Sixty-Eight Nittany Lions Earn Fall Academic All-Big Ten Accolades
Dec. 14, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Representing seven fall sports, 68 Penn State student-athletes were honored as Academic All-Big Ten honorees. Penn State's 68 honorees brings the Nittany Lions' all-time total to 3,852 during the 18 years of the program.
Penn State's 68 honorees ranked fourth among the 12 Big Ten institutions. In addition, the women's volleyball team totaled eight honorees to tie for first with Illinois.
Penn State's Academic all-conference award winners and their respective teams excelled both academically and athletically. Several student-athletes who were named Academic All-Big Ten honorees earned recognition on the field, as well as in the classroom.
The field hockey team won the Big Ten Championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) was an NFHCA Longstreth First Team All-American, while senior Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.) earned a spot on the Second Team.
The Nittany Lion football team earned a share of the Big Ten Leaders Division title and will play in the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, Texas on Jan. 2. The Nittany Lions also earned the top spot in the fifth annual Academic Bowl Championship Series rankings. Junior John Urschel (State College, Pa.) maintained an unblemished GPA and was named a Capital One Academic All-District selection. Four other Nittany Lions picked up postseason awards, including senior Drew Astorino (Edinboro, Pa.), senior Quinn Barham (State College, Pa.), senior Chima Okoli (Virginia Beach, Va.) and senior Nate Stupar (State College, Pa.) who garnered Honorable Mention All-Big Ten laurels.
The women's cross country team finished third at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships. Senior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) was a First Team All-Big Ten selection, while sophomore Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.) was a Second Team honoree. Sophomore Kalyn Fisher (Lewisburg, Pa.) also maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA.
The women's soccer team continued its conference dominance with its 14th straight Big Ten title and 17th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) and junior Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) were named First Team and Second Team NSCAA All-Americans, respectively. Hayes was also named the Big Ten Forward of the Year, while junior Lexi Marton (Aurora, Ontario) and senior Ali Schaefer (Henderson, Nev.) were First Team All-Big Ten picks and sophomore Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) and senior Emma Thomson (Nottinghamshire, England) were Second Team selections.
The women's volleyball team made its 31st appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2011. The Nittany Lions are one of just two programs to participate in every event since its inception in 1981. Sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) was a AVCA Second Team All-American and earned First Team All-Big Ten honors.
The Big Ten recognized 788 falls sports student-athletes. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Penn State student-athletes continue to graduate well above their peers nationwide, earning record-setting academic performances, according to statistical information released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to the 80 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2001-02 through 2004-05. The 88 percent figure was third to Northwestern (96) and Illinois (89) among Big Ten Conference institutions. Listed below are Penn State's 2011 Fall Academic All-Big Ten honorees by sport.
Women's Cross Country