Southern Utah University gymnastics finished the 2011 season second in the nation in academics with 12 gymnasts earning NACGC/W academic all-American citations. The Thunderbirds finished the 2011 season with a team GPA of 3.8050, second only to Southeast Missouri State which finished with a 3.9118.
"When you can finish in the top three in academics it is a great thing," head coach Scott Bauman said. "We expect to be up there every year and expect a lot out of our girls. It really reflects on the student-athletes that we bring into our program, we want kinds who are great gymnasts and great academically."
The Thunderbirds haven't finished lower than third during Bauman's 21 years at Southern Utah University, earning the academic national championship 11 times.
Southern Utah finished first in the state, ahead of Utah (third, 3.7631), Utah State (19th, 3.4489) and Brigham Young (60th, 3.0171). Other Western Athletic Conference schools appearing in the list included San Jose State (25th, 3.4167), Boise State (41st, 3.2859) and Sacramento State (50th, 3.2570).
Three of the Thunderbirds' individual recipients earned a 4.0 during the final semester of 2011, including Lindsey Schultz, Ari Lamb and Caitlin Kennedy. Five more were right behind with GPA's over a 3.9, including Jenna Vogt (3.92), Jennifer Nguyen (3.92), Rebecca Moore (3.96), Lauren Jeffrey (3.94) and Shannon Coughlin (3.97). Bailey Pendley (3.84), Brooke Cersosimo (3.88), Michaela Chernoch (3.59) and Anna Schumacher (3.83) rounded out the list.
SUU gymnastics is preparing to open its 2012 season when the team hosts the University of Missouri on January 13. Fans will be able to get an early peak of the team when the Thunderbirds host the Red/White Preview on January 10. Both events are scheduled to take place in the Centrum Arena at 7 p.m.