The Great West Conference announced its Winter/Spring Academic All-Conference honorees Wednesday, and 21 Seattle University student-athletes in the sports of women's tennis and men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field were included among the recognized honorees.
Two Seattle U student-athletes were part of the 16 women's tennis players honored by the conference. Recent graduate Katrina Schwab (Spokane, Wash.), the 2011-12 Seattle U Athletics Female Student-Athlete of the Year, earned Academic All-GWC honors for the second straight year, while Corinne Wurden (Poulsbo, Wash.) picked up her first conference academic award after completing a solid sophomore campaign.
The men's track and field team was represented by nine honorees, led by third-time award winners Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) and Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.). Juniors Ryan Dennison (Pacifica, Calif.) and Kelton Sears (Maple Valley, Wash.) received Winter/Spring Academic All-Great West recognition for the second straight year, while sophomores Jeff Baklund (Auburn, Wash.), Samuel Engle (Portland, Ore.), Graham Kinzel-Grubbs (Portland, Ore.), Kevin Kopetz (Derry, N.H.), and Duncan MacKay (Renton, Wash.) were first-time honorees.
From the women's track and field squad, 10 student-athletes were included, including Sarah Bolce (Sacramento, Calif.) and Elena Collins (Eugene, Ore.) for the third straight year. Fellow graduate Ariel Johnson (Moscow, Idaho) picked up her second academic honor in as many years, as did juniors Meeghan Bergmann (Portland, Ore.), the athletic department's Mission Award recipient, and Amanda Luna (Beavercreek, Ore.). First-year honorees include Sara Blakely (Spokane, Wash.), Rosalyn DiLillo (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.), Bethany Richards (Shoreline, Wash.), and Katie Tougas (Edmonds, Wash.).
In all, 228 Great West Conference athletes were named to the team based on a minimum cumulative 3.2 grade point average. The athletes also must have participated in at least 50 percent of their respective team's contests. First-year students and JC transfers in their first year of residence are not eligible for the award.
"Collegiate athletes face a big challenge to find the balance between athletics and academics," said GWC Commissioner Ed Grom. "The Great West has a high percentage of student-athletes who have found that balance, and as our competitiveness against Division I institutions has increased, so has the commitment to academics. I congratulate all our academic all-conference honorees as they each have displayed the focus and commitment it takes to be successful."
Seattle University was an affiliate member of the Great West Conference in track and field and cross country for three years and in women's tennis for two years. Those programs will be part of the Redhawk athletic department's move to the Western Athletic Conference July 1.