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Top college athletes to be honored by NCAA

The NCAA will honor 10 exemplary college athletes – the 2016 Today’s Top 10 Award winners – at the NCAA Convention in January.

The award recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2014-15 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration during the Convention in San Antonio.

The NCAA Honors Committee, which selects the honorees, is comprised of representatives from member schools and conferences, as well as nationally distinguished former college athletes.

Before 2013, the award recognized eight student-athletes and was known as Today’s Top VIII. The NCAA Honors Committee expanded the award to include 10 honorees to recognize the increased number of college athletes, sports and championship opportunities.

Ana Bogdanovski

School: Johns Hopkins University
Conference: Centennial

[Introduction Video]

Ten-time NCAA champion Ana Bogdanovski was a force in the pool and in the classroom during her collegiate swimming career at Johns Hopkins University. In four years, she earned 23 All-America honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, won 11 conference championships and set seven school records. The team captain also set an example of academic excellence. Bogdanovski received back-to-back Capital One Division III Academic All-America of the Year At-Large honors in 2014 and 2015. She conducted research on the effects of air pollution, participated in clinical observation shadowing doctors, and received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which she is using to begin medical school at Rutgers University in the fall of 2016.

Matt Brown

School: Pennsylvania State University
Conference: Big Ten

[Introduction Video]

Matt Brown won an individual NCAA championship in wrestling in 2015 in the 174-pound weight class, but his consistent performance over four years and leadership as a team captain helped steer Penn State’s wrestling team to three consecutive Big Ten titles and NCAA championships. The three-time All-American also took home multiple academic honors, including the 2013 NCAA Elite 89 Award, presented to the student-athlete at a championship with the highest cumulative grade-point average, and three straight National Wrestling Coaches Association First Team All-Academic awards. He received back-to-back Capital One Academic All-America honors, and was selected the 2015 Capital One Men’s Academic All-American of the Year At-Large. Brown also served as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard and went on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lucy Cheadle

School: Washington University in St. Louis
Conference: University Athletic Association

[Introduction Video]

Washington University in St. Louis distance runner Lucy Cheadle dominated on the cross country course, on the track and in her studies. A three-time individual NCAA champion (twice in the 3,000 steeplechase and once in the indoor track and field 5,000), she was also a member of the 2011 Division III women’s cross country champion team. The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association recognized Cheadle with All-America honors 13 times. She holds three school records – in the indoor 3,000 and 5,000 events, and the outdoor 3,000 steeplechase. In 2015, Cheadle earned Capital One Division III Cross Country/Track and Field Academic All-America of the Year honors, after being recognized with Capital One Academic All-America honors in 2014 and 2015. She also served on her campus student-athlete advisory committee and volunteered with Engineers without Borders.

John Coleman

School: Clarkson University
Conference: Liberty League

[Introduction Video]

Competing in both men’s basketball and baseball at Clarkson University, John Coleman earned multiple accolades for athletics performance. The Liberty League named him Player of the Year in both sports during his senior year, making him the first non-track and field or cross country athlete in conference history to be selected for the honor in two sports. Coleman finished his basketball career as an all-time school leader in points, field goals made, field goal percentage and steals. He finished his baseball career ranking in the top 10 in school history in hits, runs, batting average and on-base percentage. In 2014-15, he earned Capital One Academic All-American of the Year honors. Coleman also graduated from the school’s honors program, earning several awards for mathematics achievement, while finding time to volunteer as a math tutor and baseball instructor. Coleman is now working on a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

Georgia Dabritz

School: University of Utah
Conference: Pac-12

[Introduction Video]

Georgia Dabritz, a 16-time All-American from the University of Utah, is the only gymnast in NCAA history to score a perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars in both the NCAA semifinal and Super Six. After accomplishing that feat on the first two days of the 2015 championships and leading Utah to a runner-up team finish, she won the uneven bar title in event finals. Winner of the AAI Award for Senior Gymnast of the Year, a team captain and three-time Utah MVP, she led Utah to back-to-back Pac-12 championships and captured six individual Pac-12 titles. She won every major Pac-12 award during her career: Gymnast of the Year, Specialist of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Away from college competition, she was a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic National Team. Dabritz also earned Capital One Academic All-America honors. She made three Pac-12 All-Academic teams and earned a 4.0 GPA her last semester – another perfect score.

