Dec. 28, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa volleyball program excelled in the classroom this fall and saw nine student-athletes receive 2013 Big Ten Fall Academic All-Conference recognition for their academic prowess. The Hawkeyes' nine honorees tied a school record that was established in 2008.
To be eligible, Big Ten student-athletes must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, be in at least their second academic year at the university, and be a letterwinner in their respective sports.
Sophomore pre-medicine major Julianne Blomberg, senior health and human physiology major Grace Burns, junior political science major Katie Kelley, junior biomedical engineering major Erin Leppek, junior pharmacy major Alex Lovell, sophomore health and human physiology major Alli O'Deen, sophomore health and human physiology major Anne Yanda, junior human physiology major Emily Yanny, and senior health and human physiology major Bethany Yeager each met the criteria and earned the Big Ten's academic recognition.
"It's extremely important that the Big Ten recognizes academic success," Lovell said. "Most of us will not continue with volleyball after our four years in college, so our grades will determine our future."
"The fact that they are recognizing us is great," Yanny said. "The Big Ten realizes how hard it is to do well when you are busy as an athlete. It shows that the conference thinks academics are just as important as athletics. Personally, to be recognized for all the work I put in to that area feels great."
Of the 18 total student-athletes on the Hawkeye volleyball roster, 15 are in at least their second season at the University of Iowa. Therefore, sixty percent of those in the eligible class standing made the cut.
Members of the team have made academics a priority, which has made academic focus a main component to the UI volleyball culture and in turn enables the group to be successful as a whole.
"We all realize that we're students first and athletes second because we're all here to get our degrees," Yanny said. "Everyone on the team takes that seriously. It's nice because we know that there will always be someone that will go to the library with you. Everyone has the same priorities so that makes it easier for us to be successful."
The UI volleyball staff and the team's academic advisor Doug Coonrad also work hard to set the student-athletes up for success year-in-and-year-out.
"The staff has meetings with us throughout the year and our academic advisor Doug (Coonrad) would keep them informed of how we were doing in classes so they were up to date on how we were doing," Yanny said. "They let us know that we could come to them with any issues, and they all want us to do well in that area. They do a good job at pushing us to do our best in academics."