Tampa's Lars Benner Selected as the 2016-17 SSC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Tampa's Lars Benner Selected as the 2016-17 SSC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

MELBOURNE, Fla. – University of Tampa cross country runner Lars Benner has been selected as the 2016-17 Sunshine State Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. His honor marks the second time a Spartan athlete has been named SSC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year since the award was created in 1995-96.
 
Benner was chosen from a pool of nominees in a vote conducted among the conference's Athletic Directors, Senior Woman Administrators, Athletic Communication Directors, and Faculty Athletic Representatives from each of the nine member institutions. Criteria considered in selecting the winner were: first, scholarly excellence; second, athletic performance; and third, involvement within the school and community.
 
With a 4.00 grade-point average in Biochemestry, Benner repeats as a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and SSC Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient. It is the third All-District and fourth SSC award for the senior. He was also selected to the D2ADA Academic Achievement Team, received the AP Scholar with distinction honor, earned UT's Science Student of the Year award, and graduated in the top one-percent of his class.
 
Benner finished first among all Spartans at the Florida State Invite, South Florida Invite, SSC Championship, and NCAA South Regional in 2016. Following an 8,000-meter time of 26:53.98 at the pre-conference meet to start the year, Benner improved his top-time by over a minute to 25:48.25 at the SSC Championship.
 
The Valrico, Florida product has volunteered for Meals on Wheels, tutored math, and mentored abused and abandoned children during his time at the University of Tampa. Benner also donated his time teaching basketball and working as a camp counselor. 
 
Benner and Henrik Nebrelius (Soccer, 1997-98) are the only Spartans to be named SSC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  Benner is the first male cross country student-athlete to win a SSC end of the year award. He joins Lauryn Falcone of Rollins College (2012-13) as the only runners to earn SSC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.
 
Complete Listing: SSC Scholar-Athletes of the Year