GREENSBORO, N.C. - Florida State's Ngoni Makusha, an internationally elite track performer who ran and jumped his way into company with Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens this spring, and Maryland's Katie O'Donnell, one of the most accomplished field hockey players in NCAA history, are the ACC's Athletes of the Year for 2010-11.
Makusha, one of only four people to win NCAA titles in the 100 meters and the long jump, is the winner of the Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the league's top male athlete, and O'Donnell, who put up impressive statistics across the board, claimed the Mary Garber Award, symbolic of the ACC's finest female competitor. The accolades, determined by a voting of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, are named for respected journalists who chronicled the ACC from its inception.
"The ACC's Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards are two of the most prestigious recognitions that can be earned by a student-athlete in this league," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "Ngoni and Katie were selected from a group of tremendously talented nominees and I applaud them on their outstanding accomplishments."
Makusha, a junior from Zimbabwe, edged Duke basketball standout Nolan Smith 17 votes to 16 to become the 58th winner of the McKevlin Award. In the past year, the 2008 Olympian built on an already impressive resume.
His victory in the 100-meter dash (9.89) at the NCAA outdoor championships, achieved in the rain, set a meet record and was the fourth-fastest performance in the world under any conditions this year. His victorious long jump of 8.40 meters, the second-longest in the world in 2011 and best jump in 18 years at the NCAA Championship meet, delivered his third NCAA championship in the event and made him the fourth person in NCAA history to win the long jump and the 100 in a single NCAA Championship. The exclusive fraternity includes Lewis and Owens, who combined for 13 Olympic gold medals.
Makusha also ran on the Seminoles' 4x100 relay team, which won the NCAA title.
"This is an amazing honor when you consider this encompasses all the sports across the ACC", stated Makusha, who was in Paris when notified. "It is special knowing that this is not just for track, but is much bigger than that. To join Charlie Ward and Walter Dix as the only Seminoles to win the McKevlin Award is amazing. I look up to Walter and to win the same award he won in 2007 really means a lot to me. Representing Florida State as the winner of the McKevlin Award also carries great meaning as this school has meant so much to me during my time as a Seminole."
Makusha is the third Seminole to win the McKevlin. He joins join track performer Walter Dix (2007) and Charlie Ward, a football and basketball standout (2003, '04). He is the seventh person in his sport with the honor; that list includes NC State's Julie Shea, who won twice before the creation of the Garber citation.