More than three dozen University of Colorado student-athletes, including a record-tying 24 with perfect 4.00 grade-point averages last year, were honored for outstanding academic accomplishments Monday morning at the school's 24th annual Student-Athlete Academic Recognition Banquet.
More than 300 people attended the event, held in the new Touchdown Club room in the renovated Dal Ward Athletic Center.
The Clancy A. Herbst, Jr., Student-Athlete Achievement Award was presented to Gerrad Kough (football). The award is given to athletes who overcome personal, academic or emotional challenges difficulties to succeed both academically and athletically.
Four students were presented with the Scholar-Athlete Award. The recipients include a member of the sophomore and junior classes and male and female members from the senior class who have accumulated the highest cumulative grade-point average in their respective class (and are awarded by academic year, not eligibility class). The winners were:
• Henrik Gunnarsson, Sr., skiing (3.688 GPA, business-finance & accounting)
• Clare Wise, Sr., skiing (3.880 GPA, chemical & biological engineering)
• Mandy Ortiz, Jr., cross country & track (3.967 GPA, integrative physiology)
• Michaela Wenning, soph., track & field (4.00 GPA, chemical engineering)
Ortiz also received the honor her sophomore year,
Academic team winners for grade-point average were the women's cross country team for the third straight year for a sport with its championship in the fall semester (3.389) and the women's ski team, also the third time in a row, for those who compete in the spring semester (3.593). The men's golf team was honored for the most improved honor for a team.
The inaugural Leadership Through Service Award was presented to the men's & women's track combined events teams. This academic year, through the end of March, the group had worked a combined 493 community service hours. They also "adopted" a local 7-year old fighting cystic fibrosis and type I diabetes among many other community events.
In the 2015 calendar year, there were 24 student-athletes who achieved 4.00 grade-point averages for at least one semester. That matched the record of 24 set in 2014. Those honored included Ortiz for the third straight year and Wenning for the second straight year. They were joined by:
Mackenzie Caldwell (majoring in accounting), Lucy Cheadle (civil engineering), Rebekah Daniel (civil engineering), Jennifer DeSouchet (English), David Emmert (aerospace engineering), Ben Saarel (engineering physics), Brianna Schwartz (English) and Abrianna Torres (sociology), all on the cross country and/or track teams; Jered Bell (educational equity & cultural diversity), Tyler McCulloch (communication), Will Oliver (finance & accounting), Darragh O'Neill (accounting) and Nelson Spruce (finance & management), all of football; Brooke Granstrom (integrative physiology), Jessica Honkonen (advertising & psychology) and Rune Oedegaard (business analytics), all members of the ski team; Olivia Aschman (integrative physiology) and Madison DeWinter (chemical & biological engineering), both from the lacrosse team; Kathryn Scheele (history) and Kenzie Tillitt (architecture), both from soccer; Monica Burich (business), women's basketball; and Julyette Steur (management), tennis.
Phillip Lindsay, a junior-to-be on the football team, and Jamee Swan, who just completed her career on the women's basketball team, were recognized as the recipients of the Most Improved Student-Athlete Awards.
There were five winners of the Byron R. White Leadership and Initiative Award, given to those student-athletes who have exhibited outstanding initiative and demonstrate a strong commitment to service to the CU and Boulder communities. Those winners were Wise, Connor Winter (senior, cross country & track and a two-time recipient), Michael Adkins (junior, football), Jaron Thomas (junior, track & field) and Taylor Oliver (sophomore, lacrosse). The five were selected among 16 nominees from across all sports.
There were four recipients of the inaugural Ceal Barry Leadership Award, named for CU's legendary women's basketball coach and awarded to those student-athletes who most effectively inspires his or her team and the Colorado campus and community through exemplary commitment, composure and integrity. The first-ever recipients of the honor were Jesse Knori (junior, skiing), Sefo Liufau (junior, football), Derek McCartney (sophomore, football) and Nuria Ormeno-Ruiz (junior, tennis).
The Student Support Services Academic Award was presented to Lucas Flores, a senior student assistant in the Football Video department. The owner of a 3.895 grade point average as a Film Studies major, this award is presented to a student worker who maintains a 3.0 GPA while demonstrating strong commitment and leadership to CU athletics.