24 Gauchos Garner Big West Academic All-Conference Distinction

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A total of 24 UC Santa Barbara student-athletes that compete in winter or spring Big West Conference sponsored sports were honored with Academic All-Conference honors it was announced on Friday.

To be eligible for the honor, student-athletes must maintain a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, have completed one full year at the institution (sophomore academically) and competed in at least 50 percent of their team’s contests.

Kyle Boswell, who is junior mechanical engineering major, represented the UCSB men’s basketball team on the Big West Academic All-Conference list. Three women’s basketball players – Kelsey Adrian (economics and accounting), Emilie Johnson (psychology) and Kirsten Tilleman (environmental science and management) – made the list.

For the spring sports, sophomores Luke Swenson (undeclared) and Andriana Collins (communication) represented the baseball and softball teams, respectively, with their first conference academic honors.

Men’s tennis players Mathieu Forget (theater) and Benjamin Recknagel (business economics) were both honored as were women’s tennis players Erica Cano (philosophy), Paola Cos (undeclared) and Kiersten Meehan (English).

The track and field teams also had a bevy of honorees. The women’s honorees include Ashley Beechan (microbiology), Cherise Dixon (global studies), Alex Francis (global studies), Helena Montin (microbiology) and Breanne Strenkowski (cell and developmental biology). Representing the men’s track and field team on the list are Nadim Houssain (global studies), Bhavik Kanzaria (physiology), Mike LaRocca (biology), Winton Nguyen (economics and accounting), Alex Umstead (psychology) and Jacob Vowels (history).

Rounding this year’s Gaucho honorees are Rachel Nelson (biology) and Katie Zakula (communication) of the women’s water polo team.

Combined with 16 fall Big West Academic All-Conference recipients, 20 student-athletes that earned Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic accolades and the eight men’s swimmers named to the Pac-12 All-Academic team, a total of 68 Gauchos were honored for their academic achievements during the 2011-12 season.