Swimmer John Dayton Named Mountain West Conference Male Student-Athlete of the Year
June 19, 2003
Air Force senior John Dayton and Utah senior Theresa Kulikowski were selected as the 2003 Mountain West Conference Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year, respectively, and will be awarded a postgraduate scholarship in recognition of their achievements.
Established by the Mountain West Conference Joint Council in 1999, the Student-Athlete of the Year award is the highest honor presented to a student-athlete by the conference. The award is bestowed annually to the man and woman who best exemplify the term "student-athlete" by achieving excellence in academics, community involvement and athletics. Criteria for the Student-Athlete of the Year award requires that nominees demonstrate leadership, character and conduct on and off the playing field. In addition to superior athletic achievement, candidates must have a minimum 3.5 grade point average and be in their final year of eligibility in any NCAA-recognized sport.
Dayton, an aeronautical engineering major/Russian minor from Hendersonville, Tenn., is a four-time Academic All-America Honorable Mention selection and four-year letterwinner for the Air Force Academy swim team. Ranking seventh in a graduating class of 1,003, Dayton carries a 3.91 grade point average in his major, while also serving as team captain. A two-time All-Mountain West Conference performer, he led the Falcons to a second-place finish in the MWC, their highest in school history. Dayton captured two league titles as a member of the 200 medley relay (2001) and 400 medley relay (2002) teams. An NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient and Honor Society student, Dayton earned Dean's List honors eight times and Commandant's List accolades for military achievement five times. He found time to take part in a variety of extracurricular activities, including a language immersion program in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a volunteer stint as squadron tutor.
Kulikowski, a dual major in psychology and exercise and sport science, is one of the most decorated student-athletes in NCAA history. In addition to Academic All-America honors four straight years, she earned All-America status in all 14 gymnastics events she competed in during her tenure with the Utes' nationally acclaimed program. A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., Kulikowski graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2002 with a 4.0 grade point average and is currently completing requirements for application to a physical therapy program. She was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and is a nominee for the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. Voted one of Utah's all-time top 25 female athletes, Kulikowski was also the first Ute to be named the AAI Senior Gymnast of the Year as selected by NCAA gymnastics coaches. The Utah school record holder for most 10.0 scores (14) and most victories (111), she also earned 2002 Verizon Academic All-America honors and was named 2002 Verizon Academic Team member of the year. In addition to her academic and athletic commitments, Kulikowski spent time volunteering for a number of organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and The Children's Center in Salt Lake City.