Sept. 29, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Four Kansas State student-athletes garnered the 1A Faculty Athletic Representatives (FAR) Academic Excellence Award for their cumulative performances in the classroom the NCAA has announced. The Wildcats to earn the distinction were: Lauren Mathewson of the volleyball team, Alyssa Bellinder and Nina Kokot of the women’s track and field team and Alecia Zimbelman of the equestrian squad.
The award was established by the 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives to recognize student-athlete academic achievement.
Recipients must have graduated in the past academic year with at least a 3.80 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and participated in at least two years of intercollegiate athletics at an FBS institution in a sport sponsored by an FBS conference. Football student-athletes at FBS institutions that are independent in football were also eligible for the award.
The award was given to 432 student-athletes: 136 men and 296 women. Twenty-eight percent of the recipients majored in mathematics, science or engineering; 22 percent in business-related fields; 18 percent in social sciences or humanities; 12 percent in health-related studies; 7 percent in education; 6 percent in communications; and the remaining 7 percent in other fields.
Mathewson graduated in the spring of 2011 with a GPA of 3.805 in marketing. The former libero from Kansas City, Mo., completed her career ranked second in school history with 1,755 career digs and the school record for digs in a single-match with 41 against Texas A&M on Nov. 4, 2009. During her career, Mathewson filled her personal trophy case with a number of academic honors, including three Academic All-Big 12 first team citations and a 2010 Capital One Academic All-District VII third team nod.
Bellinder was a math and education major with a perfect 4.0 GPA during her time at K-State. A native of Lenexa, Kan., Bellinder was recognized for her sterling efforts in the classroom as she was named the 2010 winner of the NCAA Elite 88 Award for women’s cross country during the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The honor is awarded to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating in their sports’ championship event.
Kokot completed her career last season as K-State’s record holder in both the indoor and outdoor long jump. The product of Velenje, Slovenia, graduated in the spring with a 3.919 GPA in kinesiology. During her time in Manhattan, Kokot was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District VII second team, was a two-time honoree for the USTFCCCA All-Academic team and was a 2011 Academic All-Big 12 first team selection.
Zimbelman completed her K-State undergraduate degree in the spring of 2011 with a 3.841 GPA in biology. The St. Francis, Kan., product registered 33 career victories, including 10 at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships (VENC) and five match MVP honors in the western discipline. Zimbelman served as a co-captain for the 2010-11 season and was a member of K-State’s back-to-back western VENC reserve national championship teams in 2010 and 2011. In addition to her excellence in the arena, she was also cited for her work in the classroom as an eight-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Zimbelman is continuing her studies in graduate school at K-State as she is enrolled in the School of Veterinary Medicine.
K-State has maintained the Big 12’s No. 1 all-sports graduation rate in each of the last four years, while the football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s track and field and baseball teams also currently lead the league among their respective sports.