NU seniors Marks, McDowell, Ramirez earn Albert Ali Award |

NU seniors Marks, McDowell, Ramirez earn Albert Ali Award

Olivia McDowell
Submitted photo by Alex McDowell |

At the Nevada Union scholarship award night, three outstanding senior student-athletes were recognized for their hard work, determination, character and academic prowess by being named the 2013 Albert Ali Award winners.

Volleyball and football player Austin Marks was this year’s male recipient after stellar seasons in both sports.

“I’ve had a really good senior year,” Marks said. “Playing under the lights on Fridays was amazing; the volleyball season was great; getting a scholarship to play at Stetson was amazing and then to get honored like this — its just been amazing.”

Ski team member and soccer player Julia Ramirez, along with ski team member and volleyball player Olivia McDowell, shared the honor on the women’s side.

“I had no idea,” Ramirez said when she heard she was the recipient. “I was shell-shocked. I was also really happy to be able to share it with Olivia. We’ve known each other since the cradle.”

Marks said he was also surprised when he heard his name announced and is humbled by the honor.

“It’s basically everything I’ve worked for,” he said. “It’s a really big honor, and I’m very excited and feel blessed to receive it.”

Albert Ali Award winners are multisport seniors chosen through nominations from coaches, based on the student-athletes’ characters and academics, NU athletic director Steve Pilcher said in an email.

McDowell, who boasts a 3.97 GPA, said receiving the award is an honor made even more special by sharing it with lifelong friend Ramirez.

McDowell and Ramirez impressed this season on the slopes, advancing to the state championships in alpine skiing. McDowell was an important cog on the volleyball team while Ramirez was a standout on the soccer team.

McDowell will be attending the University of California, Davis after graduating from NU and plans to study chemistry. She said she will look to join the UC Davis club ski team, and one of its members is her sister, Marnie McDowell.

Ramirez is headed to UC San Diego and will be a pre-med major with a spanish minor. Ramirez said she, too, will look to ski on a college club team and will continue her soccer at an intramural level.

Marks, who will be playing tight end for Stetson University in Florida, said he will miss playing with his Miner team under the bright Friday night lights the most.

Fortunately for Marks, Stetson’s first three games of next season are night games.

Marks said he will study integrated health sciences and hopes to one day be a doctor.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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