Hughes awarded CSU-Pueblo's top senior honor

Hughes awarded CSU-Pueblo's top senior honor

PUEBLO, Colo. (April 26, 2016) – Colorado State University-Pueblo cross country and track standout Bailey Hughes (Jr., Bigfork, Mont.) was the recipient of the 2016 Threlkeld Prize for Excellence at CSU-Pueblo, Wednesday, which is presented to a graduating senior who demonstrates excellence in academic and co-curricular activities as well as in service to the University and to the community.

A dedicated student, athlete, future teacher and active member of the campus community, as the Threlkeld recipient Hughes will receive the first diploma of the ceremony when she graduates with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies (education), a minor in elementary education, and a teacher's license for grades K-6 Saturday, May 7 at the Southwest Motors Events Center at the Colorado State Fair.

"During my years at CSU-Pueblo, I have learned how to be a leader and impact others to do their best," Hughes said. "I will carry these important skills into my teaching career and make sure that my students understand that hard work, putting others who need help before yourself, and studying as hard as possible will made you successful." 

"We are all just so proud of and happy for Bailey," said CSU-Pueblo Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Matt Morris. "Her work ethic on the track and in the classroom really set the tone for us as a program. Bailey spends so much energy helping everyone around her get better and succeed, it's great to see her efforts recognized with such a prestigious award." 

Hughes was selected from six finalists for the Prize, and she was honored at the Student Involvement and Leadership Awards dinner at CSU-Pueblo Wednesday, April 20 in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom.

To be considered for the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence, which is named for the late Budge Threlkeld, a former administrator and professor, nominees must be a graduating senior (fall 2015, spring 2016, or summer 2016) who will have completed at least four semesters at CSU-Pueblo; have at least a 3.7 GPA for the three full-time semesters prior to nomination; and relate, in writing, co-curricular activities as well as service to both the University and the community. A selection committee consisting of representatives from each college, the library, a retiree, and a professional and classified employee review the applications, then select and interview the finalists. The recipient receives a plaque and a cash stipend upon graduation. Hughes' name also will appear on a permanent plaque.

Hughes began her college career at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., and transferred to CSU-Pueblo when Morris accepted the head coach position with the ThunderWolves. Nominators say Hughes models a commitment to social justice in her community and excellence both in the classroom and on the track. She has maintained a 3.917 GPA, was named team captain of the cross country team in just her second year, and holds schools records in the 5K in cross country, 5K in track, 3K, mile, and distance medley relay.

She has competed at two NCAA Division II championship events, as she ran in the 2015 cross country championships and became an All-American with the distance medley relay team at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March. She was named all-region following the cross country season and in addition to her top honor with the DMR, was named all-region in the mile run and 3K. She has earned conference runner of the week recogniztion twice this season.

Hughes was a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team member in the fall, as well as a Academic All-Rocky Mountain Atheltic Conference First Team honoree following the cross country and indoor track and field seasons. 

Hughes has completed more than 800 hours of field experience in Pueblo elementary schools in addition to study groups and working with other athletes on her own time. In addition, she has dedicated hundreds of hours to various projects on campus, in the Pueblo community, and in her hometown of Bigfork, Montana, from the Pueblo Diversified Industries Harvest Walk to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

She will begin a master's degree in education at CSU-Pueblo next year as she uses her final year of athletic eligibility.

Two other finalists were members of Pack Atheltics, in Shelby Sweeney (Worland, Wyo.) of the cross country and track and field teams and Doug Watterson (Fort Collins, Colo.), a former football student-athlete who served as a student assistant last season. 

There were more than a dozen more honors doled out at the student awards banquet and a couple CSU-Pueblo student-athletes were recognized for individual honors. Starting guard for the Pack men's basketball team, Josh Smith (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) was named Most Valuable ThunderWolf and Makenna Linn (Jr., Bennett, Colo.) of track and field earned the Service Award.

The last student-athlete to win the Threlkeld Prize was Ashley Wilkinson of the volleyball team in 2013. 

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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.