April 16, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Track & field/cross country runner Chelsea Knotts, who was presented The Torchbearer Award last Monday night at the UT Chancellor's Honors Banquet, threw out the first pitch Sunday afternoon at the UT-LSU softball game at Lee Stadium.
The senior was recognized for her accomplishments, received an ovation from the record crowd of 1,845 and delivered the ball on target to the awaiting mitt of Hannah Akamine.
Knotts became the 24th athlete in University of Tennessee history, the fourth Lady Vol and third track & field athlete ever to earn The Torchbearer Award. According to the Chancellor's Honors website, The Torchbearer is the highest student honor conferred by the University of Tennessee. It is awarded for academic achievement and outstanding commitment to others as demonstrated by the student's various activities and significant contributions to the university and the community. Torchbearers are seniors who have served their Alma Mater with overall excellence.
Students chosen for this award embody the Volunteer spirit, displaying initiative and service in the best interest of both the university and their fellow student. Recognition as a Torchbearer reminds all students that those who bear the Torch of Enlightenment shadow themselves to give light to others.
Knotts, a native of Ripley, W.Va., is finishing her degree in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and owns a 3.89 grade point average. She is a member of the inaugural Haslam Scholars Program, the sole endorsed candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship and a Robert C. Byrd and National Merit Scholarship recipient. A four-year member of UT's cross country and track & field teams, she has made the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times.
Perhaps most noteworthy is her leadership of the recent Haslam Scholars Program's community service project. Knotts led hundreds of UT students in an effort to raise funds to end chronic homelessness, particularly in the Fort Sanders neighborhood. She began a running group for homeless men and women, organized a 5K benefit run, and regularly befriends people who are without shelter and stability. She possesses a level of empathy and determination rarely seen.