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37 Pioneer student-athletes earn conference all-academic awards


  • August 27, 2013

Following the completion of its second season as an active member in NCAA Division II, the Cal State East Bay Athletic Department had 37 student-athletes collect California Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) All-Academic honors for the 2012-13 academic year. Now in their fourth year of competing in the CCAA, the Pioneers had representatives, for the first time, from all 12 of their CCAA-sponsored sports.

To be eligible for CCAA All-Academic honors, student-athletes must have earned a varsity letter, have competed in one of the CCAA's sponsored sports and have a grade point average of 3.4 or higher while completing a minimum of 24 semester or 36 quarter units during the current academic year.

For the third straight year, the Pioneer women's soccer team led all sports, this time reaching a new high with 12 awards. Shianna Falk was the lone senior to earn CCAA All-Academic honors, joining junior Katie Brawley, who posted the team's top grade point average (GPA) of 3.67. Fellow juniors Breahna Berry, Ari Strickland, Anne Dunne and Donna Williams made the list, as well as sophomore Rachel Sloss. Also qualifying was an impressive group of freshman that includes Kelsey Lamb, Sara Silva, Jamie Botteon, Joanna Giron and Danielle Cummings. All told, the women's soccer team had more than twice as many honorees as any other Pioneer squad.

On the men's side, CSUEB garnered four award winners. Leading the way for men's soccer was junior Paul Dewhurst, who posted a team-best 3.48 GPA. He was joined on the list of honorees by fellow junior Scott Dobson, sophomore Conley Perry and freshman Kellen Crow.

Pioneer volleyball boasted the second-most honorees of any CSUEB team with five, led by senior Nikki Long's 3.53 GPA. Fellow senior Danielle Stewart also made the list in her final year of competition. Juniors Natalie Dwight, Hannah Bell and Brittany Dominguez achieved all-academic status as well.

The women's basketball team added four student-athletes to the list, highlighted by several repeat winners. Senior Lauren Lucchesi won the award for the fourth straight year, leading the way with a 3.64 GPA. Sophomores Hege Blikra and Micah Walker were honored for the second time in their young careers, and fellow sophomore Meaghan Cichoke made the list as well.

Men's basketball, meanwhile, garnered a pair of selections. Senior Jason Smith won the award for the second time in his two seasons at Cal State East Bay. He was joined by junior Kenneth Farr II, the Pioneers' recently elected Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president. He posted a team-best 3.44 GPA.

The cross country teams improved their all-academic total from last year, as five runners made the list of honorees. Women's cross country boasted three selections in sophomore Julia Wilson and freshmen Megan Osten and Imani Heath. Heath also qualified in women's track and achieved a team-high 3.71 GPA. On the men's side, freshman Gavin Ramos and junior Jose Gonzalez-Mejia represented both men's cross country and track. Gonzalez-Mejia posted a 3.44 GPA in 2012-13, while Ramos notched a perfect 4.0.

A pair of men's golfers earned their second straight all-academic awards, as seniors Greg Atkinson and Chris Herzog both made the list. Herzog is also a two-time Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-America scholar, as well as an All-CCAA and All-NCAA West Region honoree. With a 3.72 GPA, he also was the Pioneers' recipient of the 2012-13 Hal Charnofsky award, conferred annually by the conference on one male and one female student-athlete from each school who demonstrates excellence in competition and in the classroom.

The softball team picked up two selections, as well, in seniors Emily Montanez and Taryn Thomas. Thomas had an outstanding senior season, earning second-team All-CCAA honors, while Montanez posted a team-best 3.29 GPA. Pioneer baseball also had a representative, as senior pitcher Ben O'Bryan earned his team's sole all-academic award.

Cal State East Bay made history in just its second season of eligibility for the NCAA Division II and CCAA postseason. Pioneer men's golf competed at NCAA Regionals for the second straight year, and women's basketball made its second straight CCAA Tournament. Pioneer baseball matched the school record with 32 victories for the season and earned a top-25 national ranking for the first time since 1977, reaching No. 22 in March.

Pioneer swimming had an historic season as well, placing second at the conference championships and earning a bid to the NCAA Division II Championships. Four swimmers earned All-American honors for placing eighth in the nation in the 200 freestyle relay. Not to be outdone in the pool, water polo players Claire Pierce and Sara Hudyn were both selected as ACWPC All-Americans. All told, the Pioneers had two CCAA Newcomers of the Year, earned five all-region honors, collected 26 all-conference awards, and boasted 10 conference Player of the Week honorees, including one National Player of the Week, during a successful 2012-13 campaign.

There were 511 total student-athletes who earned All-Academic honors this year. UC San Diego led all CCAA schools with 74 selections, while Cal State Monterey Bay was second with 52 honorees.

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