Ginny Thrasher

Ginny Thrasher

MORGANTOWN — Bianca St. Georges (women’s soccer) and Ginny Thrasher (rifle) are West Virginia University’s nominees for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

A native of St. Felix de Valois, Quebec, St. Georges was a 2018 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy candidate and named to the Senior CLASS Award All-America First Team and the United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team. She also earned the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honor and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team and the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team.

Postseason, she was named the Mountaineers’ Team MVP for the second consecutive year and was selected 20th overall by the Chicago Red Stars at the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft.

A two-time team captain, St. Georges was named the Google Cloud Academic All-America of the Year for Division I women’s soccer and earned United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s Scholar All-America First Team accolades. She also was a member of the President’s and Dean’s Lists, the Academic All-Big 12 First Team, the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll. St. Georges graduated in May with a degree in exercise physiology.

In 2018, St. Georges anchored a Mountaineer defense which posted 12 shutouts and allowed just 13 opponent goals. She helped the WVU backline hold its Big 12 opponents to just five goals in the regular season. The Mountaineers denied three consecutive opponents a goal en route to the 2018 Big 12 Soccer Championship title.

A starter in 80-of-81 career matches, St. Georges finished second on the team in goals (7) and points (14), both career single-season bests. She was a perfect five-for-five from the penalty line, the best mark nationally.

WVU finished the year at 15-4-4 (7-2) and ranked No. 14 nationally. The Mountaineers qualified for their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Thrasher, a native of Springfield, Virginia, capped a brilliant four-year Mountaineer career with three All-America first team honors, bringing her career All-America count to 12. The 2019 Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Shooter of the Year and Outstanding Senior, she won the air rifle title at the 2019 GARC Championships, her third consecutive win and fifth conference title. She also finished fifth in smallbore at the 2019 NCAA Rifle Championships.

Thrasher graduated in May with a degree in biomedical engineering. A 2018 Rhodes Scholarship finalist, she was named to the 2019 WVU Order of Augusta and was tabbed a 2019 WVU Outstanding Senior. She received the 2019 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 At-Large First Team and the CRCA All-Academic Team. Thrasher, a 2016 Olympic Gold medalist (women’s air rifle), also was a member of the President’s and Dean’s Lists, as well as the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.

In 2018-19, Thrasher led the Mountaineers to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Rifle Championships. WVU won its 10th consecutive GARC Championships title and sixth consecutive conference regular-season title. The Mountaineers finished the year at 13-0 (8-0 GARC) and ranked No. 2 nationally.

St. Georges and Thrasher are two of 585 nominees for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year honor.

Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.

The nominees competed in 23 different sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 262 from Division I, 131 from Division II and 192 from Division III. Multisport student-athletes account for 144 of the nominees.

Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.

The selection committee will determine the top three honorees from each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.

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The Big 12 Conference has announced West Virginia’s season-opening football game with James Madison on Aug. 31 will kick off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

Previously announced game times were the Sept. 7 contest against Missouri at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri, will be televised at noon on ESPN or ESPN2.

The NC State game on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Milan Puskar Stadium will be televised at noon on FS1.

The Thursday, Oct. 31 game against Baylor at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, will be televised at 8 p.m., ET, on ESPN.

The Friday, Nov. 29, contest against TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, will be televised at 3:30 p.m. on either ABC or ESPN.

The remainder of the 2019 television schedule and game times will be announced on a 12-day or six-day window starting in September.

Season tickets are now on sale for West Virginia’s six-game home schedule and can be purchased online at WVUGAME.com or by calling 1-800-WVU GAME.

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West Virginia University rifle coach Jon Hammond announced on Wednesday that Soren Butler has been elevated to assistant coach for the 2019-20 season.

“Firstly, we’re very excited to have had this position created,” Hammond said. “This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and we’re eager to add to our program.

“We’re happy to welcome Soren on board. He’s been our graduate assistant the last two years, and we know what he brings to this team – his personality, his work ethic and his excitement for the sport. We’re excited to keep him within the program, and I believe the continuity will help this team excel.”

Butler, a native of Casselton, North Dakota, joined the Mountaineers at the onset of the 2017-18 season as a graduate assistant. With his help, the Mountaineers have secured back-to-back runner-up finishes at the NCAA Championships (2018, 2019) and earned consecutive Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) regular-season and championship titles. Additionally, he has coached one NCAA National Champion in Morgan Phillips, the 2018 smallbore winner.

In his two seasons at WVU, Butler has coached six athletes to 26 All-America honors and three to Google Cloud Academic All-America accolades. Additionally, WVU has won four individual GARC titles and three GARC postseason honors.

The Mountaineers have not lost a regular-season match since Butler arrived in Morgantown.

“I want to thank my family, my friends, the WVU Athletics Department staff and the Hammond family for this unbelievable opportunity,” Butler said. “I cannot wait to continue to build on the last two years of work on the line with Jon and (performance consultant) Raymond (Prior). I’m ready to make Morgantown my home.”

A four-year letterwinner at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Butler was a two-time NRA All-American with the Nanooks. He shot at the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Championships, where he finished tied for eighth overall in smallbore (582) and air rifle (592). Butler also claimed the Patriot Rifle Conference Championship smallbore title as a senior, shooting a career-high 589.

The 2016-17 team co-captain and MVP, he won the Nanooks’ Joe Tremarello Sportsmanship Award in consecutive seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17). He finished his collegiate shooting career with highs of 594 air rifle and 589 smallbore.

Butler earned his bachelor’s degree in general business from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May 2016 and his Masters of Business Administration M.B.A. in May 2017, also from UAF. He earned a master’s degree in sport management from West Virginia University in May 2019.

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