Penn State Student-Athletes Earn Record 73 Distinguished Scholar Awards for 2013-14

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Aug. 1, 2014 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -

A school record 73 Penn State student-athletes have received Distinguished Scholar Awards for the 2013-14 season. This year's total betters last year's record number of 68.

The Big Ten Conference earlier this month announced that a total of 683 student-athletes earned the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. The list includes student-athletes from every institution and 37 different sports, who have recorded a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year. Twenty-nine sports were represented among the Nittany Lions' honorees, led by women's track and field (12), women's swimming and diving (8) and field hockey (8).

Thirteen of Penn State's Distinguished Scholar Award recipients earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year:

Kevin Montminy, men's basketball; Rachel Casciano, women's cross country/track and field; Emily Giannotti, women's cross country/track and field; Kathleen Rodden, women's cross country/track and field; Megan Boyer, women's track and field; Rebecca Stanley, women's fencing; Laura Gebhart, field hockey; Shane Stewart, men's golf; Lindsay Musgrove, women's gymnastics; Max Gardiner, men's ice hockey; Lindsay Reihl, women's ice hockey; Gabrielle Shishkoff, women's swimming and diving; James English, wrestling.

Also among Penn State's Distinguished Scholars were members of Penn State's three NCAA national championship teams: wrestling (3), women's volleyball (2) and men's and women's fencing (1 man, 1 woman, 2 total). Penn State garnered the second-most awards among the conference's 12 schools with 73, with Ohio State leading the way with 88.

The record number of Distinguished Scholars in 2013-14 continues the steady increase in the number of Penn State student-athletes earning a 3.7 GPA or higher since the 2010-11 academic year:

Year Distinguished Scholars
2013-14: 73
2012-13: 68
2011-12: 51
2010-11: 45

The 2013-14 class of Distinguished Scholar Award recipients includes 101 student-athletes who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA during the previous academic term. This group of honorees is pursuing diverse fields of study with a list of majors that include art, business, chemistry, economics, engineering, journalism, mathematics and many others. Big Ten Faculty Representatives established the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2008 to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program.

Similar to the Academic All-Big Ten honor, Distinguished Scholar Award recipients must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution. However, the Distinguished Scholar Award encompasses only student-athletes with a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year, excluding summer school. The Academic All-Big Ten threshold is a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for a student-athlete's academic career.

Penn State student-athletes, who captured a 16 Big Ten Championships and four NCAA titles the past two years, have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. A sampling of recent academic accomplishments includes:

- A school record 136 Penn State student-athletes have been honored as Academic All-Big Ten selections in the conference's Spring/At-Large announcement. The third and final yearly announcement brings Penn State's total to 285. The record total of 136 for the Spring/At-Large period breaks the record of 132 set last year and was second highest in the Big Ten this spring. The seasonal total of 285 for the 2013-14 academic season is second all-time at Penn State (the record is 296, set last year. This year's tally is well ahead of the third place total of 261 from 2007-08. The 285 total was third highest in the Big Ten this year.

- A school record 65 Penn State student-athletes from eight winter teams earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. The previous mark for the winter sports season was 64 honorees, set in 2013. The 65 winter honorees brought Penn State's 2013-14 total to 149 (from 15 total sports).

- A record total of 387 awards were presented to Penn State student-athletes at the 27th Annual SAAB Academic Achievement Awards Banquet on April 15. The figure topped last year's record of 356;

- A school record 468 Penn State student-athletes earned a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2013 fall semester, with 197 earning Dean's List recognition;

- A total of 84 Penn State student-athletes from seven fall sports earned 2013 Academic All-Big Ten accolades, the Nittany Lions' second-highest total in their 21 years in the Big Ten;

- The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide in October, 2013 revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to an 81 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2003-04 through 2006-07;

- NCAA data last October also showed the four-year federal graduation rate average for Penn State student-athletes was 78 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 65 percent, and tied for second among Big Ten Conference institutions;

- Penn State's Katie Slay (women's volleyball) and John Urschel (football) earned first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last fall, with Slay being selected the Academic All-American of the Year for women's volleyball. Penn State has had 184 all-time honorees, the third-highest total among Division I institutions, with 38 Academic All-Americans honorees the past six years.

Penn State's 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award recipients:

