Buchanan Caps Stellar Career With Big 12 Athlete of the Year Award

West Virginia University women’s soccer defender Kadeisha Buchanan has been named the 2016-17 Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year, as announced today by the conference office.

The Brampton, Ontario, native is the first Mountaineer student-athlete to earn the prestigious conference honor since WVU joined the Big 12 in 2012.

WVU director of athletics Shane Lyons with Mountaineer Olympic medalists (from left) Ashley Lawrence, Kadeisha Buchanan and Ginny Thrasher.

“It’s only fitting that Kadeisha Buchanan is the first WVU student-athlete to win the Big 12 Athlete of the Year award,” Mountaineer women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “She took our standard of excellence to a whole new level, and I am so proud of everything she did for our program, the University and this athletic department during her four-year career. Kadeisha put in a lot of hard work to earn this honor.”

Nominees are submitted by Big 12 institutions and selected, based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship, by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through Big12Sports.com.

The most decorated WVU women’s soccer student-athlete, Buchanan also was the 2016 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy winner and the program’s first four-time NSCAA All-American and was named the 2016 espnW and TopDrawerSoccer.com National Player of the Year. Additionally, she was the Honda Sport Award winner for soccer and was nominated for a 2017 ESPY Award as the Best Female College Athlete.

Buchanan also was a finalist for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award and was named to the award’s All-America First Team. Additionally, she earned her fourth straight Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team honors. She capped her Mountaineer career with four Academic All-Big 12 awards and three Big 12 Tournament Defensive MVP honors.

A two-time team captain, Buchanan and the WVU defense posted a nation- and program-best 18 shutouts in 2016 and allowed just 12 opponent goals en route to a runner-up finish at the 2016 NCAA College Cup, where she was named the NCAA Tournament Defensive MVP. Also this season, Buchanan and the WVU defense denied each conference team a goal and held all but one squad to two shots or less. The Mountaineers swept the Big 12 Conference regular-season and championship crowns for the third time in four years and finished with a program-record 23 victories.

An Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree and a member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll, she helped the Mountaineers raise funds for breast cancer research and volunteered at youth clinics in West Virginia and Canada.

Buchanan started 90-of-91 career matches, and the WVU backline allowed just 62 opponent goals and posted 55 shutouts throughout her four-year career. She tallied nine points (3 G, 3 A) in 2016, including an assist on the team’s game-winner in its 1-0 victory over Duke in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Buchanan finished with 25 (8 G, 9 A) career points.

A starter for the full Canadian National Team, Buchanan helped Canada claim the Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Best Young Player honoree, she also was named the 2015 BMO Canadian Player of the Year.

Currently playing with Olympique Lyonnais, Buchanan helped Lyon win the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Coupe de France Feminine and Division 1 Feminine this year.

Men’s basketball guard Frank Mason III (Kansas) and swimmer Will Licon (Texas) were selected as 2016-17 Big 12 Male Athletes of the Year.

Nominees are submitted by Big 12 institutions and selected, based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship, by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through Big 12Sports.com.

Mason was the consensus National Player of the Year as well as a consensus All-America First Team selection while leading the Jayhawks to their 13th-consecutive Big 12 regular season title. He also captured the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award and was named Big 12 Player of the Year and to the All-Big 12 First Team. Mason became the only player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season. He led the Big 12 in scoring overall (20.9 ppg) and during conference play (21.0 ppg) while averaging 5.2 assists.

A two-time national player of the week, Mason posted 23 games of 20 or more points, including his final seven contests and 10 of KU’s last 11 outings in 2016-17. The Petersburg, Virginia native was KU’s leading scorer in 26 games. Mason concluded his career No. 6 on the Kansas scoring list (1,885 points), No. 6 in assists (576), No. 8 in 3-point field goals (185), No. 13 in steals (165) and tied for third in consecutive starts (110). He is the first Jayhawk in school history to rank sixth or higher in both points and assists. Mason was one of five ESPNY nominees for 2017 Best Male College Athlete.

The May 2017 KU graduate was also active in the Lawrence community with activities to include Ladies Night Out, a yearly sold-out event that benefits Jayhawks for a Cure with all proceeds donated to Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) and the KU Cancer Center in an effort to fund cancer research. A Big 12 Champion for Life, Mason was a counselor at the Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic, participated in an annual youth holiday clinic in which men’s basketball student-athletes teach youth fundamentals and visited local elementary schools to read to the students.

Licon is an 11-time NCAA champion who won NCAA titles in all five of his events at the 2017 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. He became just the fourth swimmer in the history of college swimming, and the first in 17 years, to win NCAA titles in four different individual events through his career at the NCAA Championships. Licon’s 2017 national championships were in the events of 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. He is the first Texas or Big 12 swimmer to win three individual national titles at a single NCAA Championship meet (athletes are limited to a maximum of three individual events).

The 12-time Big 12 champion and two-time Big 12 Men’s Swimmer of the Year led Texas to NCAA team titles from 2015-17. He has earned 16 All-America honors during his career. Licon is the NCAA, American, U.S. Open and Big 12 record holder in the 200-yard breaststroke and is the NCAA, U.S. Open and Big 12 record holder in the 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. He finished his career as the Big 12 record holder in four individual events and co-record holder in two events.

Licon was the 2017 men’s recipient of the UT Athletics Academic Leadership Award and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team and Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. He was a member of the Texas Cowboys service organization on campus, participated in the Orange Santa toy drive and the MLK Day of Service. Licon was selected as a Big 12 Champion for Life and then nominated a deserving high school teacher for recognition in the Big 12 Champions for Life/CFP Foundation Extra Yard for Teachers program.

Other female candidates for Big 12 Athlete of the Year included Lindsey Cargill (Baylor), Jhoanmy Luque (Iowa State), Sharon Lokedi (Kansas), Nina Schultz (Kansas State), Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma), Vanessa Shippy (Oklahoma State), Brenley Goertzen (TCU), Chrisann Gordon (Texas) and Gabriela Talaba (Texas Tech).

Male nominees were Troy Montemayor (Baylor), Monte Morris (Iowa State), Jordan Willis (Kansas State), Samaje Perine (Oklahoma), Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State), Cameron Norrie (TCU), Trey Culver (Texas Tech) and Jevon Carter (West Virginia).