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A look at the other finalists for the 2024 Marlene Mawson Award

3 min read
The Kansas women's basketball team, including Marlene Mawson Award finalist Zakiyah Franklin (15) makes its way to the other end of the floor for free throws during a recent home win over BYU at Allen Fieldhouse. [Chance Parker photo]

In conjunction with National Girls & Women In Sports Day, Kansas Athletics announced KU softball pitcher Kasey Hamilton as the winner of this year's Marlene Mawson Exemplary Woman Student-Athlete Award on Wednesday.

Hamilton, a native of Topeka and four-year starter for the Jayhawks, was one of seven finalists up for the award, which was first given out during the 2007-08 school year.

Here's a quick look at the six other Jayhawks who were considered for the honor in 2024.

The Marlene Mawson Award is presented annually to a senior female student-athlete who is a fierce competitor in the classroom and the field of play who also plays an integral role on her team while demonstrating strong character and leadership qualities.

Cameron Boyd, Rowing

Boyd has earned five academic awards, including Academic All-Big 12 Rookie and All-Big 12 First Team. With a 3.65 GPA, Boyd has earned the KU Achievement Academic Scholarship and was named a Scholar Athlete by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association in 2023. Last season, she led her team to a first-place finish at Central Oklahoma and a runner-up finish against Kansas State. In her freshman year, the Kansas rowing team named her the most improved freshman.

Reagan Cooper, Volleyball

Cooper had a phenomenal season for the Kansas volleyball team, leading the Jayhawks with 3.86 kills and 4.17 points while hitting an impressive .346. She received recognition as AVCA Third Team All-American and AVCA Midwest All-Region. Cooper also secured a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team. After finishing her college eligibility at KU, she became the No. 14 overall pick in the Pro Volleyball Federation Draft this year. Cooper obtained a 3.8 GPA at KU and is pursuing a Social Media Strategy Certification.

Zakiyah Franklin, Basketball

Franklin has been a dedicated starter in her super-senior year for the women’s basketball team. She has been recognized as First Team All-Big 12 (2022-23), All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (2021-22) and secured a spot on the Preseason All-Big 12 team three times. More individual accomplishments include being named to the WNIT All-Tournament team in 2023, earning Big 12 Player of the Week honors, and making the Big 12 All-Freshman Team after the 2019-2020 season. Franklin also has etched herself in the record books as she holds the record for minutes played, career games played and has top-10 positions in scoring and assists.

Hanna Hawks, Golf

Hawks is a four-year member of the women’s golf team majoring in General Studies with aspirations for pediatric dentistry. Holding a 3.74 GPA, Hawks has been acknowledged for numerous academic awards, such as the WGCA Academic Scholar (2020-21) and has had the highest GPA throughout the athletic department for two years. Hawks aided the team in a fourth-place finish at the Ron Moore Invitational in Denver, Colorado, this season and was a part of the team’s success when they earned Top 20 rankings in the fall. Beyond the course, she has been a member of SAAC and initiates community service events with the team.

Avery Smith, Soccer

Smith is a member of the soccer team, majoring in Psychology and Exercise Science with a 3.62 GPA. Notable athletic achievements include an honorable mention on the TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week (on Sept. 20, 2022) and started in 17 games as a senior. Smith earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors twice (2021 & 2022) and made the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team in 2023. Outside of sports, she participates in extracurriculars, such as being a part of the Emerging Leaders Retreat and was honored with the “Jayhawker” Award at the Rock Chalk Choice awards in 2022.

Ellie Wehrmann, Swimming & Diving

Wehrmann is the team captain of the Swim & Dive team. She is majoring in Exercise Science and has consistently received Academic All-Big 12 recognition, starting with Rookie Team (2020-21). She has achieved Academic All-Big 12 First Team every year she has been eligible. In her junior year, she had two first-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle and the Individual medley. Furthering her accolades, she earned the Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement, the Big 12 Conference’s highest academic honor, and the Karen Dionne Award, which recognizes the most inspirational members on the team. Wehrmann also received the Crimson Climb Award from the Kansas Athletic Department.

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