April 10, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas – Rare is the occasion to celebrate study hall, but Monday night provided the appropriate one.
University of Texas student-athletes must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA in the Fall or Spring 2011 semesters to be invited to the Academic Awards Presentation, and 319 garnered reserved seats on the floor of the Frank Erwin Center for the annual program.
"We all know this is a very fast-moving group, rarely do we stop for just a minute and exhale and look at all they accomplished,” said Dr. Randa Ryan, senior associate athletics director for student services. “Important among those accomplishments are academic successes, and we want the students to take time to acknowledge their work. We owe it to them to reward their accomplishments."
The overall GPA for student-athletes in Spring 2011 was a 3.0, and in the 2010-11 academic year, 15 of UT’s 20 sports teams earned a team GPA of 3.0 or higher.
In addition, 67 student-athletes were honored for making a 4.0 – or "all-A’s" – in the fall or spring.
"It means a lot, because after college if sports don’t happen, this is what you’re leaning on," Volleyball All-American Rachael Adams said. "I take a lot of pride in my major and where I’m getting my degree from."
Ryan wanted viewpoints like Adams’ to permeate the program, and Ryan called upon two senior leaders to serve as the program’s featured speakers in Karlee Bispo of Women’s Swimming and Diving and Football’s Fozzy Whittaker.
Bispo, an 18-time All-American and UT record holder in six events, credited time management for her accomplishments outside the pool.
"It’s very challenging, and it’s taken me almost four years to master," said Bispo, who also received the V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Academic Excellence Award. "You have to put in a lot of hard work and dedication to be a student-athlete, but the rewards are worth it. I have grown so much during my time at Texas."
Whittaker, a senior running back who will receive his master’s degree in kinesiology in May, was prominent in the student-athletes’ combined 3,287 hours of community service. He said that stepping into a leadership role is an important development during the college journey.
"It is rewarding to be a role model and serve as a mentor for others," Whittaker said.
Pitcher Austin Dicharry received the Academic Excellence & Spirit Award with a 3.54 GPA as an advertising senior, and he credited his academic success at UT to his parents.
"My parents just instilled a great dedication to academics. I was in the top 10 (percent) in high school, and I came here wanting to maintain that family tradition,” Dicharry said.
“The biggest thing is using time management to your advantage. I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights and long study hours. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s important to keep your grades a priority."
But even on a night reserved to honor academics, competition still managed to grab some of the spotlight. The teams who touted the highest cumulative GPA in Spring and Fall 2011 were able to express bragging rights with a "My Team has the Highest GPA" T-Shirt.
Baseball and Women’s Track and Field claimed the honor for last spring, while Women’s Golf and Men’s Tennis earned the shirts in the fall.
"Everybody forgets that there’s such another side to our student-athletes, and it really is all about the personal development," Women’s Athletics Director Chris Plonsky said. "It’s difficult to do when you think how extended their schedules are already."
ACADEMICS AWARDS PRESENTATION
Lan Hewlett Academic MVP award
Women’s Basketball: Yvonne Anderson
Women’s Cross Country: Anne Jones
Women’s Track: Julie Amthor
Women’s Field: Akua Sencherey
Women’s Golf: Desiree Dubreuil
Rowing: Katherine Tong
Soccer: Kylie Doniak
Softball: Lexy Bennett
Women’s Swimming and Diving: Kierstin Thornhill
Women’s Tennis: Carlene Leyden
Volleyball: Bailey Webster
Baseball: Austin Dicharry, Patrick Marsh
Men’s Basketball: Andrew Dick
Men’s Cross Country: Austin Roth
Men’s Track: Alex Williams
Men’s Field: Kenny Greaves
Football: Emmanuel Acho
Men’s Golf: Dylan Frittelli
Men’s Swimming and Diving: Will McCraney
Men’s Tennis: Chris Camillone
Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award
Austin Dicharry, J’Covan Brown, Yvonne Anderson, Ashleigh Fontenette, Vanessa Ibewuike, Stacey-Ann Smith, Gabby Zarnegar, Emmanuel Acho, Christian Randolph, Fozzy Whittaker, Dylan Frittelli, Ben Chen, Sudanwa Sitaram, Carlene Leyden, Marquise Goodwin, Julie Amthor, Shanay Briscoe, Danielle Dowie, Chalonda Goodman, Marielle Hall, Laleh Mojtabaeezamani, Briana Nelson, Okwe Okolie, Beverly Owoyele, Akua Sencherey, Felicia Izaguirre-Werner, Katarina Susac, Anna Thomson, Tea Vrtlar, Ashley Bannister, Sarah Palmer, Bailey Webster
AWARDS OF HIGHEST HONOR
Lorene L. Rogers Scholar-Athlete Award
Julie Amthor, Women’s Track and Field
Michael Cruciani, Football
IAM Council Achievement Award
Isaac Murphy, Men’s Track and Field
Janet Hauber Academic Excellence Award
Victoria Lucas, Women’s Track and Field
Katie Riefenstahl, Women’s Swimming and Diving
Academic Excellence & Spirit Award
Austin Dicharry, Baseball
V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Academic Excellence Award
Karlee Bispo, Women’s Swimming and Diving
Big 12 Community Champion
Nadia Taylor, Softball
Drew Livingston, Men’s Swimming and Diving
Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
Rachael Adams, Volleyball
Dylan Frittelli, Men’s Golf
Dorothy L. Smith Community Service Award
Shelby Cullinan, Women’s Swimming and Diving
Chalonda Goodman, Women’s Track and Field
Patrick Marsh, Baseball
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Leadership Award
Felicia Izaguirre-Werner, Rowing
Adam Wennerstrom, Men’s Golf
Fozzy Whittaker, Football
Academic Leadership Award
Yvonne Anderson, Women’s Basketball
Kenny Greaves, Men’s Track and Field
Highest Team GPA
Women’s Track and Field