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Gates, Muhammad named as TTU Strength All-Americans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recently awarded Tennessee Tech's Kaleigh Gates and Elijah Muhammad with its annual All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award.

The honor recognizes student-athletes' dedication to strength training and conditioning.  This year, the NSCA awarded 232 collegiate athletes from 106 schools with the honor.

Gates, a catcher and outfielder for the Golden Eagles, is currently batting .317, ranks second on the team in home runs with seven and has the second highest on-base percentage at .445.  She also has the highest slugging percentage on the team at .548.

A native of Tuscon, Ariz., she has shown continued improvement at the plate over the course of her years at Tech.

"Kaleigh has been a pleasure to train for the past three years," said Chip Pugh, TTU strength and conditioning coach. "She always demonstrates a tremendous attitude and top-notch work ethic.”

"Even when she is away from campus, it is obvious she works hard to develop further in her conditioning levels.  With a 170-pound Power Clean, solid conditioning, and the ability to push her body to the limit, Kaleigh is well-equipped to have another great year on the field,” Pugh said

Muhammad was awarded the John P. Hendrix Leadership Award and was voted MVP for the 2010 season by his teammates.  Additionally, he was presented with the Minority Affairs Athlete of the Year award.

He led his team on the floor this season, averaging 32.1 minutes per game and shooting over 40 percent from the floor and behind the arc.  He also ranked first on the team with an 83.8% shooting mark from the foul line, and led the team in steals with 44, defensive rebounds with 106, and assists with 143.

"Elijah is one of the best leaders I have ever coached," Pugh said. "His greatest strength lies in his ability to impact his teammates during our training sessions.  Elijah’s energy is contagious.  His leadership both vocally and by example has pushed our basketball team’s work ethic to another level the past two years.

"Physically, he gives every ounce of his potential within our sessions," Pugh continued.  “He wants to win every drill, and often does.  His relentless work ethic will be sorely missed when he graduates.”

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.

"The advantages of strength training and conditioning cannot be denied in collegiate athletics," said Robert Jursnick, NSCA's Executive Director. "These student-athletes attest to this understanding; and are to be applauded for their hard work and dedication."