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NCAA salutes top academic winners from fall championships

A repeat winner in football, along with a three-time recipient and a two-time honoree in different sports, lead the list of 22 student-athletes named as the top academic performers from the NCAA fall championships season.

Senior Jared Kiesow had the distinct honor of winning back-to-back Division III football national championships and Elite 89 awards for Division III’s University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. Liz Phillips, a senior student-athlete at Washington University in St. Louis, was honored with her third Elite 89 award at the 2011 NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Championships. Phillips’ previous two awards came from the 2010 and 2011 Division III indoor track and field championships. Whitney Bishoff, a senior student-athlete at Anderson University (South Carolina), received her Elite 89 award at the 2011 NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country Championships. She also won the award at the 2011 Division II indoor track and field championships.

The Elite 89 award, founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.

All GPAs are based on a straight grading scale to ensure consistency among institutions. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.

Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and competing at the championship.

The 22 award winners by sport and division (I, II, III or National Collegiate), school and major of study and GPA are:

Sport (Division)



Major (GPA)

Men’s Cross Country (I)

Joseph Thompson

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Finance (3.963)

Men’s Cross Country (II)

Dalton Moberly

University of Central Missouri

Social Studies Education (3.950)

Men’s Cross Country (III)

John DeWitt

University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Secondary Education – Mathematics (4.0)

Women’s Cross Country (I)

Ahna Lewis

West Virginia University

Secondary Education and English (4.0)

Women’s Cross Country (II)

*Whitney Bishoff

Anderson University (South Carolina)

Early Childhood Elementary Education (4.0)

Women’s Cross Country (III)

**Liz Phillips

Washington University in St. Louis

Biomedical Engineering (4.0)

Field Hockey (I)

Marta Malmberg

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Psychology (3.933)

Field Hockey (II)

Nancy Stehman

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Special Education (4.0)

Field Hockey (III)

Meredith Jeffries

The College of New Jersey

Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Elementary Education (3.875)

Football (FCS)

Greg Sprowls

Sam Houston State University

Biology (3.750)

Football (II)

Eric Love

Pittsburg State University

Construction Engineering Technology (3.683)

Football (III)

***Jared Kiesow

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Elementary Education (3.894)

Men’s Soccer (I)

Paul Willoughby

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

International Studies (4.0)

Men’s Soccer (II)

Harald Gracholski

Lynn University

Business Administration (4.0)

Men’s Soccer (III)

Brad Wassink

Calvin College

English and Political Science (3.949)

Women’s Soccer (I)

Mollie Pathman

Duke University

Sports Medicine (3.912)

Women’s Soccer (II)

Megan Foster

California State University, Chico

Undeclared (3.942)

Women’s Soccer (III)

Jessica Tarantino

William Smith College

Economics and Mathematics (4.0)

Women’s Volleyball (I)

Amanda Saxton

Florida State University

Media and Communication Studies (4.0)

Women’s Volleyball (II)

Kate Barton

California State University, San Bernardino

Business (4.0)

Women’s Volleyball (III)

Tessa Smolinski

Springfield College

Communication Disorders (4.0)

Men’s Water Polo

Brian Donohoe

University of California, San Diego

History (3.952)

* Won award for 2011 Indoor Track & Field

** Won award for 2010 and 2011 Indoor Track & Field

***Repeat award winner

For more information on the Elite 89 award winners, log on to