Hayden, Berling Win Top Senior Awards

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Matt Hayden is the Jimmy Nippert Award winner.
Matt Hayden is the Jimmy Nippert Award winner.
Athletics News |

May 17, 2006

Karen Berling is the Helen Norman Smith Award winner.

CINCINNATI, Ohio--University of Cincinnati seniors Matt Hayden and Karen Berling have been named the winners of the Jimmy Nippert and Helen Norman Smith Awards as the top graduating student-athletes at UC.

The duo will be honored at the All University Awards Ceremony on May 21 at Great Hall.

Hayden (Colorado Spring, Colo./Liberty) was a two-year captain for the Bearcats, who played in 67 matches during his career. He finished his career with four goals and 11 assists, including a helper on the game-winning goal at No. 18 Notre Dame during his senior year.

Away from soccer, Hayden was a three-time member of the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team. A finance major, Hayden holds a 3.85 GPA. He has been named his squad's Scholar-Athlete of the Quarter four times and is a member of UC's Legion of Excellence. In addition, Hayden has earned a Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for holding a cumulative GPA over 3.75.

Berling (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) was the leader on the Bearcat cross country team last fall, concluding the year as UC's top finisher in all but one race, including a win at Dayton's Flyer 5K. During her track career, she placed seventh in the 10,000 meters at last year's Conference USA Championships and was the 2004 All-Ohio Indoor Champion in the 5,000 meters.

In the classroom, Berling has thrived as a middle childhood education major. She holds a 3.91 grade point average and earned three Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medals for having a cumulative GPA over 3.75. Berling has been selected her team's Scholar Athlete of the Quarter four times during her career.

The Jimmy Nippert and Helen Norman Smith Awards are presented to the top graduating senior male and female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves by academic achievement, athletic accomplishment and service to the campus community.

The other finalists for the Jimmy Nippert Awards were Chad Beamer (Bellevue, Ohio) from track and field, David Gustavsson (Aby, Sweden) of swimming and diving and baseball player Jack Nelson (Wheaton, Ill.).

The Helen Norman Smith finalists included swimmer Ann Degenstein (The Woodlands, Texas), volleyball's Maria Pongonis (Cincinnati, Ohio) and women's soccer player Marie Strelka (Trumbull, Ct.).