UTEP women’s basketball forward Kristine Vitola has been named as one of 12 student-athletes across Conference USA to receive the league’s Winter Spirit of Service award, the conference office announced Wednesday afternoon.
The C-USA Spirit of Service Award is designed to recognize the community service efforts of the league's student-athletes, based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.
Vitola is a leader on the court for the Miners while being a role model in the classroom and setting a good example through her community involvement. She compiled 24.5 hours of community service this year to lead all members of the women’s basketball team. She made appearances at events for the El Paso Independent School District, participated in the Marathon Kids and was a part of the C-USA initiative SAAC Hunger.
Vitola has a 3.49 cumulative GPA in business, and she earned placement on the 2011 C-USA Academic Honor Roll.
The Latvian native made big strides across the board from her first two years with UTEP on the court. Her shooting percentage went from 36.8 to 42.3, scoring average moved from 4.7 points per game to 5.8 and the rebounding average improved from 3.4 rebounds per tilt to 5.4. She also was second on the team, fourth in C-USA and 96th nationally with 1.5 blocks per game.
Overall her efforts helped UTEP win both the C-USA regular-season and tournament
championship while competing at the 2012 NCAA championships. The Miners set single-season school records for blocked shots (197), rebounding margin (+9.5), scoring defense (54.2), scoring margin (13.4) and wins (29).
The Spirit of Service award is presented three times throughout the season, with today's honorees representing Conference USA's winter sports: men's and women's basketball, women's swimming and men's and women's indoor track and field.
2011-12 WINTER C-USA SPIRIT OF SERVICE HONOREES:
Erica Bell, East Carolina, Women's Track & Field
Bryan Brown, Houston, Men's Track & Field
Kacey Preun, Marshall, Women's Swimming
Robert Jackson, Memphis, Men's Track & Field
Tamir Jackson, Rice, Men's Basketball
Alisha Filmore, SMU, Women's Basketball
Wendy Miller, Southern Miss, Women's Basketball
Brett Benzio, Tulane, Women's Basketball
Chris O'Hare, Tulsa, Men's Track & Field
TaRonda Randall, UAB, Women's Basketball
Sonnisha Williams, UCF, Women's Track & Field
Kristine Vitola, UTEP, Women's Basketball