Looking for young role models? This NSU duo fits the bill

JOURNAL SPORTS

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State student-athletes have swept the Southland Conference Steve McCarty Citizenship awards for the fourth time since the honor was created in 2006.

Track and field sprinter Ebenezer Aggrey, a Baton Rouge native, and Plano, Texas, product Bronte Rhoden of the Lady Demon softball team were selected for the honors by the league’s academic advisors, athletic directors and conference personnel.

The McCarty awards annually recognize a male and female student-athlete from around the Southland for outstanding qualities in citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership and community service.  Each member institution nominates candidates.

Since 2006,  Demons and Lady Demons have captured 11 of the 34 possible honors, the most in Southland Conference history.

Aggrey has excelled both on and off the track, currently serving as the student body vice president despite a hectic athletics and class schedule.

He has led campus food drives, local toy drives and increased the track and field program’s involvement on campus and in the community. An active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee during his career, he logically serves as the Student Government Liaison to SAAC.

On the track, he reached the 400 meters finals at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships, scoring four points with a fifth-place finish. He also ran a leg on the bronze medal 4×400 relay as the Demons placed second overall as a team, the highest finish in the Mike Heimerman era.

Aggrey has accumulated a 3.84 GPA in accounting and business administration with a possible eye toward political office in his future.

Rhoden, a pitcher, has also taken an active role on and off the diamond.

She spearheaded a collaboration between the athletics department and NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education to “adopt” an elementary school where students read monthly to kids grades K-3.

As SAAC president, Rhoden organized “Make a Child Smile” toy drive and hurricane relief drives for other Southland schools impacted by natural disasters. She also assumed control of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at NSU after its long-time advisors, Randy and Christie Price, retired.

Rhoden served as a versatile arm, pitching as a starter and reliever in 19 total appearances with a 6-5 record and a 2.32 ERA. Her ERA dropped to 1.47 against SLC opponents while also sporting a sub .200 opponent batting average, which included a two-hit shutout of UIW with a career-high 12 strikeouts.

Rhoden sports a perfect 4.0 GPA in biology with aspirations to be an orthopedic surgeon.

The honor is named for former Stephen F. Austin athletic director Steve McCarty, who served at the school for 21 years, including 15 as athletic director. McCarty was inducted into the Southland Conference Hall of Honor in 2006.