COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recently awarded Tennessee Tech’s Tacarra Hayes and Dustin Dillehay with its annual All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award.
The honor recognizes student-athletes whose accomplishments, in the opinion of the strength coach, reflect their dedication to strength training and conditioning. These athletes are also recognized for their academic and personal accomplishments as well as their integrity as student-athletes.
Hayes, a 5-foot-7 guard, led the Golden Eagle women’s basketball team in scoring and rebounding in 2010-11 as she led Tech to an Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championship and a berth in the WNIT.
The Lebanon, Ky., native averaged 16.9 points (fourth in the OVC) and 7.5 rebounds per game (sixth in the OVC) as a junior and also led the team in assists (4.7 per game) and steals (1.7 per game). She started all 31 contests and got to the free-throw line 228 times, hitting 76 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe.
Hayes was a first-team All-OVC selection for the second consecutive season and was also named the conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year. She was named the Golden Eagles’ Most Valuable Player for the second straight year while also netting mention as a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) all-region team.
“Tacarra is a very hard worker when it comes to strength and conditioning,” said Director of Athletic Performance Chip Pugh. “Last year I really felt her improvement in the weight room was one of the reasons she had so much success on the court.”
Dillehay, a senior defensive back, was the Golden Eagle football team’s third-leading tackler in 2010 with 73 total stops on the season, notching a season-high 14 tackles at Southeast Missouri on Sept. 25. He finished his senior year with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble.
The Hartsville, Tenn., native received Tech’s Defensive MVP award for the second consecutive season. He closed his career with 184 total tackles and five interceptions.
“Dustin is a great example of the idea that if you work hard, great things happen to you,” Pugh said. “He came into college as a walk-on and made the team, worked double time every day, and the reason he had so much success on the field was a direct result of his dedication in the weight room.”
The NSCA All-American Athlete of the Year award program is in its 32nd year and is made possible by a grant from Power Systems, Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn.