Ponwith, Mehaffey Earn Tom Hansen Medal
SAN FRANCISCO - Nathan Ponwith (men's tennis) and Olivia Mehaffey (women's golf) are the 2020-21 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Medal award winners for Arizona State, the conference announced Wednesday. The honor is given annually to an outstanding senior male and female student-athlete from each of the conference's 12 institutions for "the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics, and leadership."
Sun Devil Tom Hansen Medal winners
Nathan Ponwith bio
Olivia Mehaffey bio
Ponwith becomes the third ASU men's tennis player to collect the accolade, joining All-Americans Brian Gyetko (1991) and Ed Carter (2000). Mehaffey is the third women's golfer to pick up the honor after All-American Tracy Cone (1994) and NCAA champion Monica Vaughn (2017).
A Scottsdale native, Ponwith reached the first round of the NCAA singles championship where he lost to eventual tournament champion Sam Riffice of No. 1 Florida. He saw his peak at No. 84 in the Oracle/ITA singles rankings & earned First Team All-Conference honors after going 15-9 in singles and 13-9 in doubles. Ponwith won the deciding point in ASU's Pac-12 Tournament opening match against UCLA, winning three sets to give ASU its first win over the Bruins since the program's reinstatement while giving UCLA its first-ever first-round exit. Nathan ultimately went 14-9 at No. 1 singles, kicking off the year with a six-match winning streak, while earning seven victories against ranked opponents. He ended his season by winning the ITA's Most Improved Senior award.
"Nate has improved in so many areas of his life the past 3 years. I can't say enough about this young man and I know he's going to do great things in whatever he puts his focus and energy to." - Coach Hill
— Sun Devil M. Tennis (@SunDevilMTennis) June 21, 2021
Off the court, Ponwith is active in pen-pal writing programs with local elementary students and has written letters to servicemen and servicewomen overseas. In December 2020 he graduated magna cum laude with his bachelor's in organizational leadership - project management.
Ponwith's play helped ASU pick up six victories against ranked opponents during the year including No. 22 Pepperdine, No. 23 Stanford, and No. 28 UCLA. The collective dominance of the team led to an 11-1 start to the 2021 season, with 10 of those wins coming consecutively and ultimately resulting in the program's highest ranking since reinstatement (No. 17, March 11).
Congratulations to Nathan Ponwith on earning First Team All-Conference honors. ??
— Sun Devil M. Tennis (@SunDevilMTennis) May 20, 2021
Mehaffey has already established herself as one of the greatest to ever wear the Maroon & Gold and she continues to add to her historic resume as Arizona State's female recipient of the Tom Hansen Medal. Hailing from Belfast, Ireland, Mehaffey has been a positive influence in the local and Irish golf communities, bringing attention to women's golf in her home country while serving as a role model for aspiring golfers in Arizona.
?????????????????????????????? to Olivia Mehaffey on her first Top-?? finish as a professional! ??
She shot a 6??8?? in the final round to earn a 9??th place finish at the CoBank Colorado Open and qualify for prize money ?? pic.twitter.com/ORFeBH6NX2
— Sun Devil W. Golf (@SunDevilWGolf) June 9, 2021
A three-time First Team All-Pac-12 performer (2017, 2018, 2019) and four-time WGCA All-American (Second Team - 2018, 2019; Honorable Mention - 2017, 2020), Mehaffey completed her undergraduate degree in sociology with a 3.75 grade-point average and recently earned a graduate degree in organizational leadership with a 4.00 GPA.
After electing to return for the 2020-21 season, Mehaffey recorded three top-10 finishes for the Golfstat No. 7 nationally ranked Sun Devils, highlighted by a second-place showing in ASU's victory at the Clover Cup. That runner-up performance featured a career-best and program-record 10-under-par 62 in the final round
— Cronkite News: Phoenix Sports (@sportscronkite) June 2, 2021
Additional career accomplishments include four individual event victories, highlighted by the 2019 Pac-12 individual and 2019 NCAA Norman Regional titles, along with being a contributor on ASU's 2017 NCAA National Championship team. She has amassed 23 career top-10 performances and 69 rounds under par, including 22 rounds in the 60s, all totals that rank among the best in NCAA history. She recently became a five-time Pac-12 All-Conference honoree, the first in conference or program history.
She is also a four-time WGCA All-American Scholar and is on track to receive the distinction again. She was a contributor to Arizona State boasting the fifth-highest GPA among all Division I Women's Golf teams during the 2017-18 season. She was a Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll member in 2020 and prior to that made the Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team twice. Mehaffey has made Dean's List five times and has been a Sun Devil Scholar-Athlete nine times, earning the distinction every semester of her collegiate career.