The men's recipient was Michael Greenwood of North Dakota.
"I am very much honored to receive this award," said McGill, who has been accepted into the Sanford School of Medicine beginning next fall. "I want to thank Athletic Director Joel Nielsen, Assistant Athletic Director Jill Theeler and my coach Lucky Huber for all they have done for me at USD," she said at the honors dinner.
The NCC Scholar-Athlete award is presented annually to one male and one female senior student-athlete who distinguish themselves through academic performance, athletic ability and community activities. The recipients of the NCC Scholar-Athlete Awards are selected by the league's institutional representatives. Each school nominates one male and one female student-athlete for the honor athlete recognition and as a candidate for the NCC Scholar-Athlete Award. Matt Murphy of Rapid City, was the USD male honor athlete.
"We are proud of Mara (McGill) for her many accomplishments," said Nielsen. "She is a role model and someone who has excelled both in the classroom, as shown by her 4.0 grade point average, and on the track, where she has won NCC titles and shown exceptional leadership," added Nielsen.
A senior track and field standout from Beresford, McGill becomes the fifth Coyote female student-athlete honored by the league office. Other award recipients have included Karrie Wallen, 1984; Jean Misterek, 1987; Julia Frie, 2003; and Mandy Koupal, 2004. USD has had a total of eight male or female student-athletes receive the NCC's top honor for student-athletes. The three male recipients from USD have been Jerus Campbell, 1983; Matt Hoyt, 1999; and Jeremy Kudera, 2001.
McGill was selected from among a field of female honor student-athletes that included Alison Adamson, Augustana (basketball); Michelle Burgard, North Dakota (track and field); Beth McGill, Nebraska-Omaha (soccer); Kari Hudson, Minnesota State (softball); Brenda Peters, St. Cloud State (swimming and diving); and Katie Winkelman, Minnesota-Duluth (basketball).
Along with Murphy and Greenwood, the other male student-athletes included Luke Anderson, Minnesota State (basketball); Cody Henriksen, Augustana (wrestling); Matt Hockett, Minnesota-Duluth (basketball); J.D. Naig, Nebraska-Omaha (wrestling) and Adam Sullivan, St. Cloud State (basketball).
McGill was named USD's Scholar Athlete of the Year earlier this month. McGill, who will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average in biology/pre-medicine and as a member of USD's honors program, plans to become a primary care physician and specialize in pediatrics or internal medicine. McGill has been one of the leaders of a South Dakota women's track and field squad that won two consecutive NCC triple crowns (titles in track and field and cross country in the same year) and won its fourth straight NCC outdoor crown two weeks ago in Duluth, MN.
A five-time national provisional qualifier, McGill was the 2006 NCC heptathlon champion. In 2007, she finished second in the NCC heptathlon and put together NCAA D-II provisional qualifying marks in the 100-meter hurdles and the heptathlon.
A recipient of the Mickelsen Scholarship, she has been inducted into the most prestigious undergraduate honor society in the U.S. � the Phi Beta Kappa society. A year ago, she received the Nelson Shield Award from the USD College of Arts and Sciences as the junior with the highest GPA. In addition, she has made the dean's list every semester at USD.
McGill was named to the 2006 and 2007 NCC commissioner's academic indoor track and field honor roll and selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-district VII women's track and field/cross country second team in 2006 as well as the 2006 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ll-academic D-II squad.
Active in undergraduate research, McGill has received a research fellowship from an EPSCoR grant and conducted research in the basic biomedical sciences lab. A mentor to fellow student-athletes, she has been an academic advisor for women's track for two years. She has volunteered at the Newman Center, offering free child care. McGill has also worked at the Welcome Table, a community dinner on Mondays for disadvantaged people in Vermillion. She has been active with the Adopt-A-Grandparent program (pairing students with residents from a local nursing home) and worked with USD's Special Olympics Field Day.
Murphy, who has been accepted into the USD School of Law, was named the USD Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Murphy, who had a 3.899 grade point average in business, was a defensive line standout on USD's nationally-ranked football team, which had a 9-4 record, advanced to the D-II playoffs for the first time in 20 years and finished the season ranked 13th in the country.