Aug. 3, 2009
Rome, Ga. - Shorter athletic standouts A.J. Cooley and Katarina Martinovic have been selected as the 2008-2009 Shorter College Male and Female Athletes of the Year as voted upon by the award's selection committee.
Cooley and Martinovic each garnered four out of a possible six first place votes in securing their respective honors.
Cooley, a star running back for the Hawks' football team, helped lead Shorter to its first-ever Mid-South Conference Western Division championship in 2008, breaking 11 school rushing records along the way.
The rising senior torched opposing defenses to the tune of 1,558 yards and 21 touchdowns - both Hawks' single-season records - and eclipsed the 200-yard mark in three separate outings last season. For his efforts, Cooley was named the Mid-South West Offensive Player of the Year, as he became the Hawks' all-time leader in yards, touchdowns and carries.
Cooley, who averaged 129.8 yards-per-game on the ground, finished 2008 ranked second in the nation in rushing and was selected as a preseason All-American by Sporting News for the 2009 campaign.
"A.J. is one of the premier athletes at his position in the nation," said Hawks' head football coach Phil Jones. "He continues to come to practice every day with an attitude to work and improve his performance. He is an outstanding team person."
Martinovic, a basketball standout who closed out her hardwood career by leading the Lady Hawks to their second consecutive 20-win season in 2008-2009, received 22 out of a possible 60 points in a talented field that included 2009 individual track and field national champion Justyna Mudy and two-time All-American softball star Libby Munson.
The Serbian-born Martinovic garnered second team All-American honors this past season in addition to being named the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year. She ranked eighth in the nation in three-point field goals made (85), 15th in three-point percentage (.389) and 20th in the country in scoring (17.3).
Martinovic, known affectionately among her teammates as Kaca, scored in double figures in all but six of her 32 games played and even ranked ninth in the SSAC in assists.
"Because of [Katarina's] work ethic and her desire to win, Kaca made her teammates better and therefore her team better," said Shorter head women's basketball coach Vic Mitchell. "That is the mark of a truly great player. "It is a coach's dream to have your most talented player also be your hardest worker. Because of Kaca, we could ask so much more of everyone else on our team."
The Shorter College Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards recognize the top male and female athlete from a group of nominees representing all 17 intercollegiate sports at Shorter. The award is based on athletic achievement during the year.