Brains and Brawn: Student-athletes recognized for Academic Merits

Published: March 31, 2011 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Southern Utah University took time to honor the academic achievements of its 17 NCAA Division-I athletic teams in the annual Thunderbird Scholar Award Banquet. Awards were given for T-Bird Scholars, Top T-Birds, highest team GPA and the top Male and Female Scholar of the year.

A total of 99 student-athletes were honored as T-Bird Scholars, carrying a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better through the 2010 fall semester.

Women's track and field/cross country led the way with 21 honorees and were followed by gymnastics with 12, men's track and field/cross country and football with 11, baseball with nine, volleyball and softball with seven, soccer with six, men's basketball with four, men's and women's golf and women's basketball with three and women's tennis with two.

The Top T-Bird Award was given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA on each given sport. The following were honored with the award:

Caitlin Kennedy, gymnastics
Michelle Judd, soccer
Sami Parry, softball
Kirrily Burden, tennis
Eric Sandall, men's track
Whitney Curtis, women's track
Caitlin Jensen, volleyball
Micah Keeno, baseball
Jadie Parsons, women's basketball
Zach Olsen, football
Jamie Coking, women's golf
Jeff Evans, men's golf
Jake Nielson, men's basketball

The Highest Team GPA award went to the women's gymnastics team for the third consecutive year; the team carried a 3.61 cumulative GPA. Women's cross country finished just behind with a 3.53 cumulative GPA.

The final award of the afternoon was the Top Male and Female Scholar Award which is given to the student-athlete who carries the highest GPA and is at least a junior in academic standing. This year's recipients included Zach Olsen of the football team, Caitlin Jensen of the volleyball team and Caitlin Kennedy of the gymnastics team. Both Kennedy and Jensen carry a perfect 4.0 in physical education and biology, respectively, with Olsen carrying a 3.95 in accounting.

In all during the 2010 academic year, Southern Utah had 371 student-athletes on record with an average cumulative GPA of 3.12 among the group. More than 61 percent of the total body of student-athletes carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better with 137 of those carrying a cumulative GPA of a 3.5 or better.

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