March 27, 2009

On the court or in class at VUSN, Wirth proves a winner

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Vanderbilt women’s basketball star and first-year nursing student Christina Wirth, center, in action against Radford University. (John Russell)

On the court or in class at VUSN, Wirth proves a winner

First-year nursing student and women's basketball standout Christina Wirth is continually recognized for her prowess on the court and in the classroom.

In the Southeastern Conference's 2009 postseason awards, Wirth was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as a unanimous choice for the All-SEC First Team.

Wirth was one of two recipients of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Scholarship Award, which provides $1,000 to deserving student-athletes to complete their undergraduate degrees or to begin work on advanced degrees.

She was also selected as one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for women's basketball, which celebrates the loyalty of seniors who honor a four-year commitment to their university and recognizes achievement in classroom, character, community and competition.

A five-time honoree on Vanderbilt's Dean List, Wirth has made the SEC Academic Honor Roll in every year of her career.

“A lot of people think that athletes just come to college just to play sports,” Wirth said, “but a lot of us are working really hard to pursue a career. It’s important that people know that you can do both. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

The Mesa, Ariz., native is pursuing an advanced practice degree in the pediatrics specialty.

Although her first-year nursing courses required a bit of rearranging to accommodate her basketball schedule, her adviser, Terry Witherington, M.S.N., was more than willing to do that.

“She is an exceptional candidate, and we didn't want to lose her. We worked hard to make this work,” Witherington said.