WASHINGTON – Brett Dempsey, Natalie Konerth and Marley Jennings earned top honors during the 2017 Student-Athlete Academic Reception on Wednesday, as the three seniors prepare to close their undergraduate careers with the top GPA's in their class.
A total of 25 student-athletes were recognized as the top 10 percent of academic achievers, holding an impressive 3.84 cumulative GPA or higher. The event, attended by the student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campus leaders, was held at the President's House.
"The mere fact that it takes a 3.84 to be in the top 10 percent is in itself a remarkable statement," American University President Dr. Neil Kerwin said. "I occasionally take a look at the major distributions of our teams – where they're studying, the departments they're studying in – and many of our student-athletes are in some of the most demanding majors that we offer as an institution. And I look at where they land when they leave us, at graduate schools, law schools, medical schools, the jobs that they have, and the total package of the student-athlete experience here really seems to contribute to post-AU success."
Dempsey, a wrestler from Kalamazoo, Mich., maintained a 3.95 cumulative GPA, and will graduate summa cum laude with his degree in biology. He will continue both his studies and wrestling career next year as he pursues his M.S. in biology. A 2017 EIWA Academic Achievement Award recipient, Dempsey was also awarded the Grebe Summer Research Award in 2015.
"It's a really huge honor. It's nice to get recognized for a lot of years of hard work, a lot of nights in the library and studying at the kitchen table," Dempsey said. "It's hard to juggle school and a Division I sport. Especially with wrestling when you're getting beat up every day, it's tough sometimes when you come home and you're really tired but you still have to study for a test."
Konerth, a native of Huntington, Md., graduates as one of the most decorated field hockey players in AU program history. The four-time NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coaches Association) Scholar of Distinction and two-time Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year maintained a 4.00 GPA en route to a degree in applied mathematics. On the field, Konerth was a two-time NFHCA Mid-Atlantic Region honoree and two-time first team All-Patriot League and All-Tournament Team award winner.
"I'm just really honored to be recognized, especially alongside Marley as the top female. It's just a nice accumulation of the last four years," Konerth said. "Most schools don't have a President who is so supportive of athletics and the student-athlete life, so it's so cool that at AU we get this opportunity to come to the President's house and that the school really makes it a priority to put the student-athlete first."
Jennings, a soccer player from Devon, Pa., will also graduate with a 4.00 cumulative GPA along with a degree in accounting. A 2015 CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District honoree, Jennings was also a two-time Academic All-Patriot League honoree and 2015 All-Patriot League third team selection.
"I think the best part of this event for me is just being surrounded by all the other student-athletes who take their academics so seriously. It's really cool to see every year all the people from different teams who put so much effort into school as well as their sport," Jennings said. "This is just a special experience."
The full list of AU student-athletes honored at the reception:
Kate Bond, Women's Basketball
Alyssa Colasurdo, Women's Swimming & Diving
Lauren Crisler, Women's Basketball
Allie Day, Women's Soccer
Brett Dempsey, Wrestling
Kayla Flynn, Lacrosse
Marley Jennings, Women's Soccer
Natalie Konerth, Field Hockey
Shannon Scovel, Women's Swimming & Diving
Caylee Watson, Women's Swimming & Diving
Fiona Caulfield, Women's Swimming & Diving
Shannon Exley, Women's Swimming & Diving
Kira Flaherty, Women's Soccer
Maura Jacobs, Field Hockey
Maria Liddane, Women's Basketball
Garrett Muzikowski, Men's Soccer
Shaun Quinn, Men's Soccer
Elina Koskimies, Women's Basketball
Kailee Traficante, Women's Track/Cross Country
Caleb Brown, Men's Track/Cross Country
Garett Clifford, Wrestling
Abraham Correa-Medina, Wrestling
Morgan Lang, Women's Soccer
Katie Marenyi, Women's Basketball
Tim Neumann, Men's Soccer