Name Sport Year Major Hometown Samuel August Baseball Sr. English Needham, Mass.
Alexander Malinsky Baseball So. Business Administration Apex, N.C.
Mike Wilcox Baseball So. Communications Pittsburgh, Pa.
Kevin Montminy Men's Basketball Jr. Finance Centre Hall, Pa.
Conrad Lippert Men's Cross Country So. Division Of Undergraduate Studies Middletown, N.J.
Robert Creese Men's Cross Country, Track & Field Jr. Mathematics Mount Airy, Md.
Matthew Fischer Men's Cross Country, Track & Field Sr. Marketing Kennett Square, Pa.
Nicholas Scarpello Men's Cross Country, Track & Field Sr. Advertising/Public Relations Jamison, Pa.
Leigha Anderson Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Jr. Labor Studies and Employment Relations Carlisle, Pa.
Rachel Casciano Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Jr. Advertising/Public Relations Wyomissing, Pa.
Gabrielle Cocco Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Sr. Journalism Allentown, Pa.
Emily Giannotti Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Gr. Counselor Education Coudersport, Pa.
Marta Klebe Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Sr. Supply Chain and Information Systems Chesterbrook, Pa.
Danielle Kocjancic Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Sr. Communication Sciences and Disorders Kane, Pa.
Kathleen Rodden Women's Cross Country, Track & Field Jr. Kinesiology Ardmore, Pa.
Sarah Underwood Women's Cross Country, Track & Field So. Division Of Undergraduate Studies Alexandria, Va.
David Gomez Tanamachi Men's Fencing Jr. Finance Mexico City, Mexico
Rebecca Stanley Women's Fencing So. Liberal Arts Willix, Texas
Katilynn Breneman Field Hockey Jr. Recreation, Park and Tourism Management Washington Boro, Pa.
Natalie Buttinger Field Hockey Sr. Advertising/Public Relations Kitchener, Ontario
Amanda Dinunzio Field Hockey Jr. Spanish State College, Pa.
Abby Fuhrman Field Hockey Sr. Recreation, Park and Tourism Management Bainbridge, Pa.
Laura Gebhart Field Hockey Jr. Community, Environment and Development Mount Joy, Pa.
Jacqueline Kenney Sr. Advertising/Public Relations State College, Pa.
Haley Kerstetter Field Hockey So. Communications Selinsgrove, Pa.
Whitney Reddig Field Hockey Sr. Rehabilitation and Human Services Lititz, Pa.
Kyle Baublitz Football Sr. Secondary Education York, Pa.
Matthew Lehman Football Gr. Educational Leadership Newport, Pa.
James Dornes Men's Golf So. Business Administration Lancaster, Pa.
Christopher Houston Men's Golf So. Business Administration Gilford, N.H.
Shane Stewart Men's Golf Sr. Finance Dublin, Ohio
Ryan Worthy Men's Golf Jr. Journalism Chester Springs, Pa.
Ellen Ceresko Women's Golf Sr. Marketing Jefferson Township, Pa.
Grace Chung Women's Golf So. Division Of Undergraduate Studies Richmond Hill, Ontario
Adrian Evans Men's Gymnastics Sr. Advertising/Public Relations Boulder, Colo.
Lindsay Musgrove Women's Gymnastics Sr. Biobehavioral Health League City, Texas
Savannah Soares Women's Gymnastics So. Education Providence, R.I.
Max Gardiner Men's Ice Hockey Sr. Economics Deephaven, Minn.
Jonathan Milley Men's Ice Hockey So. Education Gatineau, Quebec
Lindsay Reihl Women's Ice Hockey Sr. Psychology Cheshire, Conn.
Sarah Wilkie Women's Ice Hockey So. Health Policy and Administration Ashby, Mass.
Taylor Sanders Men's Lacrosse So. Division Of Undergraduate Studies Orillia, Ontario
Kyle Zittel Men's Lacrosse Jr. Science Eden, N.Y.
Tatum Coffey Women's Lacrosse Jr. Broadcast Journalism Toms River, N.J.
Evan Foulsham Women's Lacrosse Sr. Recreation, Park and Tourism Management Madison, N.J.
Whitney Reddig Women's Lacrosse Sr. Rehabilitation and Human Services Lititz, Pa.
Kyle MacDonald Men's Soccer Jr. Architectural Engineering Yardley, Pa.
Daniel Sheerin Men's Soccer Jr. Supply Chain and Information Systems College Park, Md.
Antoinette Chase Women's Soccer So. Agriculture Wayne, Pa.
Britt Eckerstrom Women's Soccer Jr. Geography Boyds, Md.
Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno Women's Soccer So. Recreation, Park and Tourism Management San Jose, Costa Rica
Alicia Walker Softball Jr. Health Policy and Administration Los Alamitos, Calif.
Matthew Salig Men's Swimming & Diving Sr. Bioengineering Downingtown, Pa.
Mackenzie Powers Women's Swimming & Diving Sr. Kinesiology Sycamore, Ill.
Gabrielle Shishkoff Women's Swimming & Diving Sr. Psychology Franklin, Mass.
Megan Siverling Women's Swimming & Diving Jr. Nutritional Sciences Chester Springs, Pa.
Sarah Somers Women's Swimming & Diving Sr. Bioengineering Haverford, Pa.
Megan Springsteen Women's Swimming & Diving Sr. Marketing Owego, N.Y.
Chelsea VanderWeele Women's Swimming & Diving So. Division Of Undergraduate Studies Silver Spring, Md.
Chelsea Weedman Women's Swimming & Diving Sr. Kinesiology Poway, Calif.
Brynja Winnan Women's Swimming & Diving Sr. Kinesiology Princeton Junction, N.J.
Christopher Young Men's Tennis Jr. Accounting Melbourne, Australia
Marie-Frederique Bedard Women's Tennis Sr. Finance Montreal, Quebec
Aaron Nadolsky Men's Track & Field Sr. Communication Arts and Sciences Altoona, Pa.
Shelley Black Women's Track & Field Jr. Kinesiology Hanover Township, Pa.
Megan Boyer Women's Track & Field Sr. Human Development and Family Studies Millersburg, Pa.
Kelsey Couts Women's Track & Field Sr. Interdisciplinary Digital Studio Powell, Ohio
Olivia Mangan Women's Track & Field Sr. Psychology Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Nia Grant Women's Volleyball Jr. Communication Arts and Sciences State College, Pa.
Margaret Harding Women's Volleyball Sr. Food Science State College, Pa.
Matthew Brown Wrestling Sr. Criminology West Valley City, Utah
James English Wrestling Sr. Energy, Business and Finance York, Pa.
David Taylor Wrestling Sr. Higher Education State College, Pa.

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