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April 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM

UW’s Hau’oli Kikaha a finalist for Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award

Hau'oli Kikaha searches through reference material for the background of islander symbols during an independent study class he and two other Husky football players are taking at the Burke Museum. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Hau’oli Kikaha searches through reference material for the background of islander symbols during an independent study class he and two other Husky football players are taking at the Burke Museum. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Washington defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha is one of 16 national finalists for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award for minorities.

More than 600 student-athletes were nominated. The winners are to be announced Thursday.

Kikaha has a 3.53 GPA in American Ethnic Studies. The Huskies’ defensive MVP in 2013 — after missing most of the previous two seasons with two torn ACLs — Kikaha was a first-team all-Pac-12 academic selection and a second-team all-Pac-12 pick after posting 13 sacks, the second-highest sack total in a single season in UW history.

The award was established by Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, in 1992 to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr. To be included, athletes have to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 and be “active on their campuses or in their communities,” according to a press release.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson won the award in 2011.

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