Kristin Day

School: Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Conference: Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference

[Introduction Video]

Kristin Day, the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year, won three individual national championships in diving events and set an NCAA diving record in points on the 3-meter while competing at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Her outstanding diving performances earned her eight All-America honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. In 2014, the CSCAA named her the Division II Diver of the Year. Day also competed internationally in the trampoline but elected to focus more on her studies. In 2014, Day won the Elite 89 Award, presented to the college athlete competing at an NCAA championship with the highest GPA. She also earned Capital One Division II Academic All-America of the Year honors in back-to-back years. The two-year captain served one year on her campus student-athlete advisory committee and as chief financial officer for her family’s Ride for Research initiative, which has raised more than $60,000 for cancer research. She is now attending medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Ruben Gimenez

School: University of Bridgeport
Conference: Metropolitan Conference

[Introduction Video]

Four-time individual NCAA champion Ruben Gimenez holds six University of Bridgeport swimming records, including three individual times and three relay times. A 20-time All-American, he won 24 Metropolitan Conference championships and led his team to four top-three finishes at the conference championships. His academic accolades were also plentiful. Gimenez earned back-to-back Division II Capital One Men’s Academic All-America of the Year At-Large honors, and was a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America Academic All-American. Gimenez also led his team out of the pool, serving on the student-athlete advisory committee and volunteering with several local organizations. He interned at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., in 2014, and is now working with BlackRock, Inc., the largest asset manager in the world.

Kendra Harrison

School: University of Kentucky
Conference: Southeastern

[Introduction Video]

Kendra Harrison hurdled her way into Southeastern Conference and University of Kentucky history. The track and field star set four school records and one conference record on her way to eight individual conference championships and two individual NCAA championships. She is the only woman in NCAA history to rank in the top five in the 60-meter hurdles, 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles, and collected 10 All-America honors from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. In 2015, Harrison was named the National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, and she was a finalist for the Bowerman Award. She also had a distinguished academic career, spending two consecutive years on the SEC honor roll. In 2015, she earned Capital One Academic All-America honors.

Colleen Quigley

School: Florida State University
Conference: Atlantic Coast

[Introduction Video]

Colleen Quigley, a captain for the track and cross country teams at Florida State University, helped propel her teams to multiple conference championships. The nine-time All-American won the 2015 national championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with the third-fastest time in NCAA history. She was also recognized as the 2015 USTFCCCA Outdoor Women’s Track Scholar Athlete of the Year. Quigley holds three Florida State and ACC records on the track, and was named the 2013 ACC Women’s Cross Country Performer of the Year and 2015 ACC Women’s Outdoor Track Performer of the Year. Quigley was unstoppable in academics as well. She was named the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field, and earned Capital One Academic All-America honors in 2014 and 2015. She also received the Golden Nole Award twice in recognition of her contributions made on the field, in the classroom and in the community, which included spearheading a department-wide Soles for Souls shoe drive, collecting shoes for the needy.

Zach Zenner

School: South Dakota State University
Conference: Missouri Valley Football Conference

[Introduction Video]

South Dakota State University football star Zach Zenner graduated with a degree in biology and seven records in football. He is the only player in Division I history to rush for 2,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He also holds Missouri Valley Football Conference records for career touchdowns (69) and career rushing touchdowns (61). He is the only player in school history with three consecutive 1,500-yard seasons, and holds the school records for carries (351), as well as the single-game rushing record (295 yards). In the NFL, Zenner is a running back for the Detroit Lions. The three-time AFCA All-American also earned Capital One Academic All-America honors in 2013 and 2014, and in 2014 was named the Capital One Academic All-America Team Member of the Year. He received the Joseph F. Nelson Undergraduate Research Award in 2013 for colon cancer research, and was later awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2014. He capped his senior season as a member of the AFCA Good Works team, in recognition of his work in community service as well as academics and athletics.

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