Community service

Riley Gaines and Mason Hazelwood win prestigious community service award

LEXINGTON, Ky.Swimming and Diving in Kentucky Riley Gaines and baseball Mason Hazelwood were named winners of the 2022 Brad Davis Community Service Award for the school, the Southeastern Conference announced Thursday.

Each of the 14 league members are awarded one female student-athlete and one male student-athlete across the athletics department before all recipients at the institutional level are considered for the league-wide award.

Hazelwood, a senior pitcher from Salvisa, Kentucky, and Gaines, a senior freestyle and butterfly specialist from Gallatin, Tennessee, will receive a $5,000 graduate scholarship.

Gaines has an outstanding record of community service, having been involved in programs such as God’s Pantry, Special Olympics of Kentucky, Give 10 (REAL Read), Shriner’s Hospital, Kentucky United Telethon and Amachi. She was inducted into the 2022 Frank G. Ham Society of Character which honors student-athletes who show an extraordinary commitment to academic excellence, athletic participation, personal development, career preparation, and to serve as a role model. She recently received the prestigious Sullivan Award, Britain’s highest honor for humanitarian efforts.

Also excelling in the classroom, Gaines — who maintained a 3.876 GPA as a health sciences major — earned a spot on the Dean’s List seven times and on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll four times. . She has also landed on the SEC Academic Honor Roll for the past four years and has been selected three times by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America First Team. She was named the 2022 SEC Athlete-Scholar of the Year for Women’s Swimming and Diving.

His accomplishments in the pool are just as impressive as they are out of the water. A two-time team captain, Gaines will graduate in May as one of the most decorated swimmers in program history. She holds the school record in three individual events and four relays, qualified for the Olympic Trials and helped the UK win its first-ever SEC title in 2021. She has also amassed 12 All-America accolades throughout his four-year career in the blue-and-white and is the SEC record holder in the 200 fly.

Hazelwood has come back this season in remarkable fashion, pitching in his first game just 10 months after undergoing surgery to repair an elbow ligament in his pitching arm, earning him the school’s Blue Heart Award for his perseverance in his recovery. He went 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA in nine outings and was moved to a starting role after injuries decimated the pitching staff.

For his career he is 9-8 with a 3.86 ERA and currently ranks third on the school’s career list for fewest hits allowed per nine innings.

Hazelwood was active in the community and was a student teacher at a local elementary school in the fall of 2021, completing work in December. He graduated with a diploma in elementary education in December and is working on his graduate certificate in positive youth development.

The SEC Community Service Graduate Scholarship is named after former Associate Commissioner Brad Davis. Davis succumbed to cancer on March 2, 2006. He had been on the staff of the SEC since 1988, first as Deputy Commissioner until 1994, when he was promoted to Associate Commissioner.