Ronnetta Alexander Earns Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award
May 6, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina track and field standout Ronnetta Alexander has been named a recipient of the 2009 Wilma Rudolph Student Athlete Achievement Award from the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A). The award honors student athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
Alexander grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., with a struggling mother and an alcoholic father, who abandoned Alexander and her sister at an early age. When Alexander was 12, she began to live with her paternal grandparents. During the fall of her junior year at South Carolina, Alexander became the legal guardian of her 13-year old sister due to the ailing health of her grandparents and to keep her away from the potential negative influences in Buffalo. Alexander has handled the duties of being a parent, student, and an athlete in great stride.
Alexander, who was named to the President's List (4.0) this past fall, earned her doctorate of pharmacy degree on May 6, pursuing her postgraduate degree all while enduring multiple setbacks in her life. Even though she has suffered from performance related asthma since high school, Alexander has continued to work closely with coaches and doctors in order to compete at the highest level. In the summer of 2007, she ruptured her Achilles tendon while participating in community service with the track and field program. This potential career ending injury forced her to miss the 2008 season while she recovered from surgery.
While missing the entire 2008 season, Alexander served as a team leader. She returned in 2009 to place third in the 60m hurdles at the SEC Indoor Championships and earn a bid to the NCAA championships, where she placed ninth. Alexander is a three time NCAA All-American, a seven-time SEC Championship scorer and a SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient.
Alexander is one of six recipients to be honored with this prestigious award in 2009. She will be honored on June 11-14 at the N4A Convention in Miami, Fla. She becomes the first Gamecock to be honored with the award.
The Rudolph Award is named after the former track and field standout. Rudolph became the first American female athlete to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games, winning gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.