Academic All-Big Ten honors awarded to 253 Penn State student-athletes

University Park, Pa. — Penn State student-athletes continue to display excellence in the classroom and in competition, as 253 Nittany Lions earned Academic All-Big Ten honors during the 2008-09 academic year.

The total ties Penn State's second-highest number of Academic All-Big Ten honorees all-time, equaling the total from 2004-05. Penn State produced its highest number of honorees in 2007-08 when 261 student-athletes received academic all-conference recognition.

Over the past three years, 759 Academic All-Big Ten honors have been awarded to Penn State student-athletes - the highest three-year sum in school history.

Since the Academic All-Big Ten program was introduced 15 years ago, Penn State leads all conference schools with 3,312 selections. Ohio State is second with 3,208.

Among Penn State's 13 spring and at-large sports this year, 119 student-athletes were honored. Ohio State led the Big Ten in 2008-09 with 291 academic all-conference honorees (35 sports). Minnesota, with 257 Academic All-Big Ten picks, edged the Nittany Lions' 253 honorees.

Penn State's 2008-09 academic all-conference award winners also produced excellent results outside of the classroom. Senior relief pitcher Paul Cianciolo rounded out his two-sport college career with ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors, giving the Nittany Lions a school record 10 Academic All-Americans thus far in 2008-09.

Junior softball outfielder Ashley Griffith earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team. Women's golf sophomore Brianna Malcomsen nearly set a program record when she shot a low round of 68. Men's golf junior T.J. Howe was the team's second-best finisher as it placed 10th at NCAA Northeast Regionals.

Women's track and field senior Emma Schmelzer earned Co-Field Athlete of the Championships honors as the Nittany Lions captured their second consecutive Big Ten Outdoor Championship. Men's track and field junior Clarence Smith claimed first place in the triple jump at the Big Ten Championships.

Men's tennis senior Brendan Lynch won a singles and doubles match in the first round of the Big Ten Championship. Senior Leyla Morzan finished her women's tennis career with a 17-17 record this season.

Women's fencing junior Anastasia Ferdman won the women's epée event and men's fencing junior Daniel Bak took fourth in the saber to lead the fencing team to the 2009 NCAA Championship, held in front of a home crowd in the Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Complex.

Junior middle hitter Max Lipsitz earned first-team AVCA All-America honors, helping the men's volleyball team earn its 11th consecutive NCAA Championship semifinal appearance. Women's lacrosse senior Kerry Shea earned third-team IWLCA All-America accolades and men's lacrosse sophomore Colton Vosburgh had 10 goals and seven assists for a career-best 17 points.

The 1,049 spring and at-large sport student-athletes to receive academic recognition brought the total to 2,238 Academic All-Big Ten honorees for 2008-09, the highest total in the last 15 years. The total eclipsed the previous best of 2,095, set in 2007-08.

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.

For the complete list of Penn State's spring and at-large Academic All-Big Ten honorees, please click here.

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Last Updated July 14, 2009