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Grigsby and Featherston receive highest athletic honors          Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 22, 2005]  NORMAL -- Boomer Grigsby and Krystal Featherston can add yet another accomplishment to their growing list of honors. The Illinois State football star and diving standout have been named the 2004-05 Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

The two were announced as the Milt Weisbecker Male Athlete of the Year and Jill Hutchison Female Athlete of the Year, respectively, at Sunday's annual Walk of Champions on the campus of Illinois State. The announcement was made at the conclusion of the ceremony by Sheahon Zenger, director of athletics.

Jane Fulton, assistant athletics director of academics and life skills, was pleased with the selections.

"I can't think of other student-athletes who are more deserving of these awards than Boomer and Krystal," Fulton said. "Boomer has been such a great ambassador for the university because of his work in the classroom and in the community, as well as on the field. Krystal's accomplishments throughout her career have been amazing, and she too embodies what it truly means to be a student-athlete at Illinois State University. I am very excited for both Krystal and Boomer because the two truly deserve these honors."

Grigsby, whose success has permeated the Illinois State and Bloomington-Normal communities, was not present at the event because he is finishing preseason camp with the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. Featherston was on hand, however, to receive her award and speak to the new Illinois State student-athletes.

"First, let me say that I am so very honored to be this year's recipient," Featherston said. "I wasn't expecting such a prestigious award but am grateful to be representing Illinois State. I want to encourage each of you (student-athletes) to be proud of the university and compete to the best of your ability."

The most decorated student-athlete to ever put on a Redbird uniform, Grigsby was a three-time Buck Buchanan Award nominee and also the only three-time winner of this university honor. A fifth-round NFL draft pick, he has already begun making a name for himself in the professional ranks, fighting for a position on special teams and as a backup linebacker.

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His list of accomplishments is virtually endless. The three-time Gateway Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year led the conference with 129 tackles in 2004. His career numbers are outstanding as well, as he tallied his 580th tackle on Nov. 13, 2004, topping current Redbird assistant coach and former Milt Weisbecker Male Athlete of the Year (2000) Galen Scott. Grigsby's name appears atop the Gateway, NCAA and Illinois State career tackles list.

Three seemed to be the lucky number for this year's recipients, as Featherston is the first-ever three-time Valley Diver of the Year. The Kokomo, Ind., native was also picked by her teammates as the third straight Most Valuable Redbird Diver for her performance during the 2004-05 season.

Featherston, who was awarded the Missouri Valley Conference Diver of the Week honor seven times last season, won both the 1- and 3-meter diving events at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference championships, helping lead the 'Birds to a third-place team finish. This was the third consecutive year that she achieved such a feat. Based on her performance, Featherston qualified for the NCAA diving regionals. Competing against 39 other divers, she ended her career with a 14th place finish on the 3-meter board at the Region C zone diving meet at Purdue.

Featherston placed first on both the 1- and 3-meter boards nine times in her senior season. Additionally, the Redbird diving standout was a Valley scholar-athlete in both 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Named after deserving members of the Illinois State family, the Milt Weisbecker and Jill Hutchison Athlete of the Year awards were voted on by Redbird head coaches and athletic administrators.

[Illinois State University news release]

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