Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Charlotte 49ers Athletics Exemplifies the Phrase Student-Athletes With 31 Academic All-Americans

A student athlete is defined as a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled. The term student-athlete is used to describe the direct balance of a full-time student and a full-time athlete. The Charlotte 49ers athletic department has done a very good of keeping the balance proportional between being a student and an athlete as 31 Charlotte 49ers student-Athletes have earned Academic All-American honors. This decade the 49ers have had 22 Academic All-Americans. Numerous 49ers student-athletes have been named to various conference honor rolls as well as the University’s Chancellor’s, Dean’s and Athletic Director’s lists over the past 24 years.

Every year, CoSIDA (Collegiate Sports Information Director’s of America) sponsors the prestigious ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American program. The 49ers have had 31 student-athletes named Academic All-American since 1985. The 49ers women’s soccer program is fourth in the history of the Academic All-American program with the most all-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans with eight. While, the women’s track and field and cross country program is tied for ninth in the country with the most all-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans with seven.
Former 49ers women’s tennis player was the 49ers first Academic All-American in 1985. In the 80’s, former 49ers baseball player Steve Wagoner became the school’s first two-time Academic All-American in 1986 and 1987. Former 49ers men’s soccer player Craig Brown (pictured) was the school’s first first-team Academic All-American in 1986.

In the 1990’s, men’s tennis player Christopher Mark (1992 and 1993) and men’s soccer player Jim Kunevicius (1997 and 1998) were both two-time Academic All-Americans. Kunevicius (pictured) became the 49ers second first-team Academic All-American in 1998. Former softball player Tiffany Howard became the softball program’s first Academic All-American in 1998.

This decade, the 49ers have had 22 Academic All-Americans. In 2001, Karin Levin became Charlotte’s first track and field athlete to earn Academic All-American honors. In 2002, Ola Jonsson became the first 49er men’s tennis player to earn first-team Academic All-American honors. In that same year, Jobey Thomas became the first 49ers men’s basketball player to earn Academic All-American honors. In 2003, former 49ers women’s soccer player Lindsay Duncan became the first Charlotte women’s soccer player Academic All-American. In 2004, Sharonda Johnson (pictured) was selected to her first of three Academic All-American teams. In 2005, Lindsey Beam Ozimek (pictured) was named to the first of her three Academic All-American teams. Ozimek joins Johnson and the school’s only three-time Academic All-Americans. In 2006, the 49ers had a school-record six Academic All-Americans. The women’s soccer program had three (Ozimek, Kelsie Ormsby and Nikki Labuda Czaplicki), while the women’s track and field team has two in (Johnson and Cassie Ficken). Czaplicki would earn first-team Academic All-American honors as a fifth-year senior in 2008 as well. Former 49ers baseball player Mike Ambrose rounded out Charlotte’s six Academic All-Americans in 2006. In 2007, Ozimek and Johnson were joined by former 49ers women’s track and field runner Jane Daniels as Academic All-Americans. Daniels and Ozimek were both first-team Academic All-Americans. In 2008, former 49ers golfer Jonas Enander Hedin became the golf program’s first Academic All-American. While, Hailey Beam, a second-team Academic All-American, joined her sister Lindsey Ozimek as the athletic department’s first Academic All-American siblings. Men’s soccer’s Adam Gross, women’s soccer’s Czaplicki and women’s track and field performer Lamarra Currie rounded out the 49ers 2008 Academic All-Americans. Currie would join Ozimek as the 49ers only two-time first-team Academic All-Americans after she earned first-team honors in 2008 and 2009. In 2009, Darius Law became the men’s track and field program’s first Academic All-American.

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