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Kirby, Nance, Woods and Fields Win 63rd Annual Admiral Land Awards

October 20, 2015
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Corey Fields, of Fort Collins, Colo., a UW senior in accounting, received the Admiral Land Trophy awarded to the student (non-athlete) who has done the most to promote intercollegiate athletics at UW the previous year. (UW Photo)

Three outstanding athletes and a dedicated student are the winners of the 2015 Admiral Land Award and Trophy at the University of Wyoming.

The presentations were made at Saturday's Wyoming-Nevada Homecoming football game. This year's award has three winners:  volleyball and track athlete Erin Kirby, basketball player Larry Nance Jr. and wrestler Shane Woods. The trophy winner is Cory Fields, a student assistant audio-visual technician in the Athletics Department.

The Admiral Land Award is presented to student-athletes who have completed their Wyoming competition during the preceding academic year and demonstrated outstanding achievement in intercollegiate competition, exemplary personal conduct on and off the field, and maintained academic standing with satisfactory progress toward a degree. The Admiral Land Trophy is awarded to the student (non-athlete) who has done the most to promote intercollegiate athletics at UW the previous year.

A native of Evanston, Kirby earned All-Mountain West honors in volleyball and track. She was All-Mountain West four times as a middle blocker for the Cowgirl volleyball team, as well as All-Mountain West academic honors four times. She is the all-time UW record-holder in hitting percentage, blocks and games played for the Cowgirls. Only the second player in school history and the third in MW history to earn conference honors in four consecutive seasons, she finished her senior season ranked first in the MW in overall hitting percentage. Her UW record of 714 career blocks is the Mountain West career record.

Kirby also was an All-Mountain West Conference hurdler and sprinter for the Cowgirl track and field team. She won the 400-meter hurdles at the outdoor championships as a freshman, finished second as a sophomore, then earned two more All-Conference accolades as a senior by finishing second in the 400-meter hurdles and as part of the second-place 4x400 meter relay team. She was named an Academic All American by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association while majoring in speech and hearing science. The daughter of Jon and Michelle Kirby, Erin is now playing professional volleyball in Sweden.

One of the best and most versatile big men in Cowboy history, Nance capped his career at Wyoming this spring by leading the Pokes to a 25-10 overall record for the program's first-ever Mountain West tournament title and first NCAA Championships appearance since 2002. The 6-8, 235-pound forward paced the Cowboys at 16.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, while adding 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals. His 51 percent from the field was third in the MW and 60th in the NCAA. He notched seven double-doubles during the season, including 10 games with 20-or-more points.

For his efforts, Nance was named to the All-MW First Team, All-Defensive Team, All-Tournament Team and was the MW's co-Defensive Player of the Year. He also earned All-MW First Team and All-Defensive Team honors as a junior. For his career, Nance finished 16th in Wyoming history in points (1,386), ninth in rebounds (807), fifth in blocks (135), fifth in steals (141), eighth in games played (123) and 13th in games started (90). He was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 27th pick of the first round of the NBA Draft. A native of Akron, Ohio, and the son of Larry Sr. and Jaynee Nance, he graduated with a degree in criminal justice in May.

Woods was a three-time NCAA qualifier and conference champion wrestler. As a senior, Woods was named the Everett Lantz Most Outstanding Wrestler for 2015. He recorded a team-high in wins with 34 and won his third straight Western Wrestling Conference title. Woods was a force in duals for the Pokes during the season, recording a 15-0 record. A two-time team captain, he finished his career with 101 wins, tying for 16th in Wyoming history. The Cowboys finished first as a team in the Western Wrestling Conference three times and second once during his career. A native of Chickasha, Okla., he is the son of Jason and Dana Woods, and graduated with a degree in communications.

A student assistant in the athletics audio/visual department, Fields is an integral part of keeping the technology in athletics venues current and functioning. At various times, he has designed, built or repaired equipment as needed for UW’s 17 varsity sports. He works evenings and weekends without the slightest complaint. His initiative and professional demeanor is impressive, as is his technological knowledge and skill.

Fields designed and built a wireless instant replay system for use in volleyball practices, which soon was being used by several other sports. Often working in pressure-packed situations, Fields remains calm and effective. A senior majoring in accounting, Fields is involved with the UW Lacrosse Club, and Engineers Without Borders. The son of Jane and Todd Fields, he hails from Fort Collins, Colo.

The Admiral Land awards have been a special part of UW Homecoming since 1953. They are given as a tribute to distinguished UW alumnus Admiral Emory S. Land, class of 1898. Land was a World War II shipping administrator and head of the U.S. Maritime Service. At UW, he was a member of the first football team and four of the first five teams in school history.

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