Palko Earns Chancellor’s Award as Student-Athlete with Highest Grade Point Averages


DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University senior sprinter Ashley McCoy and senior running back/return specialist Arthur Goforth were announced as the LeRoy T. Walker NCCU female and male student-athletes of the year on Monday night during The Eddies awards program inside McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium on the campus of NCCU.

McCoy, a native of Wilmington, N.C., has won five individual sprint events this year, including the first four events during the outdoor season. Her season’s fastest 200-meter dash time of 23.58 seconds ranks 41st among NCAA Division I sprinters. During her impressive four-year career, McCoy as amassed 14 individual event victories, including 21 individual races won overall. She has also teamed up with fellow Lady Eagles to win 12 relay races.


Goforth, a native of Columbia, S.C., ranked second in MEAC and 23rd in the NCAA Division I-FCS with 134.9 all-purpose yards per game in 2012, scored three touchdowns on special teams returns, and averaged an NCCU single-season record 35.8 yards per punt return, including school-record 92-yard punt return. He was the team leader in both rushing (575 yards, 3 TDs) and receiving (35 catches, 258 yards). Goforth was named First Team All-MEAC and Beyond Sports College Network FCS All-America First Team as a return specialist. During his record-breaking career, he became the third Eagle in school history to reach 4,000 career all-purpose yards (4,021), broke the NCCU record for longest punt return (92-yard TD vs. Delaware State, Nov. 3, 2012), and owns two of NCCU’s longest kickoff returns in school history (97-yard TD vs. Winston-Salem State, Sept. 11, 2010, and 92-yard TD at Appalachian State, Sept. 18, 2010).

Women's tennis senior Olesya Palko (Kyiv, Ukraine) received the Chancellor's Award as the student-athlete with the highest overall grade point average. Palko has maintained an unblemished 4.0 grade point average as a biology/pre-med major with a minor in chemistry.

Faculty Athletic Council Awards, this year presented to the men’s and women’s teams with the highest overall grade point averages based on team size, were received by men’s tennis, women’s tennis, baseball and volleyball.

The team most valuable player awards were presented to Jeremy Ingram (men's basketball), Chasidy Williams (women's basketball), Laverne Jones (bowling), Johnae Stoutamire (cheerleading), Amber Kirkland (softball), Glendon Mabe (golf), Daniil Gerasimov (men's tennis), Aissa Muamba (women's tennis), Phillip Barren (men's outdoor track & field), Ashley McCoy (women's outdoor track & field), Amber Brooks (women's cross country), Willie Calvin (men's indoor track & field), Anthonia Ballard (women's indoor track & field), Christine Anthony (volleyball), Jordan Reid (football – offense), Tazmon Foster (football – defense), Arthur Goforth and Malik Cromartie (football – special teams), Arthur Goforth (football – overall).

The team academic award winners were Gavin Guarrera (baseball), Ebuka Anyaorah (men's basketball), Tenika Neely (women's basketball), Rae’Shelle Drayton (bowling), India Johnson (cheerleading), Bianka Molina (softball), Ryne Toole (golf), Tamina Kienka (men's tennis), Olesya Palko and Ekaterina Nekrasova (women's tennis), Brandon Addison (men's track & field/cross country), Taisha Parkins (women's track & field/cross country), Dayana Arrufat Rondon (volleyball) and Matthew Cornelius (football).

The third annual “True Grit” awards, established to recognize leadership, sportsmanship and pride, were presented to Joseph Hutchinson (football), Michael Wilson (golf), Akeem Hood (baseball), Tamina Kienka (men’s tennis), Rashawn King (men’s basketball), Alexis Woodley (cheerleading), Amber Neely (women’s basketball), Melissa Rabell Pineiro (volleyball), Delesha Conquest (women’s cross country), Nana Atakora-Bediako (men’s indoor track & field), Jasmine Wanamaker (women’s indoor track & field), James Reese (men’s outdoor track & field), Regina Summerville (women’s outdoor track & field), Ekaterina Nekrasova and Rebecca Wood (women’s tennis), Angelique Perricelli (softball) and Kristyne Garrett (bowling).


The coach’s award winners were Gavin Guarrera (baseball), Stanton Kidd (men’s basketball), Tisha Dixon (women’s basketball), Kia Robinson (cheerleading), Taisha Parkins (women’s cross country), Xavier Proctor (football), Spencer Jones (Golf), Tiphani Jackson (softball), Jose Fabara (men’s tennis), Olesya Palko (women’s tennis), Phillip Barren (men’s indoor track & field), Amber Brooks (women’s indoor track & field), Kevin Vincent (men’s outdoor track & field), Syrita Hunt (women’s outdoor track & field), and Kalin Russell (volleyball).

In other award presentations, Rachel Matthews and Courtney Pyles were named Athletic Training Students of the Year; Avaniki Campbell received the Harper-Armstrong Academic Achievement Award as the graduate assistant with the highest overall grade point average; Terrance Jones earned the McCree-Politano Service Award, presented to the graduate assistant who demonstrated leadership and outstanding service to the Department of Athletics; Bernard J. Watson was recognized for his outstanding school spirit and enthusiastic support during NCCU athletics events with the Screaming Eagle Award; John and Laquetta Barbee were honored as the Donors of the Year; Subject 2 Change was recognized as the New Corporate Sponsor of the Year, and Spoken-4 Communications was highlighted as the Corporate Sponsor of the Year.

The Eddies closed with a highlight video as a tribute to the 2012-13 NCCU student-athletes, which can be viewed on the internet at