A seed was planted in 2010.
She saw a teammate named the Joe E. & Elma Whitesides Scholar-Athlete, an award given to the top Aggie student at Utah State. At the time, Carli Brianne Campbell set a goal. She wanted to be where Erin Stratton was that day.
Fast forward three years and that’s exactly where Campbell is. On Tuesday during the annual scholar luncheon for Aggie athletics in the student center, Campbell received the Whitesides Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
“I have a quick confession,” said Campbell, after receiving the award. “I’m a nerd. ... I wanted to win this award.
“... I knew I was smart enough and could get good grades.”
Which is not a bad thing. The senior from Riverton will graduate with a degree in accounting from the Huntsman School of Business with a 3.96 grade point average. Three A minuses during her sophomore year prevented the 4.0.
“I am not proud of the A minuses ... they were in easier classes,” Campbell said. “I’m still happy with my grades.”
Following graduation, she plans on pursuing a master’s degree in accounting from USU. Campbell is a four-time Whitesides Scholar Athlete recipient and a three-time academic all-Western Athletic Conference honoree.
“(Accounting) just clicks for me; it makes sense and I love it,” Campbell said.
A member of the women’s track and field team, Campbell competes in the high jump and the 100 hurdles. She is also a member of the 4x100 relay team.
“I used to like high jump more, but I’m more of a hurdler now,” Campbell said. “I had surgery, had my left ankle reconstructed about a year ago. I’m better at hurdles now.”
Campbell has earned second-team all-WAC honors twice during her career as she tied for sixth in the high jump at the 2011 WAC Indoor Championships and finished fourth in the high jump at the 2010 WAC Indoor Championships. She said she always puts her studies first.
Track athletes have set a tradition of winning of late and Campbell was aware of that fact. Thirteen of the past 23 recipients of the top individual honor have been from track and field, while 19 of the past 22 honorees have been women.
“I saw those others win it and I thought I can do this,” Campbell said.
Campbell was not the only Aggie to be honored Tuesday. The USU athletics department recognized 189 Aggies for achieving a 3.2 GPA. To be eligible for the honor, student-athletes must have a cumulative 3.2 GPA or have posted a 3.2 GPA during the last two semesters.
Brittany Fisher, who was a member of the track and field team, received the Aggie Achievement Award for overcoming life challenges and personal adversity to ultimately excel as a student-athlete and obtain a high level of academic achievement at USU. She will graduate despite a climbing accident that paralyzed her from the waist down.
“(Fisher) is an inspiration to me,” Campbell said. “... I was about to cry. I’m glad she is doing so well.”
Admissions Officers Jen Caines, Chauntelle Crockett, Patty Ross, Tonya Sorensen, Barbara Walker and Idena Ward were all presented the Meet The Challenge Award, while Jessica Parker was given the Outstanding Tutor Award and Nicholas Lauritzen was given the Outstanding Mentor Award for their work with USU’s student-athletes.
Team honors were also handed out. Men’s golf was named the top academic team with less than 20 members for the second year in a row, while women’s soccer was the top academic team with more than 20 members for the second straight year, as well. Men’s golf was the most improved academic team.
The Whitesides honors started in 1953 by former USU athlete, coach and athletics director Joe E. Whitesides.