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Pitt’s Brian O’Neill, Nika Markovic Nominated as ACC Athletes of the Year

Pitt’s Brian O’Neill, Nika Markovic Nominated as ACC Athletes of the Year

Football player Brian O’Neill and volleyball player Nika Markovic will represent Pitt on the ballot for the 2017-18 Anthony J. McKelvin and Mary Garber Awards, given to the top male and female athlete in the ACC each year.

O’Neill started all 12 games at left tackle for the Panthers in 2017 and was named a first-team all-ACC selection by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press. Following his redshirt junior season, O’Neill elected to enter the NFL Draft and was selected with the 62nd pick in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings

He also caught one pass for 10 yards last season. O’Neill won the Piesman Trophy for his “unlinemanlike” performance in 2017, when he scored two touchdowns.

Brian O’Neil with a hammer September 9, 2017 — David Hague

Markovec, a rising junior right side hitter, was a crucial part of the 2017 Panthers squad won their first ACC title after an 18-2 regular-season record.

The Braslovce, Slovenia native led Pitt with 509 points and 426 kills. During Pitt’s win over VCU in the NCAA Tournament, Markovec had a match-high 17 kills, 13 digs, four blocks and four assists.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Boston College hockey and lacrosse player Kenzie Kent won the awards. No Pitt player has won an ACC athlete of the year award since the Panthers joined the conference in 2014.

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