Volleyball Team Earns Prestigious Academic Honor

Recent graduate Jayne Christen was one of five K-State volleyball players that earned a cumulative 4.0 GPA during the 2001-02 academic year.

Aug. 7, 2002

Colorado Springs, Colo. - The Kansas State women's volleyball team was recently named as one of a record-number 177 volleyball programs nationally to receive the 2001-02 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/Molten Team Academic Award.

The award, which has been given annually since 1992-93, honors college and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale during the school year. The previous high for award recipients was in 1998-99 when 149 awards were presented.

"This is a tremendous honor for our program," said Wildcat head coach Suzie Fritz. "This award is certainly a reflection of the hard work and dedication our players put in to not only being great athletes, but great students. Here at Kansas State, we have the environment and culture to be successful academically, but it comes down to the willingness and commitment of each individual player to take advantage of these opportunities."

Among the 47 Division I schools, Kansas State was one of just six that advanced to NCAA Tournament last season, including NCAA champion Stanford and Final Four participant Nebraska. The Cornhuskers joined the Wildcats as the only Big 12 Conference schools to earn the honor.

Kansas State posted the third-highest grade-point average (3.59) of the 47 Division I schools selected, trailing only Belmont (Tenn.) University (3.69) and Liberty (Va.) University (3.64). Five of the 13 players on the team earned cumulative 4.0 GPAs during the 2001-02 academic year, including senior Jayne Christen, redshirt sophomore Laura Downey-Wallace, sophomores Cari Jensen, Kris Jensen and Jacquelyn Paetzold. It marked the second time the program has received this honor and first time since 1996-97.

"The AVCA/Molten Team Academic Award epitomizes the ideal of the student-athlete, and the AVCA is incredibly honored to recognize these schools for their excellence in the classroom," said executive director Katherine McConnell. "We are especially pleased to bestow this prestigious award to a record number of team this year. The discipline, teamwork and commitment embodied by both the AVCA coaches and the student-athletes are a shining example to us all."

Recipients of the award range from NCAA Division I institutions to high school girls' and boys' teams. The college ranks produced 120 schools that met the requirements for the award. Kansas State was one of 47 NCAA Division I schools to receive the honor, while 20 were chosen from the Division II level, 32 from Division III, 12 from NAIA and nine from the junior college/community college ranks. A total of 57 high school programs earned the distinction.

The entire list of the colleges and high schools selected as recipients of the AVCA/Molten Team Academic Award can be accessed at the AVCA's official website, www.avca.org.