FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – In total, 42 Northern Arizona University student-athletes will receive their degrees from the university this weekend during the Spring 2015 commencement ceremonies held on campus yesterday and today. Including the 21 student-athletes who participated in the Fall 2014 commencement ceremonies, the NAU Athletics Department produced a total of 63 graduates for the 2014-15 academic year.
The 42 Spring 2015 student-athletes as well as another 24 student-athletes expected to complete their degrees at the conclusion of the upcoming fall semester were honored at the NAU Athletics Graduation Reception Thursday evening where they received their student-athlete graduation stoles.
The 2014-15 academic year was another banner season both on and off the field for Northern Arizona University athletics. Heading into next week's Big Sky Outdoor Track and Field Championship, the Lumberjacks have captured six conference titles this year starting with men's cross country and women's cross country sweeping the conference championships. The men's cross country proceeded to once again represent NAU at the highest level nationally, finishing fourth in the country at the NCAA Championships, marking their third straight podium finish. The soccer team followed with their first conference championship since 2009. On the same day in February, the men's indoor track and field team won their fourth straight Big Sky title and swimming & diving captured their second consecutive WAC Championship. Finally, two weeks ago the women's golf team won their Big Sky best eighth title and is currently competing at the NCAA West Regional in St. George, Utah.
When NAU Athletics wasn't bringing hardware back to Flagstaff, they were basking in a variety of other moments that fed into a spectacular year. The men's basketball team won a school record 23 games, including four in the postseason as they captured the hearts of the entire campus during their run all the way to the CIT Final. The football team stunned No. 2 Eastern Washington to provide an unforgettable Homecoming game for all. The volleyball team won 21 games, the women's basketball team had their best season since 2007 and played in the Big Sky Tournament for the first time since 2009. The women's indoor track & field team finished third in the conference, the women's tennis team placed fourth in the Big Sky and the men's tennis team nearly brought home the department's seventh conference championship, finishing runner-up in the Big Sky Tournament.
As successful as the Lumberjacks were in competition, they shined just as brightly in the classroom. Last month, a school-best 191 student-athletes were honored at the 37th annual Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Awards to recognize their scholastic and athletic accomplishments. Austin Hasquet (football), Caleb Hoover (cross country and track & field), Johanna Vang (women's tennis) and Diane Buzzard (soccer) wered awarded the top academic honors. Six student-athletes – Hasquet, Tatum Rochin (women's tennis), Vang, Buzzard, Taylor Stephens (volleyball) and Laura Jabczenski (golf) – received the prestigious Gold Axe Award from the university this academic year to honor their outstanding academic performance, leadership and service to the community. Hasquet also became just the third student-athlete in NAU history to be named a two-time CoSIDA Academic First Team All-American.
During the fall 2014 semester, the athletics department recorded a 3.14 cumulative grade point advantage which marked the 12th consecutive semester and 20th out of the last 22 semesters overall that NAU student-athletes have earned a 3.00 cumulative GPA or higher. Ten of the department's 13 intercollegiate teams posted a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher for the semester. Seventy-three student-athletes were named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll with a 3.50 GPA or better and 38 student-athletes achieved a perfect 4.00 GPA. Women's Tennis has the highest cumulative GPA at 3.55 followed by swimming & diving at 3.53 and soccer at 3.46 not far behind. A total of 77 student-athletes have received conference all-academic honors so far this academic year with the spring Big Sky All-Academic honorees yet to be announced.
Here are the Spring 2015 NAU Student-Athlete graduates in alphabetical order:
Adel Alnasser – Track & Field – Civil Engineering – Safwa, Saudi Arabia
Raven Anderson – Women's Basketball – Criminal Justice/Sociology – Tempe, Ariz.
Sarah Baker – Cross Country/Track & Field – Biomedical Science – Bakersfield, Calif.
Darriel Banks – Track & Field – Public Health – Las Vegas, Nev.
Erikka Banks – Women's Basketball – Sociology – Fresno, Calif.
Emily Bartz – Cross Country/Track & Field – Exercise Science – Tucson, Ariz.
Anders Battle – Football – University Studies – Phoenix, Ariz.
Savannah Berry – Soccer – Biology – Encinitas, Calif.
Gaellan Bewernick – Men's Basketball – Management/Marketing – Los Angeles, Calif.
Diane Buzzard – Soccer – Civil Engineering – Flagstaff, Ariz.
Cameron Coleman – Track & Field – Exercise Science – Peoria, Ariz.
Louis Collins – Football – Psychological Sciences – Los Angeles, Calif.
Aaseem Dixon – Men's Basketball – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Las Vegas, Nev.
Shayla Freeman – Cross Country/Track & Field – Secondary Education-Chemistry – Phoenix, Ariz.
Roy Garcia – Football – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Phoenix, Ariz.
Bahlbi Gebreyohanns – Cross Country/Track & Field – Business Economics – Indianapolis, Ind.
Joe Gurski – Football – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Valley Center, Calif.
Mary Harrah – Soccer – Biology – Solana Beach, Calif.
Caleb Hoover – Cross Country/Track & Field – Biomedical Sciences – Joplin, Mo.
Laura Jabczenski – Golf – Biomedcial Science – Tucson, Ariz.
Vernon Jamison – Track & Field – Psychological Sciences – Queen Creek, Ariz.
Harrison Johnson – Football – Finance – Glendale, Ariz.
Alexis Juergens – Swimming & Diving – Criminology & Criminal Justice – South Jordan, Utah
Lauren Justus – Cross Country/Track & Field – Public Health – Glendora, Calif.
Quentin Kantaris – Football – Computer Information Systems – Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Deante Kemper – Track & Field – Hotel & Restaurant Management – San Diego, Calif.
Matt McElroy – Cross Country/Track & Field – Communication Studies – Huntington Beach, Calif.
Brittany McKee – Golf – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Gilbert, Ariz.
Alex Odem – Track & Field – English – Nashville, Tenn.
Shamelle Pless – Track & Field – Marketing – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Emily Roth – Soccer – Biology – Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Taylor Schneider – Track & Field – Psychological Sciences – El Cajon, Calif.
Brian Shrader – Cross Country/Track & Field – Finance – Flagstaff, Ariz.
Len Springs – Men's Basketball – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Compton, Calif.
Taylor Stephens – Volleyball – Biomedical Science – Phoenix, Ariz.
Amanda Stricker – Track & Field – Spanish/Anthropology – Flagstaff, Ariz.
Malia Tano – Soccer – Hotel & Restaurant Management – Lake Forest, Calif.
Sarah Tarver – Soccer – Parks & Recreation Management – Juneau, Alaska
Quinton Upshur – Men's Basketball – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Norfolk, Va.
Johanna Vang – Women's Tennis – Marketing – Sollentuna, Sweden
Blair Wishom – Football – Criminology & Criminal Justice – Antioch, Calif.
Caitlin Wright – Swimming & Diving – Mechanical Engineering – Tucson, Ariz.