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Bradbury and Byrd Take Top Honors from TU Athletics

UPLAND, Ind. – Kendall Bradbury and Ben Byrd were recognized on Monday as the winners of Taylor’s Natalie Steele and Gates-Howard Awards. The duo received the prestigious honors during TU’s annual Honors Chapel.

The Natalie Steele and Gates-Howard Awards are designed to recognize Taylor’s top male and female senior student-athletes for excellence in competition, academics and character. Individuals are nominated and voted on by the TU athletics department.

Bradbury was named the Natalie Steele Award recipient and is poised to graduate with a degree in exercise science and a 3.51 grade-point average. Bradbury was one-of-10 women’s basketball athletes from the NAIA to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America attention this year and is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District and two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete for her work in the classroom.

On the court, Bradbury has been one of the most decorated players in the history of the Taylor women’s basketball program, capping her career as the all-time leading scorer in Taylor and Crossroads League history. The four-time NAIA All-American and All-Crossroads League star was named the Crossroads League Player of the Year as a senior and finished ranked No. 9 in NAIA history with 2,850 career points.

Bradbury’s head coach, Jody Martinez, stated, “Kendall is an all-around great young lady. Not only did she have one of the best competitive seasons as an athlete in basketball but she has grown so much spiritually. It has been a true blessing to be her head coach!”

Byrd was named the Gates-Howard Award recipient and will graduate with a degree in finance and minors in mathematics and computer science. Byrd boasts a 3.96 GPA and is a strong candidate for his third CoSIDA Academic All-District and NAIA Scholar-Athlete honor later this spring.

On the track and cross country course, Byrd has a trio of NAIA All-American performances and 12 All-Crossroads League nods and will be making his 10th appearance at a National Championship meet later this May. In addition to those accolades, Byrd currently owns the seventh-fastest time in program history in the 1,500-meters.

Byrd’s head cross country coach, Lance Vanderberg, said, “Ben has been a significant leader on our teams. His level of intrinsic motivation has provided a consistent positive example for his teammates. It has been a pleasure to watch him be a mentor on our team.”