Rice Earns C-USA Institutional Excellence Award

July 12, 2016 IRVING, Texas – For the ninth time in the past 11 years, Rice University student-athletes earned the Conference USA Institutional Excellence Award in 2015-16 by combining for an annual GPA of 3.211, the league office announced on Tuesday.

In addition to the overall award, men’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s tennis, men’s track and field, women’s track and field and volleyball won the Sport Academic Awards for boasting the highest team grade point averages in the league in their respective sports in 2015-16.

The nine Sport Academic Awards ties the Conference USA record originally also held by Rice in the 2005-06 academic year. Women’s cross country, women’s tennis and women’s track and field also earned C-USA championship titles during the 2015-16 year.

The Sport Academic Award is given to the team in each conference-sponsored sport with the highest GPA for the academic year.

Women’s tennis posted the highest GPA among all qualifying C-USA teams with a 3.802 in 2015-16. Under the direction of head coach Elizabeth Schmidt, women’s tennis was represented on the C-USA All-Academic Team by Katherine Ip.

The Rice women’s track and field and cross country teams, led by head coach Jim Bevan, won C-USA titles and were repeat Sport Academic Award winners. Daisy Ding, Belle MacFarlane, Elsa Racasan and Cali Roper were all named to the track and field C-USA All-Academic Team, with MacFarlane earning CoSIDA All-Academic District 7 honors. Katie Jensen and Roper were also named to the cross country C-USA All-Academic Team with the entire squad earning USTFCCCA All-Academic honors.

Men’s track and field posted a 3.260 grade point average to earn the Sport Academic Award for the third time in the past four years. Under head coach Jon Warren, Evan Karakolis was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American First Team selection for a second straight year, as well as CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 and C-USA All-Academic Team honors. Also under Warren’s watch, men’s cross country earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors and Harry Sagel was selected to the C-USA All-Academic Team.

Led by head coach Mike Rhoades, men’s basketball earned their third straight Sport Academic Award by posting a 3.029 grade point average.

Rice football led all C-USA teams with a 2.890 GPA under head coach David Bailiff, which included Darik Dillard being named to the C-USA All-Academic Team.  

Men’s golf also won their third consecutive Sport Academic Award by posting a team GPA of 3.596 under head coach Justin Emil. James Lee and Mario Carmona were each named to the C-USA All-Academic Team in 2016.

Led by head coach Genny Volpe, volleyball earned the Sport Academic Award with a 3.610 grade point average. Leah Mikesky, a C-USA All-Academic Team selection, was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team and was a District 15 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team selection.

The following is a list of the C-USA academic team award honorees in the sports which Rice competes:

Baseball – Middle Tennessee* - 3.329
Men’s Basketball – Rice* - 3.029
Women’s Basketball – UTSA – 3.309
Men’s Cross Country – Rice – 3.423
Women’s Cross Country – Rice* – 3.750
Football – Rice* - 2.890
Men’s Golf – Rice* - 3.596
Women’s Soccer – UTEP – 3.567
Women’s Swimming – Marshall* – 3.601
Men’s Tennis – Middle Tennessee* – 3.385
Women’s Tennis – Rice – 3.802
Men’s Track and Field – Rice* - 3.260
Women’s Track and Field – Rice* - 3.508
Volleyball – Rice* - 3.610






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