BU Student-Athletes Recognized for Academic Success and Community Service

Posted at 9:28 PM, May 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-05 22:28:25-04

All-Americans Rachel Johnson and Julian Lenz won the Big 12 Conference Awards and women's golf captured the coveted President's Cup at Monday's annual Student-Athlete Banquet at the Ferrell Center.

Johnson has earned All-America honors in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field, racking up a total of five All-America accolades and breaking five school records. Lenz is the No. 2-ranked singles player in the country this season and leads a Baylor men's tennis team that is seeded second going into the NCAA Championships.

All told, a total of 31 student-athletes and seven teams were honored for academic excellence and community service during the banquet.

“Our student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom,” said Bart Byrd, Baylor's Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services. “Our coaches give us unbelievable support. Our athletic director, Ian McCaw, and president, Judge Ken Starr, give us great support. So, it's kind of a tradition for our student-athletes to excel in the classroom.”

Those recognized for the highest GPA for their respective sports were Alyson Johnson, Acrobatics & Tumbling; Ben Carl, baseball; Al Freeman and Chardonae Fuqua', basketball; Chris McElroy and Erin Hegarty, cross country; Kate Riddle, equestrian; Collin Brence, football; Frederik Andersen and Laura Lonardi, golf; Alexa Wilde, soccer; Robin Landrith, softball; Felipe Rios and Blair Shankle, tennis; Greg Bostick, Sarah Guhl and Bree Schrader, track and field; Nicole Bardaji, volleyball; and Katie McCarthy, trainer.

Of that group, earning perfect 4.0 GPAs were Bostick, Hegarty and Wilde.

Johnson and Lenz received the Big 12 Conference Award, which recognizes a male and female athlete who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community.

The President's Cup, which is awarded to the team that carries the highest cumulative GPA, was given to the Big 12 champion women's golf team.

“It's unique to watch, because the soccer and volleyball girls were disappointed that women's golf beat them this year,” Byrd said. “Not to mention softball. When they swept Kansas last night, they were like, ‘When do we pick up our President's Cup?' And I told them, ‘You have to win that one, too.' It's just fun to watch the competitiveness of our teams on and off the field.”

Provost Awards, given to teams that have set a higher standard with an overall term or cumulative GPA than the previous semester, were Acrobatics & Tumbling, equestrian, football, men's and women's golf, softball and men's tennis.

Winning the C.H.A.M.P.S Cup for community service for the second consecutive year was equestrian. The NCAA Champs/Life Skills program is designed to encourage academic excellence and community outreach for student-athletes across the country, with student-athletes from all sports participating in a variety of community outreach programs throughout the academic year.

Women's basketball Sune Agbuke and football's LaQuan McGowan were recipients of the sixth John Westbrook Award for Courage and Perseverance. The annual award recognizes male and female Baylor student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic or emotional challenges to achieve academic success while making positive contributions to their respective teams.

As voted on by the Baylor student-athletes for their impact on their academic careers, this year's Outstanding Professor Award winners were: Erica Ancira, finance; Ashley Barrett, Blair Browning, John Cunningham and Jane Damron, communication studies; Alton Hassell, chemistry; Matthew Bradshaw, Kevin Dougherty and Randy Jacobs, sociology; Derek Dodson and Steve Sadler, religion; Cari Edison, accounting; Alexander Engebretson, English; Amy Goodman, mathematics; Barry Hankins and Lauren Poor, history; Linda Kinslow, physics; Dale Connally, Paul La Bounty, Kim Scott and Joe Shim, health, human performance and recreation; Heidi Marcum, environmental studies; Jeremy McElroy, business; Jim Moshinskie, information systems; and Hugh Riley, psychology and neuroscience.

Additionally, the following 18 student-athletes were honored as graduates of Baylor Athletics' Leadership 360 program: Ema Burgic, women's tennis; Hannah Bouziden, Breanna Mutzig, Rachel Nankervis, Parris Rice, Kate Riddle, Sue Carol Thompson and Rachel Youngblood, equestrian; Lauren Cook and Tiffani McReynolds, women's track and field; Erin Hegarty, Rachel Johnson and Bree Schrader, women's cross country and track and field; Blake Heriot and Jonathan Tijerina, men's track and field; Linsey Hays and Jordan Strickland, softball; and Natalie Huggins, soccer