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SEMO athletes set record for academics

Friday, July 27, 2012

CAPE GIRARDEAU - The Ohio Valley Conference handed out its academic awards for the 2011-12 school year Thursday. A school record 137 Southeast Missouri student-athletes were honored.

Of Southeast's 137 individuals, 18 were presented with the OVC Medal of Honor, reserved for those who achieve the highest grade point average in a Conference-sponsored sport.

"I want to thank our coaches, student-athletes and support staff for all their hard work and commitment to academic excellence," said Southeast Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt. "We are extremely proud of our academic success, and at Southeast, we truly define what it means to be a student-athlete."

The Redhawks Medal of Honor winners included Jason Blum (baseball), Kody Campbell (baseball), Nick Niemczyk (men's basketball), Anna Steffel (women's basketball), Joel Krause (men's cross country, track & field), Alex Zisser (men's cross country, track & field), Brian Grote (men's track & field), Rebekah Lawson (women's cross country, track & field), Gloria Westlake (women's cross country, track & field), Erica Grajales (women's track & field), Nikki Edwards (women's soccer), Amy Ward (women's soccer), Taylor Cowan (softball), Renee Kertz (softball), Lindsey Patterson (softball), Paige Dossey (volleyball), Samantha Lowman (volleyball) and Meredith Stranges (volleyball). Seventeen of the 18 recipients accumulated a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Additionally, Southeast had the most OVC Medal of Honor award-winners among league schools in volleyball (3) and men's track & field (3). The 18 Medals of Honor are the most Southeast has had since 2005 (22).

Southeast also added one OVC Team Academic Achievement Award. This honor is presented annually in each Conference-sponsored sport to the member institution's team with the greatest percentage of its eligible student-athletes who achieved a 3.25 GPA or higher. The Redhawks women's cross country team garnered the accolade.

The OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll selections included 16 individuals from men's track & field, 15 from both women's soccer and women's track & field, 14 from baseball, 13 from women's cross country, 12 from volleyball, 11 from football, softball and women's gymnastics (non-OVC sport), eight from men's cross country, five from women's tennis and three each from men's and women's basketball.

Morehead State was awarded the 2011-12 OVC Institutional Academic Achievement Award for an OVC record 12th time.

It was also announced that a record 176 OVC student-athletes received the Medal of Honor for the 2011-12 season. The 176 honorees are the most in the history of the award, surpassing the record of 164 last year. It also marks the eighth year in a row where there have been over 100 winners. All but one of the Medal of Honor recipients carried a 4.0 GPA.

In all, 1,064 student-athletes were named to the 2011-12 OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll, also setting a new record. The 1,064 student-athletes surpassed the old record of 1,044 set in each of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. To be listed, recipients must have achieved at least a 3.25 grade point average and have been eligible and on the team throughout the competitive season in their chosen NCAA-sponsored sport(s) and used a season of competition. Those numbers included 25 student-athletes who compete in non-OVC championship sports that do not compete in another conference (i.e. Southeast Missouri gymnastics, UT Martin equestrian and Eastern Illinois rugby) and 94 student-athletes who were recipients in multiple sports (and counted just once in the final total).