Shockers set new record with 17 Academic All-Americans

25th January, Wichita, Kansas: The Wichita State men’s and women’s bowling teams have exceled both on the lanes and in the classroom this season after a record number 17 Academic All-Americans were named for the bowling program this season.

This achievement is awarded by the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association to student-athletes with a GPA of 3.50 or higher on all course work. The bowling program broke its previous record of 14, which was set last year.

“Our bowling program places a tremendous value on our student-athletes absolutely doing their best in their classes from an outstanding educational institution, Wichita State University,” said Head Coach Gordon Vadakin.

“We literally place more importance on our players getting their college degrees than winning National Titles. Truthfully, however, we have found that the better we are in the classroom, the better we are on the lanes.   “Learning and work ethic equally apply to academics and athletics. We are incredibly proud of these 17 student-athletes!” Vadakin added. This season eight men and nine women earned the respectable Academic All-American title.

Senior Kevin Tatrow (Bel Air, Kan.); junior Marcus Berndt (Malmo, Sweden); and freshmen Kenny Benoit (Topeka, Kan.) and Francois Lavoie (Quebec City, Canada), were named from the selected men’s team. This is the third time Tatrow and Berndt have received the honor; a first for freshmen Benoit and Lavoie.

On the women’s side, senior Suzana Signaigo (Kapolei, Hawaii); juniors Jazreel Tan (Singapore) and Melissa Sobolik (Marion, Iowa); sophomores Allie Ijams (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Kelsey Muther (Topeka, Kan.); freshmen Christina Brown (Vacaville, Calif.) and Heather Melvin (Sioux Falls, S.D.), earned the academic honor.

This is the fourth consecutive year Signaigo has received the award and third consecutive year for Tan and Sobolik. Being named an Academic All-American is familiar for Ijams and Brown, as this is their second year receiving the honor, while the feeling is new for Muther and Melvin as this is their first year receiving the award.

In addition, developmental team members, sophomore Tommy Staab (Eagan, Minn.); freshmen Chris Colella (Templeton, Mass.); Mick Eaton (Wyoming, Mich.); and Matt Helmick (Wichita, Kan.), received the Academic All-American award; a second time accomplishment for Staab and first-time award for the three freshmen.

On the women’s developmental team, freshmen Arianny Perrino (Venezuela) and Katelynn Moore (Derby, Kan.) were named Academic All-Americans; a first-time award for each bowler.

These student-athletes have exceled in their ability to manage time in the classroom and on the lanes. Although the role of a student-athlete can be demanding, the success exemplified by these students can be attributed to aspects of the coaching staff and the program philosophy.

Although the United States Bowling Congress requires student-athletes to sustain a minimum GPA of 2.0, the WSU bowling program requires at least a 2.25 GPA for all student-athletes involved in the program.

Shocker student-athletes are encouraged to do their best both in the classroom and on the lanes, as both are fundamental aspects of the bowling program.

News released by Wichita State Bowling.

Photos by Terence Yaw.