VALDOSTA — Khaleh Thomas, a power forward for Valdosta State’s women’s basketball team, earned one of the Gulf South Conference’s highest honors Friday.

Thomas, a junior from Brunswick, was named to the league’s “Top Ten” list, which honors the top 10 student-athletes in the conference in terms of athletic performance, academic achievement and extracurricular activities.

Thomas was one of six women to earn the “Top Ten” recognition this year, joining North Alabama’s Laura Bellinger, Southern Arkansas’ Whitney Brannon, Alabama-Huntsville’s Jenny Hess, Arkansas-Monticello’s Sarah Reed and West Florida’s Lindsay Nemanich, who was named the conference’s top female student-athlete, on the list. Four men also made the list, including Delta State’s Scott Eyster, who was named the GSC’s top male student-athlete, Ouachita Baptist’s Keith Barrett, Harding’s Matt Hall and Southern Arkansas’ Skyler Stromsmoe. Thomas was the only underclassmen to make the list.

“Being named to the Gulf South Conference Top Ten is a tremendous honor,” said Valdosta State athletic director Herb Reinhard. “There are a number of outstanding student-athletes in the GSC, and for Khaleh to be recognized for the job she is doing both on and off the court is something we are very proud of in the athletic department.”

Thomas averaged 7.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season while helping the Blazers to a 24-7 record and the GSC East Division title. She has maintained a 4.00 grade point average in Chemistry during her three years at Valdosta State, and was named first-team ESPN the Magazine All-Academic for the 2006-07 season.

Thomas has also participated in a number of community service projects over the last three seasons. Those projects have included a clean-up project at The Haven (the battered women’s shelter in Valdosta), reading and talking with patients at United Hospice of Lowndes County, volunteering as a coach at the Valdosta Boys and Girls Club, working at the Lowndes County Humane Society and boxing food for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Project.

“Khaleh is a tremendous representative for our women’s basketball team, our athletic department and our university as a whole,” concluded Reinhard. “Her record speaks for itself in all aspects as to her character.”

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