Harding student the GAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year

RUSSELLVILLE — Yesterday, the Great American Conference announced Henderson State golfer Allie Bianchi as its Female Scholar Athlete of the Year and Harding decathlete Matthew Hipshire as its Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Matthew Hipshire

In the classroom, she maintained a 4.00 GPA in finance that led to her earning her second GAC Elite Scholar Athlete award. She landed on the WGCA All-American Scholar Team for the second-straight year and finished as finalist for the NCAA Elite 90 Award. Bianchi gave her time to the HSU Business School as a peer guide and achieved membership to HSU Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.

On the course, she earned GAC First-Team and All-Tournament honors. She helped the Reddies repeat as conference champions. At the NCAA Division II Regionals, she placed fourth as Henderson State won the team championship by 24 shots and qualified for the National Championships for just the second time in program history. 

She became just the second two-time Female Scholar Athlete of the Year joining former Ouachita volleyball and basketball standout Kori Bullard, who claimed the honor in the 2017 and 2018.

Other nominees for the 2021-22 GAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award included Arkansas-Monticello’s Caroline Tedder (Softball), Arkansas Tech’s Jacqueline Klemm (Golf), East Central’s Maddie Rehl (Basketball), Harding’s Allison Carpenter (Tennis), Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Maggie Peterson (Volleyball), Oklahoma Baptist’s Emma Downing (Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field), Ouachita’s Makeilah Turner (Tennis), Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Kamarie Wallace (Softball), Southern Arkansas’ Morgan Schuster (Volleyball) Southern Nazarene’s Abby Neihues (Basketball)and Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Allie Hoang (Volleyball).

Like Bianchi, Hipshire repeated as the league’s Male Scholar Athlete. He too became the GAC’s second two-time Male Scholar Athlete of the Year as he matched the feat accomplished by Southern Nazarene’s Colin Pasque in 2016 and 2017.

Hipshire, who completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering with a 4.00 GPA, boasts a 4.00 GPA as he pursues a Master of Business Administration in management and business ethics. He became the third Bison lauded as a four-time Academic All-America – Presented by CoSIDA. 

In 2022, Hipshire broke the school record in the decathlon when he scored 6,561 points at the BYU Cougar Invitational. He won the decathlon at the GAC Championships with a meet-record score of 6,436 points and recorded three additional top-eight finishes at the event to help the Bisons win the team title. He garnered USTFCCCA All-Region honors for the decathlon.

Other nominees for the 2021-22 GAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year award included Arkansas-Monticello’s Andrew Pearson (Golf), Arkansas Tech’s Francois Jacobs (Golf), East Central’s Carson Sandvik (Cross Country/Track & Field), Henderson State’s Greyson Stevens (Baseball), Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Tanner Clarkson (Football), Oklahoma Baptist’s Josh Cornell (Football), Ouachita’s Gregory Junior (Football), Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Kellen Manek (Basketball), Southern Arkansas’ Brock Floyd (Football), Southern Nazarene’s EJ Taylor (Baseball) and Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Gregor Weck (Golf).