St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 7, 2017 – Deko Ricketts, a 2017 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, was selected as a 2018 Today's Top 10 Award winner as announced by the NCAA.
The award recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. All 10 winners of the 2018 award will be recognized in January at the Honors Celebration during the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis.
Ricketts was one of two honorees selected from WashU, as fellow graduate Lizzy Crist of the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Champions also earned the selection.
Crist and Ricketts increase the WashU all-time total to six joining previous winners Amy Albers (1995, volleyball), Alia Fisher (2001, women's basketball), Elizabeth Phillips (2013, women's cross country/track) and Lucy Cheadle (2016, women's cross country/track).
"Deko's goal as an athlete was to be a national champion. His goal as a student was to revolutionize the solar industry. His goal as a captain was to know everyone on the team in a personal way," summarized WashU head track & field coach Jeff Stiles. "He is incapable of being involved in a community or program without figuring out how to revitalize it to new heights. Words fail to express what he has meant to our program and the institution as a whole, he is a young man that I think of like a son and I am a better coach and person for having had him in my life."
A three-time individual NCAA Division III Champion and five-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-American, Ricketts led the Bears' indoor track & field team to three University Athletic Association (UAA) titles and the outdoor team to two conference championships. He was also a key contributor in a ninth place NCAA DIII Championship finish for the 2016 indoor team and 2017 outdoor team.
Ricketts captured individual national titles in both the indoor and outdoor 800m, first winning the indoor title in the winter of 2017 with a time of 1:51.07 before capping off his senior campaign with the outdoor title in the spring of 2017 in a photo finish time of 1:51.30. He was a member of Division III's 2016 National Championship distance medley relay winning team that finished in 10:00.25, which also consisted of Mike Sullivan, Alex Bastian and Josh Clark.
The Kansas City, Mo.-native is also the school record holder in the 800m with a 1:50.59 time during indoors at the Hoosier Hills Invite on February 12, 2016 as well as the 800m during outdoor season with a time of 1:49.61 at the WashU Invite on April 1, 2017.
In 2016, Ricketts was named the UAA Outdoor Most Outstanding Performer in Running Events. In his career he won four individual conference titles for indoor track and four additional titles for outdoor track.
In 2017, Ricketts was named the USTFCCCA Scholar Athlete of the Year for both indoor and outdoor seasons. In addition, he was awarded First Team Academic All-America honors by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) after earning second team honors in 2016. He is also a four-time USTFCCCA All-Academic team member and two-time UAA Presidents Council Scholar-Athlete.
Rickets graduated in 2017 with a 3.72 GPA in electrical engineering and was awarded the Professional Achievement Award from the electrical and systems engineering department, in addition to the 2014 Robert N. Varney Physics Award.
During his senior year at WashU, Ricketts invented a remotely operated uncoupling system during a senior design project and served as a project leader for a wireless charging engineering project. He also worked on an endotracheal tube redesign business project and a the See3 LLC 3-D hologram engineering project. He was also awarded the 2016-17 W Club Distinguished Athlete of the Year.
Complete list of Top-10 recipients:
• Kasey Cooper, Auburn softball
• Marie Coors, Saint Leo golf
• Lizzy Crist, WashU soccer
• Danielle Galyer, Kentucky swimming
• Riley Hanson, Concordia St. Paul volleyball
• Sarah Gibson, Texas A&M swimming
• Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Virginia tennis
• Amy Regan, Stevens Institute of Technology track and field
• Deko Ricketts, WashU track and field
• Maggie Steffens, Stanford water polo