicola Race Wins 2009 NJCAA Betty Jo Graber Female Student-Athlete of the Year

By Gage Axford, NJCAA Student Assistant

The 2009 NJCAA Betty Jo Graber Female Student-Athlete of the Year has been awarded to Nicola Race of Redlands Community College, Okla. The two-time First-Team NJCAA All-American golfer has displayed a strong work ethic on and off the field, which has resulted in a stellar NJCAA career. She is the first golfer to receive the Betty Jo Graber Award.

The Witham, Essex native of the United Kingdom compiled an impressive list of accomplishments throughout her NJCAA career, winning tournaments such as the Southern Nazerene Invitational and the Mary Hardin Baylor Invitational. She also finished as runner-up at the Texas A&M Commerce Invitational, the McNeese State University Invitational, and the Cameron University Invitational.

Race helped lead Redlands to two NJCAA Women's Golf Championships and became the first female golfer in NJCAA history to win back-to-back individual national titles (2008, 2009). In addition to all her tournament success, Race led all two-year college women's golfers with a 78.32 scoring average in 2009. She also won the Region 2 Women's Golf Championship twice (2008, 2009) and was at two-time All-Region 2 honoree.

"We are very pleased that Nicole has received this honor," said Redlands women's head golf coach Gerrod Chadwell. "It is very fitting that she has received this honor as she is the first back-to-back medalist in women's golf. She earned everything via hard work and it couldn't have been awarded to a better person than Nicole."

The former member of the Select South East Squad of the English Women's Golf Association, Race will continue her education and golf career at the University of Missouri.

"The RCC community will miss Nicole," added Chadwell, "but I believe she will do some very special things at Missouri just as she did at Redlands."

About the Betty Jo Graber Award

Betty Jo Graber spent 35 years advancing opportunities for women in NJCAA athletics. Along with a successful basketball coaching career at Weatherford College, she was also the Region 5 Women's Director, the NJCAA Women's Basketball Committee Chair and a founding member of the NJCAA Women's Division. Graber is a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Tennessee. Graber was the perfect model of hard work, discipline, ethics and excellence in community college athletics. This award is given annually to the NJCAA Student-Athlete that best exhibits these traits.

Nicola Race took first place at both the 2008 and 2009 NJCAA Women's Golf Championships to become the first back-to-back medalist. Photo courtesy of Redlands Community College.

Nicola Race (left) and teammates Andrea Kaelin (middle) and Emily Kwak (right) celebrate Redlands' 2009 NJCAA Women's Golf Championship, which was the program's second consecutive title. Photo courtesy of Redlands Community College.


Year, Name, Sport(s), College; City, State
1992-1993, Carey Burton, Volleyball, Barton County Community College; Great Bend, Kan.
1993-1994, Nema Corey, Slow Pitch Softball, Meridian Community College; Meridian, Miss.
1994-1995, Kay Mannebach, Cross Country & Track, Colby Community College; Colby, Kan.
1995-1996, Tricia Ferrin, Basketball, Utah Valley State College; Orem, Utah
1996-1997, Nicole Weed, Softball, Daytona Beach Community College; Daytona Beach, Fla.
1997-1998, Kaunda Kay Williams, Basketball, Gulf Coast Community College; Panama City, Fla.
1998-1999, Yalika "Boo" Barnes, Basketball, Trinity Valley Community College; Athens, Texas
1999-2000, Devra Viekant, Cross Country & Track, Utah Valley State College; Orem, Utah
2000-2001, Stephanie Martin, Volleyball, College of Southern Idaho; Twin Falls, Idaho
2001-2002, Yuliana Perez, Track & Field, Pima Community College; Tucson, Ariz.
2002-2003, Natashia Morehead, Basketball, Gulf Coast Community College; Panama City, Fla.
2003-2004, Heidi Brooks, Basketball & Softball, Corning Community College; Corning, N.Y.
2004-2005, Chelsie Mesa, Softball, Phoenix College; Phoenix, Ariz.
2005-2006, Sally Kipyego, Track & Field, South Plains College; Levelland, Texas
2006-2007, Kristina Jenkins, Bowling, Hudson Valley Community College; Troy, N.Y.
2007-2008, Lindsey Palmer, Softball, Salt Lake Community College; Salt Lake City, Utah
2008-2009, Nicola Race, Golf, Redlands Community College; El Reno, Okla.

















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