User ID: Password:

August 11, 2009

Tech's Student-Athletes Haul in Many Accolades

By: Reyna Gilbert

Sara Smith and Drew Weaver departed this spring as two of the most decorated student-athletes ever to compete at Virginia Tech.

The summer hasn’t slowed down academic success and recognition for Virginia Tech student-athletes. Since classes ended in May, several Hokie student-athletes were recognized for postseason awards and for their commitment to balancing academics and athletics during the spring competition season.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford recently announced the list of ACC Honor Roll recipients. The ACC Honor Roll comprises student-athletes who participated in a varsity-level sport and registered a grade-point average of 3.00 or better for the full academic year. For the 2008-2009 academic year, a record 2,772 student-athletes were honored throughout the ACC. One hundred and nine student-athletes from Virginia Tech were honored, and many Hokies have been honored more than once during their careers. Women’s cross country and track student-athlete Natalie Sherbak and football quarterback Sean Glennon were five-time honor roll recipients. ACC women’s track and field MVP Queen Harrison and men’s track ACC freshman of the year Will Mulherin were also named to the list.

Swimmer Sara Smith and softball standout Jenna Rhodes were both awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. For the past three years, two student-athletes per year have earned this coveted award. In this decade, nine Tech student-athletes received this scholarship compared to seven previously in school history. The $7,500 scholarship is awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.

Smith, a McGaheysville, Va., native, splashed the competition both in and out of the pool during her tenure at Tech. She received the 2009 Virginia Tech ACC athlete of the year award and holds two team, War Memorial Pool and ACC records. Smith will begin her master’s degree in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences at Tech this fall.

During her career at Tech, Rhodes reached All-American and Academic All-American status and was recently named the 2009 Virginia Sports Information Directors player of the year. Rhodes is currently playing as a free agent with the Rockford Thunder of the National Pro Fast-pitch League and will begin her postgraduate studies this fall at Old Dominion University in Mental Health Counseling.

In addition to the ACC Academic Honor Roll, the league also recognizes student-athletes as members of the All-Academic teams. To be considered for the All-ACC Academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 for the past two semesters and for their career.

In all, four members of the women’s track and field team and four on the men’s team received such recogntion. The list included Kristi Castlin, Natalie Sherbak, Asia Washington and Kelly Phillips for the women’s team and Phillip Padilla, Matthais Treff, Hasheem Halim and Mulherin for the men’s team. Castlin, Washington and Sherbak made that team three times in their careers.

Three members of the men’s tennis team and two from the women’s team also made the squad. That group included Pedro Graber, Yoann Re and Luka Somen from the men’s team, with Graber making the squad for the third time. On the women’s side, Inga Beermann and Martha Blakely made the squad. Beermann made the squad four times in her career.

Five players from the lacrosse squad made the All-Academic team – Rachel Culp, Kari Morrison, Allie Emala, Sarah Garner and Caitlyn Wier. Culp and Morrison were three-time honorees.

Two softball players also made the team – Rhodes and Erin Ota. Both made it for the third time in their careers. And the baseball team landed three first-timers on the squad – Mike Kaminski, Ben Rowen and Michael Seaborn.

Finally, Drew Weaver represented the golf team on the squad. He was a member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 2006 and 2007. He is currently playing on the amateur golf circuit.

Hokie student-athletes consistently raise the bar for success both in their sport and in the classroom. It is no wonder that so many have been honored multiple times throughout their careers for being the epitome of what a student-athlete truly is.