Utah State’s Devin Wright receives Mountain West’s highest award

LOGAN, Utah – Devin Wright’s throwing career at Utah State may be over, but the accolades keep rolling in for him.

Wright, who graduated from Utah State in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology, was tabbed the 2016-17 Mountain West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first Aggie to ever win the award. Wyoming’s Audra DeStefano was selected the MW Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“I always dreamed of being a college athlete, being able to participate in the sport I loved beyond high school,” said Wright, a javelin thrower during his time at Utah State. “Now, to be recognized for both my academic and athletic performances as the Mountain West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year is the cherry on top. This honor is humbling and it means that the extra hours in the library were worth it. I credit my parents for instilling in me a standard of excellence and the work ethic to achieve it. I feel very blessed that I was able to represent the Aggies and for all the support Utah State gave me.”

Established by the Mountain West Joint Council in 1999, the MW Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is the highest honor presented to a student-athlete by the conference. The award is bestowed annually to one male and one female who best exemplify the term “student-athlete”

by achieving excellence in academics, athletics and community involvement over the course of their collegiate career.

“I can’t think of a more deserving student-athlete for this award than Devin,” said Utah State assistant head track & field coach Matt Ingebritsen, who works specifically with the Aggie throwers. “I was already as proud of him and all of his academic and athletic accomplishments as a coach could be, but now knowing he is the first Aggie to receive this honor makes it even more special.”

Veteran Utah State head coach Gregg Gensel agreed with Ingebritsen.

“Not only is it a reflection on his hard work ethic that he does on the field with his javelin throwing, but also in the community and the classroom,” Gensel said. “He is such a well-rounded person. It’s great for him to get recognized for all the hard work that he’s done. I can’t think of a more deserving person for this kind of an honor for how hard he’s worked to get to where he is.”

In addition to athletic achievement, recipients of the MW Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award must have a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average, demonstrate leadership and exhibit good character and conduct on and off the playing field. Each honoree will receive a $2,500

postgraduate scholarship.

In June, Wright was named to the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America second team for track & field/cross country. And in May, he was tabbed to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country Team for the third consecutive year.

In his final season with the Aggies, Wright placed 20th in the first round of the javelin with a mark of 63.79m (209-03) at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Austin, Texas. The native of Monticello, Utah, earned first-team all-conference accolades after placing third in the javelin with a personal-best throw of 67.84m (222-07), which ranks fourth all-time in school history, at the MW Outdoor Championships.

Wright captured the javelin title at the 2016 MW Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 62.17m (204-00). He then advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Lawrence, Kan., where he placed 42nd with a mark of 55.29m (181-04).

“Devin has solidified his legacy at Utah State as one of the very best examples, if not the best example, of the true meaning of ‘student-athlete,’” Ingebritsen said. “I am lucky to have been able to coach someone like him. That caliber of kid does not come along very often and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of his time here at Utah State. I’ll miss Devin for sure.”

Wright was an academic all-MW honoree for the final three years of his collegiate career (2015-17), following his return from an LDS Church mission to Guatemala from 2012-14. He was one of six finalists for the NCAA Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship, earned Utah State’s 2017 Whitesides Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor and was named a member of the 2016-17 all-Mountain West SAAC Community Service Team.

A Mountain West SAAC member in 2015 and 2016, Wright served as the USU SAAC President in 2016-17, in addition to being a member of the USU Student Advisory Council (2015-17). He participated in the 2016 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Baltimore, Md., representing the MW.

Wright also received the A-Pin award for the college of science, where recipients are required to maintain a 4.0 GPA for two consecutive semesters, while taking at least 15 graded credit hours.

Over his career, Wright conducted sports clinics for inner city children and worked with different food banks to stock shelves and collect donations from students. He also volunteered as a Spanish interpreter at a local elementary school for parent-teacher conferences through Aggies for Education, and between patients and staff at the Cache Valley Community Health Clinic.

“We are going to miss his quiet leadership,” Gensel said. “He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he works really hard and he inspires everybody around him by showing them that if you work hard, good things will happen. I appreciate him and everything he has accomplished. He is a great young man.”

On campus, Wright did an internship with Dr. John Carman in USU’s plant genetics research lab. He plans to attend medical school with the goal of becoming an orthopedic physician.

Fans can follow the Utah State track & field programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggies fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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