February 24, 2009

Ward Named as a Jostens Trophy Finalist

YORK, PA- York College senior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) was announced as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Jostens Trophy as announced by the members of the Rotary Club of Salem, Va. on Tuesday morning.

The Jostens Trophy is a national award created by the Rotary Club of Salem, Va., to honor the most outstanding men's and women's Division III basketball players of the year. The award takes into account three vital parts: basketball ability, academic prowess and community service.

The trophy models the Rotary motto of “Service above Self” by recognizing those who truly fit the ideal of the well-rounded Division III student-athlete. This year's class marks the 12th year the award has been presented.

The Spartans head into Thursday's Capital Athletic Conference semifinals with a mark of 24-1 with a 24 game win streak. The Spartans, who completed the first 16-0 CAC regular season in conference history, will face either Wesley or Salisbury in Thursday's semifinals in York.  The Spartans are ranked fifth in the nation according to the WBCA USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and ninth in the d3hoops.com Top 25.

Ward has been doing it all for the 5th ranked Spartans. She leads the squad in scoring (16.9 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), assists (7.3 apg), and steals (2.8 spg). She is shooting 54.3% from the floor, 41.3% from three, and 84.3% from the free throw line.

Ward ranks second in all of Division III in assists per game and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio. She is also ranked 30th in field goal percentage, 47th in free throw percentage and 79th in scoring.  She leads the Capital Athletic Conference in scoring, assists, steals, three-point field goal percentage, and assist to turnover ratio. She is ranked third in field goal percentage, third in free throw percentage, tied for sixth in three point field goals made, and ninth in rebounding.

Spartan head coach Betsy Witman is happy to see her outstanding senior recognized.

“Keli has been amazing for us all season long,” says Witman. “I am happy that she is getting recognized for being one of the top players, not only in our region, but in the nation. She is a great player and an even better person and I am very happy for her to be named a finalist for the Jostens Trophy.”

Ward is one of the most decorated Spartans in school history as she is a three-time All-Capital Athletic Conference selection in addition to being the 2005-06 CAC Rookie-of-the-Year. She is a five-time CAC Player-of-the-Week award winner in 2008-09 in addition to being selected to the d3hoops.com Team of the Week twice this season.

The 10 men's and women's finalists will be forwarded to the 35-person national selection committee, which will complete the selection process by picking the two Jostens Trophy winners.

Final ballots are due no later than March 6 with the winning schools notified on March 9. The awards presentation is scheduled for Thursday, March 19 at the Salem Civic Center in conjunction with the Men's Division III Championship being hosted in Salem, Va., on March 20-21.

Jostens Trophy Women's Finalists
Melanie Auguste, Colorado College
LeighAnn Burke, DeSales University
Melissa Gorski, Monmouth College
Amanda Hiltunen, Randolph-Macon College
Hillary Klimowicz, The College of New Jersey
Sarah Meisenberg, Franklin & Marshall College
Margo Muhlbauer, Buena Vista University
Megan Scheele, Edgewood College
Claire Sheehan, Illinois Wesleyan University
Keli Ward, York College

Additional Jostens Trophy information

Keli Ward photo courtesy of Steve Doemland (www.stevedoemland.com)