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Seven Wildcats Named First Team Academic All-Big 12

GO WILDCATS Senior OH Jennifer Pollard became just the sixth Wildcat to be named first team Academic All-Big 12 three times in her career.
Senior OH Jennifer Pollard became just the sixth Wildcat to be named first team Academic All-Big 12 three times in her career.

Nov. 19, 2002

Dallas, Texas - The 19th-ranked Kansas State women's volleyball team tied Nebraska for the most selections of any league school on the Academic All-Big 12 first team on Tuesday, as seven Wildcat players were named to the league's academic team.

Senior outside hitter Jennifer Pollard was joined by juniors Laura Downey-Wallace, Lauren Goehring, Cari Jensen and Kris Jensen and sophomores Gabby Guerre and Katie Stanzel on the 44-member first team. In all, 50 players earned recognition to the first and second teams.

"This is a tremendous honor for our program," said Wildcat head coach Suzie Fritz. "We talk about excellence both on and off the court and these seven players certainly exemplify these characteristics. Not a lot of people understand how difficult it is to be a student-athlete at the Division I level. They have to balance their course work with both practice, matches and travel. To have seven players earn this award says a lot not only about the players, but about the program and the university."

The selections mark the second straight year that Kansas State has placed a school-record seven players on the conference's academic first team. Kansas State now ranks second among Big 12 institutions in both the number of academic all-league selections (43) as well as first team honorees (35) since the inception of the league. At least four Wildcats have made the academic all-conference team since the league's first year, including a program-best nine selections in 1996.

Pollard becomes the sixth Wildcat in school history to earn first team academic honors three times, joining the likes of Kelle Branting, Dawn Cady, Lisa Mimick and Kim Zschau. Goehring, Cari Jensen and Kris Jensen receive the honor for the second straight season, while Downey-Wallace, Guerre and Stanzel earn the award for the first time in their careers.

The academic honor is the second in as many weeks for Cari Jensen, as she was recently selected to the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII first team. She will now advance to the national ballot for Academic All-America accolades.

Nominated by each institution's director of student-athlete support services and the media relations offices, first-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.2 or better grade point average, while the second team are those who have a 3.0 to 3.19 GPA.

To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of her team's scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are eligible.

Kansas State returns to action on Wednesday, as the Wildcats look to tie the school record for consecutive wins at 13 with a visit from Oklahoma (5-20, 3-14 Big 12) to Ahearn Field House beginning at 6 p.m. Please note the time change of the match, as it has been moved up an hour in order to accommodate the Women's NIT game between K-State and USC slated for 7:30 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.