TUESDAY, JUNE 09, 2009
Natasha Harvey & Anton Axelsson named A-Sun “Student-Athlete of the Year”
Anton Axelsson along with Natasha Harvey become the first Dolphins to win A-Sun
Anton Axelsson along with Natasha Harvey become the first Dolphins to win A-Sun "Student-Athlete of the Year"
Senior track & field athlete Natasha Harvey and former men’s soccer player Anton Axelsson were each named Atlantic Sun “Student-Athlete of the Year” by the league office on Tuesday afternoon.

Harvey and Axelsson are the first JU athletes to receive the honor since the Dolphins joined the A-Sun in 1999.

“These are two great people, who have represented JU very well” said director of athletics Alan Verlander. “What Natasha and Anton have accomplished during their time here is simply extraordinary. I’m very happy that they are the first two Dolphins to receive this honor.”

On the track, Harvey helped the Dolphins win both the A-Sun Indoor and Outdoor titles in each of her four years. She earned four All-America honors in the long jump, secured seven berths in the NCAA Championships, produced 18 NCAA regional qualifying marks, won 22 individual conference championships and recorded 35 all-conference honors. Harvey also won “Most Outstanding Performer” meet honors at the A-Sun Championships nine times and competed with Team USA twice (2006, 2008).

The New Haven, Conn. native graduated with an overall GPA of 3.58 GPA as an exercise science major. Harvey posted a 3.73 GPA in her major en route to being named the School of Education “Outstanding Exercise Science Student” at graduation.

Earlier in the year, she was named JU’s female “Student of the Year” and recently earned ESPN the Magazine second team Academic All-District honors for the second year in a row. Harvey finished her academic career earning A-Sun All-Academic and Dean’s List honors on six occasions.

At the athletics banquet, Harvey was given the Dolphins highest individual honor, the Senior Student-Athlete Award. The award is given to the top senior student-athlete at Jacksonville who has excelled at the highest level in the classroom and in her sport, while serving as a benefit to the community.

In the community, Harvey’s resume is just as good as the one on the track. She has worked with the Girls on the Run, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Daniel Foundation. Harvey has led bibles studies for friends and teammates as a peer minister through the Jacksonville Campus Ministries, while also working with various community efforts on campus like the Spring Spruce Up.

Last year, she along with former teammate Shaquania Lundy, founded the Intoyou program while working at the Pace Center for Girls. The program is an obesity prevention and self-esteem building class at the center. The Pace Center for Girls is a non-profit statewide organization that helps girls from the ages of 12-18, which are identified as dependent, truant, runaway, delinquent or in need of academic skills.

Harvey has also been chosen by the conference faculty athletic representatives (FAR) to be the A-Sun nominee for the NCAA “Woman of the Year.” The NCAA “Woman of the Year” honors senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.

“Natasha truly deserves all the recognition she is getting,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “I’m happy to see she is getting awarded for more than just her athletic accomplishments. She has been a true ambassador for our team, school and conference.”

Axelsson, who didn’t play in 2008 because he exhausted his eligibility, scored 33 points and recorded 16 assists (82 total points) during 55 matches from 2005-07 for the Dolphin’s soccer program. In 2007, he helped the Dolphins secure their first A-Sun title with conference highs in goals (16), points (36) and game-winning goals (6). Axelsson also took home A-Sun “Player of the Year”, first team all-conference, A-Sun all-tournament and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) second team all-region honors for his efforts.

Off the field in 2007, Axelsson earned ESPN the Magazine Academic “Player of the Year” and first team academic All-America honors. He was also named first team Academic All-America and All-Region by the NSCAA. Axelsson was awarded the Department of Athletics Academic Excellence Award at the all-sports banquet to round out the year.

In 2009, Axelsson graduated summa cum laude in May with an overall GPA of 3.991 as a psychology and philosophy major. He racked up the honors at graduation after being named College of Arts & Sciences and Outstanding Psychology Major “Student of the Year.” Axlesson was also awarded the Fred B. Noble, Jr. Gold Medal for Scholarship, which is given to the graduate with the highest GPA.

Along with those honors, Axlesson earned the College of Arts & Science Outstanding Philosophy “Student of the Year” in each of his last two years. He was awarded the Humanities Division “Student of the Year” and the Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for Excellence in the College of Arts & Sciences in 2008.

Off of the pitch, the Vaxjo, Sweden native took part in the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Psi Chi National Psychology Honor Society and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC ). Axelsson also served as the president for the Philosophy Club (2007-09) and Phi Sigma Tau National Philosophy Honor Society (2009).

Axelsson garnered A-Sun All-Academic honors for three consecutive years, while making the Dean’s List in all eight semesters at JU and the President’s List (4.0) in seven semesters.

“I am very thrilled for Anton to get this award,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “He was an excellent leader both on and off the field during his time here. Anton is a large part of why our men’s soccer team is successful now and I wish he could have been with us when we made the NCAA Tournament this year. I know hard work in the classroom will help him for many years to come.”