Zhang Named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week

    Zhang (left) was named the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Diver of the Year.

    Zhang (left) was named the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Diver of the Year.

    March 19, 2014

    ST. LOUIS -- Kaixuan 'Sherry' Zhang of Southern Illinois and Curt Jensen of Illinois State have been selected Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Week, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced today. Jensen and Zhang were honored for their performances during the period of March 10-16.

    Now in its 15th year of existence, The Valley's Scholar-Athlete program honors its student-athletes for their athletic performance for a one-week period and academic success in the classroom.

    Saluki sophomore Kaixuan 'Sherry' Zhang becomes the third female diver in program history to qualify for the NCAA Diving Championships with her first-place finish in the three-meter dive Saturday. The 2014 MVC Diver of the Year becomes the second diver in program history to quailfy for the NCAA Championships since 1995 when seven-time All American Rob Siracusano did so. Zhang scored an astounding 709.90 to lead the rest of the field by 20 points in the three-meter contest.

    She scored 342.30 in the preliminary round to sit in second-place behind Kentucky's Christina Cabot, but a finals round score of 367.60 vaulted her into first and to the programs first NCAA Diving Championship since 1995. In the one-meter dive the Hu Bei, China native finished (third) with a total score of 605.10, just behind Purdue's Casey Matthews, who bested the field of 45 divers with a score of 616.20, and Illinois State's Wengting Zhang who finished second. Zhang maintains a 3.51 grade-point average and majors in radio- television.

    To qualify for Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week laurels, student-athletes must carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.20, completed at least one academic year at a Valley institution and must be at least a sophomore in academic standing.

    Redshirt freshmen and first-year junior college transfers are not eligible. In addition to the academic qualifi- cations, student-athletes will be evaluated on their athletic performance for a one-week period.