HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss department of athletics held its annual Academic Honors for the 2013-14 academic year, sponsored by Cintas, here Monday night at the Thad Cochran Center.
Along with recognizing the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll recipients and league Academic Medal winners, the department also announced the outstanding achievements by the school's student-athletes and respective teams with various awards.
One award, the Outstanding Scholar Award, recognizes one male and female from each academic class who have displayed exemplary academic success, community service, leadership, character, and overall representation of Southern Miss Athletics and The University of Southern Mississippi. One senior is then selected as the overall outstanding scholar athlete. These awards are chosen by Academic Counselors, coaches, and the Athletic Director.
The freshmen winners for the Most Outstanding Scholar Award included Dylan Burdeaux (baseball) and Danielle Block (softball). Preston Bell (men's track) and Rebecca Ulrich (cross country) were the sophomore winners, while Nick Johnson (baseball) and Alex Pfefferle (volleyball) collected the top junior awards. Lauren Judson (women's golf) captured the women's senior award, while Corey Acosta (football) won the overall award.
Mackenzie Sher of softball and Richard Collingwood of men's track captured the Outstanding Individual Grade Point Average Award, recognizing the senior male and female with the highest cumulative GPA. Sher compiled a 3.853 GPA, while Collingwood, who also won the Overall award, holds a 3.926 GPA.
Men's tennis won the male Outstanding Team Grade Point Average award with a 3.555, while cross country captured the women's award and overall accolade with a 3.637.
The Most Improved Team GPA Award went to the team that showed the greatest improvement in annual term GPA from the previous calendar year. The women's tennis team captured that honor by jumping from a 3.149 GPA to a 3.386.
In addition, Conner McKie of women's soccer, Deonte Houston of men's basketball, Jacorius Cotton of football and Jamar Sims of men's track garnered the Academic Counselor Awards, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated an increased commitment to academic support, class attendance, study hall, and shown an overall improvement in attitude toward academics and is based on Academic Counselor recommendations.
Susan Howell of Mathematics and the College of Science and Technology earned the Faculty Appreciation Award, given to the faculty member who has shown a commitment to the academic excellence of Golden Eagle student-athletes. Nominations for this award were solicited from the student-athlete population and the award winner decided via a student-athlete poll.
The Academic Commitment Award went to women's cross country coach and assistant track coach Kevin Ondrasek, who has demonstrated a commitment to the academic success of his or her team. This award was nominated by Academic Counselors and selected by the Director of Athletics.
The Academic Honors banquets also acknowledged the students from the Cheerleading and Southern Misses squads, who distinguished themselves in the classroom as well with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
For cheer, the group included Courtney Anderson, Makenzie Baker, Marissa Batia, Katelyn Bishop, Brooke Boisseau, Macie Case, Madeline Debetaz, Brittany Engel, Karly Forman, Nicolet Hooper, Abigail LeMenager, Kayla Luedtke, Emily Miceli, Macy Morris, Alyssa Rosen, Hali Saylor, Aaron Scoggin, Ellen Suss, Catherine Taylor and Raeven Wiggins.
Representing the Southern Misses were Alexis Barbaresi, Lauren Courville, Kaitlyn Hernandez, Brooke Thomas and Hailey Tierney.