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RICHARDSON, Texas – McMurry University senior men’s track standout Kevin Cunningham (Brownwood, Texas) has been named as the American Southwest Conference Male “Athlete of the Year,” it was announced Monday by the league office.

In 2012, Cunningham led McMurry to the NCAA Division III national championship in men’s outdoor track and field. Cunningham was also recently awarded the “Outstanding Performer Award” from the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, as well. He earned the USTFCCA’s South/South Region “Athlete of the Year” award for a second-consecutive time in 2012.

Cunningham was the 2012 Texas Relays College Division champion in the 400 hurdles, also earning ASC “Athlete of the Week” recognition.

McMurry won its 14th-consecutive ASC title in 2012, as well.

Additionally, Cunningham picked up two All-America finishes at the 2012 NCAA III Indoor Track Championships.

“What a great way for Kevin to cap off an illustrious track career at McMurry,” McM head coach Barbara Crousen said of the honor. “For Kevin to be voted as the top athlete, from an outstanding array of performances by numerous student-athletes throughout the American Southwest Conference in 2011-12, is the highest compliment to what he accomplished.

“Kevin’s team leadership was every bit as important as his times on the track. From his gutsy effort as anchor of the 4×400 relay at the NCAA’s – by running a great split even when we were hopelessly behind in the race – to inspiring the team with his efforts in the open 400 and 400 hurdle races. He infused the team with a needed reminder that we were still in position to win the championship if we took care of business, which we did.

“Kevin truly led by example, carrying the McMurry banner with pride and distinction throughout his career.”

At the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Cunningham won both the 400-meter hurdles and the 400 dash. Cunningham also had the nation’s top qualifying times in both events entering the finals in Claremont, Calif. He ran anchor on the War Hawks 4×400 relay team which qualified for the NCAA’s, but did not reach the finals.

In all, Cunningham earned a total of 12 All-America awards (second most in McM history) – and four national championships – during his career in the Maroon & Black.

In addition to the pair of outdoor championships in 2012, Cunningham was the indoor national runner-up in the 400 meters and seventh with the 4×400 quartet.

In addition to the 400 hurdles crown for 2011 outdoors, Cunningham also ran the opening leg of the War Hawks’ championship 4×100 relay last season. He was also a part of McM’s runner-up 4×400 relay in 2011 outdoors.

During the 2011 indoor season, he was sixth in the 400 and fifth with the 4×400.

In 2010, Cunningham had a fifth in the indoor 400, while, finishing fourth outdoors. He was also sixth with the 2010 outdoor 4×400 team.

“It feels good to be recognized for all the hard work I’ve put in not just this year but during my career,” Cunningham said. “This season was a struggle for me because I got hurt midway through the year. But I was truly blessed with my teammates who pushed me and my coaches, and the support system that McMurry has. I am thankful to be able to win this award.”

Cunningham’s award gives McMurry an ASC record eighth (five male and three female) Athlete of the Year. Three of the previous four male winners – Hann Ollison (2008-09); Cody Brotherton (2004-05) and Brad Parris (1999-2000) – were also track and field athletes. In 2009-10, McM football and baseball standout Jake Mullin garnered the award. McM’s female winners include: Brittany Cary (women’s golf/ 2003-04); Tabitha Belcher (track and field/2000-01), and; Ogonna Merritt (women’s basketball/1999-2000).