Nine members of the University of Minnesota men’s gymnastics team were honored as Academic All-America Scholar Athletes by the Collegiate Gymnastics Association (CGA), announced today. In addition to the nine individual honors, Minnesota placed seventh in the National Academic Team Championship.
Six gymnasts were named to the CGA All-America Scholar Athlete First Team, including 2009 juniors Thomas O’Brien (Westfield, N.J.), Aaron Fortunato (Bedford, Ohio), and Adam Reichow (Eden Prairie, Minn.). Reichow earned his fourth CGA academic honor, while Fortunato and O’Brien each earned their third CGA award. Sophomore Travis Heaver (Mendota Heights, Minn.) and freshmen D.J. Repp (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Russell Dabritz (Rowley, Mass.) were first-team honorees, all earning CGA academic honors for the first time in their careers. To be a first-team honoree, gymnasts must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher. The six Minnesota award winners are among 75 collegiate men’s gymnasts honored nationally.
In addition, three Gopher gymnasts were honored on the CGA All-America Scholar Athlete Second Team for earning a cumulative grade point average between 3.2 and 3.499. Colin McGuire (Plano, Texas), a junior in 2009, made his second appearance on the CGA academic awards list. Sophomores Michael Paulus (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Ali Aleiou (Brookfield, Wis.) also earned spots on the second team. A total of 55 gymnasts throughout the nation earned second-team honors.
The nine individual award winners for the 2009 season sets a school record. Previously, the most CGA All-America Scholar Athletes in a season was seven in 2008. All nine academic honorees will return to compete for the Golden Gophers in 2010.
"We had six First Team All-American Scholar Athletes and three Second Team All-American Scholar Athletes which is a new record for our program so it's great to see the direction we are taking with our academic success," said head coach Mike Burns.
As a team, Minnesota finished seventh in the nation with an average GPA of 3.193. The Golden Gophers finished second among Big Ten teams, as Ohio State finished one spot ahead of the Gophers in sixth place.
"It's a real tribute to the hard work these guys put in both in the classroom and the gym. This is by far our best team ranking in the CGA National Academic Team Champions ranking since I've been at Minnesota so I'm extremely pleased. The greatest thing about college sports is the fact that these guys will graduate with a degree from a prestigious university after having an extremely rewarding experience as a college athlete. I'm not sure how it can get much better than that," said Burns.