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December 11, 2009

Ray nabs Student of the Month honors


Robin RayComing off an incredible cross country season, Cowley College sophomore Robin Ray was recently named the school’s December Student of the Month.

Ray, daughter of June Ray, is a biochemistry/pre-med major from McAlester, OK. She has a sister, Dixie 18. Grandparents (deceased) are Clara and T.B. Ray of Hartshorne, OK.

At Cowley, Ray is an accomplished runner for the Tiger cross country and track teams. She is also involved in Phi Theta Kappa, Math and Science club, ACES, IMPACT and intramurals. She also serves as a student ambassador, Cowley Captain, and Cowley tutor. She was named the IMPACT Student of the Year as a freshman and was this year’s October Student Athlete of the Month.

Her cross country coach, Vince DeGrado, holds Ray in high regard.

“Robin exemplifies what a student-athlete at a smaller college is all about,” DeGrado said. “She is involved in so many activities that she is making the most of her college experience.”

Ray was honored to learn she was the December Student of the Month and credits her success to many people.

“Without the help of a lot of people I would not be where I am today,” Ray said. “I want to thank all of the teachers and staff who have helped me along the way. There are a lot of great students here so I am proud of what I have accomplished. I try to help out and give back to the people that have helped me.”

While a student at McAlester (OK) High School, Ray participated in cross country, track, softball, basketball, volleyball, and the marching band.

She had a solid first season with the Lady Tiger cross country team as she was named an all-conference and all-region runner. However, her first season accomplishments pale in comparison to what she was able to achieve as a sophomore.

This year, she placed third in the region and was the Jayhawk East conference champion as she helped the Cowley College women’s cross country team capture the region title for the first time in the program’s history, and win its first conference title since 2002.

“I am proud to know that I was a part of a team that helped change the history of the program,” Ray said. “It all goes back to everyday in practice pushing each other harder and harder.”

Ray went on to be named a NJCAA All-American as she helped the Lady Tigers place fourth out of 35 teams at the NJCAA Division I National Championships held in Peoria, IL. The fourth place finish tied the program’s highest ever national finish as Cowley also placed fourth in 2006.

At the national meet, Ray was the first American born runner to finish the race as she placed seventh with a time of 18:20. She has left her mark on the Cowley program as her time of 18:20 was the second fastest time in school history.

She capped her brilliant sophomore campaign by placing third at the NJCAA Half Marathon Classic in Overland Park. Her third place finish, which garnered her another set of NJCAA All-American honors, was a big reason why Cowley finished first at the meet.

After watching her teammate, Leigh Ann Omarkhail, sprint to the finish line and then race over to hug Ray, she learned the Lady Tigers had won the meet.

“That was incredible, we were so proud of ourselves,” Ray said. “There is so much you can do as a team when you have determination and a team that wants to accomplish things.”

Ever since she was in the first grade, Ray has enjoyed running. She remembers always looking forward to running the timed mile in P.E. and recalls her first grade teacher telling her mom she would be a star someday if she stuck with running.

“Running is a sport, but it is also a passion for me,” Ray said. “If I have a bad day I can’t wait to go for a run because it relieves a lot of stress. Ten years from now I will still be running.”

She will now turn her attention to the track season where she will primarily run in the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meter events.

“I am super stoked, I am so ready to see what I can do in the track season,” Ray said. “I have some goals set and have high expectations for the indoor and outdoor track seasons, not only for me, but for the team.”

Despite her busy schedule, Ray manages to maintain a 3.71 grade point average. Along with her instructors, Ray credits her mother, June, with helping get her to where she is today.

“My mom has stood by me every step of the way and is so proud of me now,” Ray said.

After Cowley, Ray wants to transfer to a four-year institution to continue running and begin working on her medical degree.

“I have wanted to be a doctor since I was about 11 years old,” Ray said. “I would like to help with handicap children because there are not many doctor’s in that field.”

Before transferring to another school and one day settling into a career, Ray plans on enjoying her final semester at Cowley.

“I wish Cowley was a four-year school because I love it so much,” Ray said. “The people here are so friendly and my coaches have always been there for me. My time at Cowley has been a wonderful journey for me.”