U athletes honored for academic success

By By Marco Villano

By Marco Villano

There might be a reason that in the term student-athlete the word student comes first. With only a very small percentage of collegiate athletes making a living out of their respective sports, the classroom is where the athletes will find their calling.

The Spring 2008 Academic all-MWC team was announced on Thursday and 88 athletes from the U were presented with this honor. To be eligible for selection, student-athletes must maintain a 3.0 GPA while starting or being a major contributor to their team.

The men’s and women’s swim team combined to have the most athletes make the academic team. Out of the 46 athletes on the two teams’ rosters, 29 were named to the academic all-conference team, which was actually short of their goal they set earlier in the season. Over half the team excelled in academics while having one of the most demanding schedules in collegiate athletics. The swim team has practice at five in the morning, five days a week with a 20 hour quota, on top of traveling for swim meets.

“Here at the University of Utah we really stress academics first,” said U swimming coach Greg Winslow. “I’m really proud of our team, it means that we have our priorities straight and that we’re doing things the right way.”

A few days after the academic all-conference team was announced, the MWC Scholar-Athlete award was presented to 58 U athletes. This award is presented to the best student-athletes in the conference. To receive this award, student-athletes must maintain a 3.5 GPA and participate in varsity competition in an NCAA-sponsored sport. This exclusive team was headed by Lauren Endersen, a U cross country, track and field, and indoor track and field athlete who finished the year as a MWC champion with a 4.0 GPA and had basically no downtime from competition. Endersen is studying biology with the intention of possibly going to medical school. The demands of being a multi-sport athletes allowed her very little down time for studying-making her accomplishment all the more impressive.

“We’re always in season, all school year, so it makes the amount of time for studying really difficult, but you become really good at your time management tactics,” said Endersen. “My primary concern going to college is obviously my education and my coaches are very understanding about that. At the same time when I’m at track practice, I’m at track practice, so I put aside all my scholastic worries for a few hours a day and get down to business on what needs to be done.”

Endersen and the other athletes who received the Scholar-Athlete award understand that there needs to be a specific routine to follow when juggling school and sports. They prove that there is a way to be a great student while excelling at their respective sport, which is the epitome of a student-athlete. Although she is not concerned with being a role model for all student-athletes, whether it is at the high school or collegiate level, Endersen has become one.

“I like to help out some of our new students when they’re coming into the program and just let them know that it’s possible to get good grades,” Endersen said. “Any way to help them is definitely something I want to pursue, but I don’t necessarily see myself as a role model.”

While the Spring 2008 all-MWC Academic Awards focused solely on MWC teams that competed between January and April of 2008, those that earned Scholar-Athlete status earned the distinction by competing between August 2007 and April 2008.

While Endersen lead the Utes with the highest GPA, five other students managed GPAs in the 3.9 range.

The football team’s Kyle Bowen, who is an undeclared major, earned a 3.96 for the 2007-2008 season. Fellow teammate Collin Robinson turned in a 3.92 while studying civil engineering. Skier Eva Huckova and spiker Kathryn Haynie both earned 3.95s in business and accounting respectfully, while the soccer team’s Danielle Sample turned in a 3.92 in anthropology to round out the list.

Both the football team and the track and field teams had nine student-athletes honored. The women’s ski team, soccer team and men’s swimming and diving team followed up with eight awardees apiece. Women’s gymnastics had five and men’s skiing had three award recipients. The women’s tennis and men’s basketball teams had two selections, while the baseball, women’s basketball and men’s tennis teams rounded out the awards with one recipient each. [email protected]

Lauren Endersen was the only U athlete with 4.0. Endersen competes in cross-country, track and field and indoor track and field.

U Runner Lauren Endersen was one of 88 athletes from the U that were named to the 2008 Academic all-MWC team. Lauren Endersen was the only U athlete with 4.0. Endersen competes in cross-country, track and field and indoor track and field.