Southeast Missouri State gymnasts come up short in title defense

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Southeast Missouri State women's gymnastics team failed to repeat as the nation's top academic squad.

But the Redhawks didn't slack in the classroom.

It was announced Wednesday that Southeast is the 2012 academic national runner-up, according to the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women.

Southeast had won four of the previous five academic national championships, including last year. The Redhawks were second in 2010.

The Redhawks' grade-point average was 3.736 during the 2011-12 academic year. Southeast's mark trailed only Southern Utah's 3.843.

"I couldn't be more proud of this team for their academic accomplishments this season," Southeast coach Kristi Ewasko said in a release. "They worked very hard in the classroom and finished the semester stronger than they started it.

"I stress to them how important their education is and that gymnastics is an avenue to assist them in earning a degree. They each put in hours of studying every day and balance that with their training requirements and personal lives. For them to remain a threat academically each year shows their dedication to academic achievement."

The Redhawks also had 12 gymnasts earn spots on the NACGC/W Scholastic All-American team, an honor given to all gymnasts who record a 3.5 GPA or higher during the academic year. Four of Southeast's 12 gymnasts finished the year with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Southeast gymnastics with perfect 4.0 GPAs for 2011-12 were Emma Garrett (dietetics), Margaret O'Neal (biomedical sciences), Kimberly Pickerl (dietetics) and Taylor Westrick (health management).

Also earning All-Academic honors were Erin Brady (3.58, business), Megan Fosnow (3.95, health management), Tamara Gent (3.79, nursing), Emily Mann (3.90, communications disorder), Samantha Marrero (3.84, health management), Nicole Nickels (3.81, health management), Angela Serafini (3.77, dietetics) and Taryn Vanderpool (3.76, biomedical sciences).

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