SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Twenty-six Western Carolina student-athletes were recognized on Tuesday by earning spots on the 2014-15 Winter Academic All-Southern Conference Team as released by the conference office. The 26 Catamounts on the Winter Academic All-Conference Team are the most for WCU since the conference began compiling the team back in 2002-03.
All told, 162 student-athletes from all 10 of the SoCon institutions plus four associate members were honored representing the sports of men's and women's basketball, men's and women's indoor track & field and wrestling. The league's nine women's indoor track and field programs provided the most academic all-conference members with 68, followed by men's indoor track and field (nine programs) with 44 and women's basketball (eight programs) with 20.
Among Western Carolina's 26 honorees, seven were recognized for the third-time in their career with six earning their second academic all-conference acknowledgement. The remaining 13 of WCU's 26 were first-time honorees. Keeping with the SoCon trend, WCU had 16 women's indoor track & field athletes recognized and five apiece from both men's indoor track & field and women's basketball.
Eleven student-athletes have maintained perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point averages, including ETSU's Adam Chase (men's indoor track and field); Chattanooga's Maddison Melchionna (women's indoor track and field), Joanna Elmore (women's indoor track and field), Helenka Kis (women's indoor track and field) and Patrick O'Brien (men's indoor track and field); Western Carolina's Laney Browder (women's indoor track and field), Lindsey Burleson (women's basketball) and Erin West (women's indoor track and field); and Wofford's Jonathan Rice (men's indoor track and field), Justin Whitaker (men's indoor track and field) and Alissa Williams (women's indoor track and field).
The 11 perfect GPAs match the winter record set in 2012-13.
To be eligible for the academic all-conference team, student-athletes must carry at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA entering the fall season, and were required to compete in at least one-half of their teams' competitions during the recently concluded fall campaign. In addition, the student-athletes must have successfully completed at least 24 credit hours in the previous two semesters at that institution.
Chattanooga led all schools with 27 selections, followed closely by Western Carolina with 26. Samford was third with 22 selections.
Including the 28 student-athletes honored on the 2014 Fall Academic All-Conference team, WCU has accumulated 54 selections this academic year.