STUDENT-ATHLETES AWARDED FOR ATHLETIC AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) recognizes students with exceptional athletic and academic performance, and this year several Newman student-athletes have been awarded for their performance on and off the field with All-District and All-American titles.
Newman student-athletes Anna Burton (volleyball), Brian Canfield (baseball), Emily Harvey (volleyball), Aaron Mack (baseball), Taylor Schieber (basketball), and Rich Wincer (soccer), all received a 2016-2017 First-Team All-District Team award.
Nominations for this award are based on the discretion of the sports information director from each university.
David Rung holds that role at Newman, and he said, “There’s a certain combination of GPA and stats that jump off a page at you. There are plenty of student-athletes who put up big numbers in their sport, and plenty who contribute impressive numbers in the classroom, but significantly fewer who do both. The minimum to nominate a student-athlete is a 3.3 GPA, but All-District winners, let alone All-Americans, are generally much higher than that.”
Rung has taken on the responsibility of not only nominating athletes for this award but also voting on the district ballot. He said, “It (the program) helps showcase the academic side that the public doesn’t always get to see. We’re constantly trying to share those types of stories about our student-athletes being successful at more than just sports.”
The elite All-America Team is voted on by a hand-selected National Committee of Sports Information Directors. Mack was chosen as an Academic All-American by CoSIDA, making this the fourth Academic All-America honor for Newman, and second for the Jet baseball program after infielder Jarrod Flax was selected for the team in 2015.
Women’s golfer Kendall Anderson was named Academic All-America twice, capping her career with a first-team honor in 2015.
Mack was honored with the title this year for his incredible performance both on the field and in the classroom. He has helped power the Newman offense for three straight seasons.
Mack has impressive stats, batting .295 while playing four different positions for the Jets in 2017. He led the team with a .512 slugging percentage, 17 doubles and 5 home runs. Off the field, accounting major Mack has maintained above a 3.9 GPA throughout the entirety of his college career.
He was named to the Third-Team, one of just 34 Division II baseball players in the country to earn Academic All-America status.
“I marvel at what these 18- to 22-year-old kids are able to accomplish while juggling the responsibilities of a full-time course load and playing a college sport. Reaching your graduation day with a 3.9 GPA is difficult, and being an important member of a NCAA Division II team is difficult. To do both is pretty incredible,” said Rung.
Student-athletes are not always recognized for their performance off the field. “Much of the focus on college athletics is understandably on the games, events and performances themselves. And while there are also academic awards presented by coaches, organizations and others, I don’t think there’s an award that quite matches what the Academic All-America program is out to do, which is to reward both sides of that student-athlete moniker,” stated Rung.