UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State student-athletes have raised the bar again, as a school record 261 Nittany Lions earned Academic All-Big Ten honors during the 2007-08 academic year.
The previous record was 253 honorees during 2004-05 and there were 245 Penn State selections in 2006-07, which is now tied for the third-highest total in school history.
Over the 14 years of the Academic All-Big Ten program, Penn State continues to lead all conference schools with 3,059 selections. Ohio State is second with 2,916.
Among Penn State's 13 spring and at-large sports, 126 student-athletes were honored, second-highest to Ohio State's 134 honorees for 20 spring and at-large sports. For 2007-08, the Buckeyes led the conference with 266 academic all-conference honorees (35 sports), to edge Penn State's 261 honorees (29 sports). Minnesota was third with 226 honorees in 2007-08.
Penn State earned the highest number of Academic All-Big Ten honorees in the following spring and at-large sports: men's fencing (12), women's fencing (13), men's golf (6), women's lacrosse (16), softball (10), men's tennis (7) and women's tennis (6).
Penn State's academic all-conference award winners also achieved excellence outside of the classroom. Baseball's junior closer, Drew O'Neil, was a force all season and picked up his second First Team All-Big Ten selection. Junior softball centerfielder Danielle Kinley led the team in almost all major offensive categories and was an Academic All-District selection. Men's golf senior Robert Rohanna led the squad to a NCAA Championship berth with a 1-under par in the final round of the NCAA Central Regional. Women's golf senior Christin Pacacha led the Nittany Lions at the Big Ten Championships.
Men's tennis senior Michael James was honored with his second-straight All-Big Ten selection while women's tennis junior Leyla Morzan was selected to represent the Nittany Lions at the NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Leadership Conference. Women's track and field junior Aleesha Barber helped the squad capture its first Big Ten Outdoor Championship. Men's track and field junior Clarence Smith captured a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships.
Fencing senior Arthur Urman finished as the 2008 National Championship runner-up in the eppe to help lead his team to a fourth place finish. Men's lacrosse junior Mike Toner had two goals and two assists throughout the 2008 season. Women's fencing sophomore Anastasia Ferdman finished the season with a team best 33-7 record in eppe. Women's lacrosse co-captains Jessi Lieb and Kerry Shea were both named to the 2008 IWLCA All-West/Midwest Region team.
The Big Ten recognized a total of 961 spring and at-large sport student-athletes, bringing the cumulative 2007-08 figure to a conference record 2,094 for 2007-08. The previous mark was 2,019 in 2006-07. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
For the complete list of Penn State's spring and at-large Academic All-Big Ten honorees, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.