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University of Evansville Wins Second-Straight MVC All-Academic Award

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In a total team effort comprised of the 13 sports in the Missouri Valley Conference, the University of Evansville finished the 2012-13 academic year with a cumulative GPA of 3.283 en route to its second MVC All-Academic Award in a row.

The award is given to the institution that finishes with the highest grade point average among its student-athletes that participate in the Valley.  Evansville received the award at its annual academic breakfast on Wednesday morning.

“Winning the MVC All-Academic Award for two consecutive years underscores just how much UE is committed to the intellectual growth of its student-athletes,” University of Evansville President Thomas Kazee said.  “We compete at the highest intercollegiate level, to be sure, but even more fundamentally we challenge our student-athletes to succeed as students.  We know that this growth will serve them in remarkable ways in their lives after graduation.”

Those 13 sports and 213 student-athletes got the job done in the classroom to the tune of a 3.283 GPA.  A few amazing stats come out of the work done by the Purple Aces.  The first is that the spring of 2013 saw 80.2% (171/213) of the s/a’s at UE amass a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Secondly, 46.9% (100/213) accumulated a GPA of 3.5 or higher over that same timeframe.

“This was an impressive event to see,” Missouri Valley Conference Associate Commissioner Mike Kern said.  “The MVC All-Academic Award is in its 11th year and we have had 5 different schools earn the award.  Evansville’s performance is very impressive.”

“We give out a lot of awards from All-Conference, Scholar Athlete of the Week and many more, but this is the most important when it comes to what you do after you graduate.”

While those numbers are impressive on their own, here is another – 7.5% of the student-athletes at UE finished the spring with a perfect 4.0.  Evansville had 130 student-athletes make the dean’s list in at least one semester last year while 54 did so in both.

“What is important is to have success when we are competing on the field and in the classroom and we are doing great in that regard,” UE Athletics Director John Stanley said.  “When we have 80% of our student body making grades of 3.0 or above, it is hard work and I am very proud of what our student-athletes have been able to do in earning this award for the second year in a row.”

This effort by the Aces was a total team effort that saw several programs and individuals recognized for their work in the classroom.  For the 18th season in a row, women’s tennis was recognized by the ITA with the All-Academic Team Award.  To qualify, the team must finish with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 on a 4.0 scale.

“We are extremely proud to have achieved the MVC Academic Excellence Award for a second year in a row,” Sarah Solinsky (Senior Associate AD, oversees academic and student services for the department.  “As great of a league the Valley is athletically, it is an even better conference in respect to academics.  This award is shared with our faculty, academic support services and coaches who are vital to the student-athlete experience.”

Cross country earned accolades for both genders as both garnered USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors.  To qualify, the team must finish with a GPA of 3.25 or above and the women were far ahead of that, finishing with a 3.525 to earn the honor for the 16th time overall and 13th season in a row while posting the top GPA in the MVC.  The men were recognized for the seventh time and for the sixth in the last eight campaigns.

With a cumulative GPA of 3.491, the Aces volleyball team was honored by the AVCA for the ninth time in ten years.  Teams are eligible by compiling a team GPA of 3.30 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Former basketball player Colt Ryan was honored by the league in March as its Scholar Athlete of the Year.  It marked the second-consecutive time Ryan received the honor, making him just the third player to do so in the sport since the inception of the award.

Also in March, Chelsea Falkenstein and Taylor Ware were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team and contributed to a team that finished with a 3.411 GPA, 19th in the country.  For those efforts, the squad was named to the WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll.

Quinn Vilneff, who has a 3.941 GPA, received the Elite 18 Award at the MVC Championship in the spring. The award is given to the s/a with the top GPA in the top 18 finishers of the tournament.  Vilneff took sixth place to become just the second UE recipient of the award.  He also was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team and a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar.  As a team, the men earned the GCAA Team Academic Award for the fourth time in five years.

In swimming and diving, the ladies led the way with a 3.53 GPA, which was 11th in all of D1.  They earned NCAA All-Academic Team honors from the College Swim Coaches Association of America.  Mackenzie Powell tallied a GPA of 3.96 to top the squad and be named to the 12-person MVC Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete Team.  Joining her were Melissa Ball, Jill Enge, Abigail Yenzer and Jordan Van Wyk.

While the men’s swimming and diving team does not participate in the Valley, their contributions do not go unnoticed.  Kyle Tiemann was named to the Academic All-MAC Team while the full team joined the women as an NCAA All-Academic Team with a 3.15 GPA.

Baseball sophomore Kevin Kaczmarski was selected to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team on the strength of his 3.31 GPA as an exercise science major.  He was one of 12 players named to the team.

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