Taylor Whittingham Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist

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    Nov. 3, 2016

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- USC senior libero Taylor Whittingham (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita HS) was tabbed as one of 10 NCAA women's volleyball student-athletes named to the finalists' list for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award on Thursday, Nov. 3. Considered one of the top student-athletes who excel both on and off the court, Whittingham is the Trojans' second finalist all-time and the first since All-American libero Natalie Hagglund in 2013. In all, USC has had four candidates.

    In order to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character, and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

    The finalists were chosen by a selection committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through Dec. 5. Fan votes will then be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award recipient will be announced during the 2016 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in December.

    Whittingham ranks fourth all-time at USC in career digs (1,609) and is on pace to finish her career in at least third place in the program's record books. Despite her status as a walk-on student-athlete in 2013, Whittingham became the Trojans' starting libero during the 2014 season, led the Pac-12 in digs (4.97 dps), and helped the Women of Troy to an NCAA regional final appearance in 2015 when she lead the league in digs for a second consecutive season (4.70 dps). As a senior, she serves as USC's captain and currently ranks third in the Pac-12 (4.94 dps).

    Whittingham was a 2015 Volleyball Magazine All-America Third Team selection and received AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors in 2014. She is a two-time AVCA All-Pacific South Region selection and has two Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention honors under her belt. She is a three-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week winner.

    In the community, Whittingham has engaged in service projects at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital, where she and teammates spent a day with patients doing various activities to brighten their days such as painting, drawing and playing games. She has served as a team leader and counselor for USC's annual inner-city outreach program, A Day In Troy, through which she and other student-athletes use their position and status to influence young people to pursue education, college degrees and ultimately their career goals. She also has been an active counselor for the Girl Scouts program in 2014-2015. In the summer of 2016, Whittingham was chosen to the Pac-12 All-Star Team, an elite group of athletes that visited China for competition, touring and to put on free volleyball clinics. She served as an ambassador for the sport of volleyball, the University, her team, and her country.

    Off the court, Whittingham is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention selection. She will graduate in May 2017 with a degree in communication from the prestigious USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She has 3.00 cumulative GPA and will also receive a minor in consumer behavior from the USC Marshall School of Business.

    Whittingham is one of three senior student-athletes from the Pac-12 to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She is joined by UCLA outside hitter Claire Felix and Stanford middle blocker Inky Ajanaku.

    For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com. To purchase tickets, please visit USCTrojans.com/tickets today. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

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    Erik Miner
    Phone: (913) 563-5412

    An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Premier Sports Management manages the award.


    Kendall Bateman
    Katie Fuller
    Natalie Hagglund *
    Taylor Whittingham *

    * denotes finalist