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NEC-Best 10 Colonials Earn Scholar-Athlete Honors

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pittsburgh – On the heels of earning the third-highest GPA during the 2010-11 academic year, the Robert Morris University softball team had a league-high 10 student-athletes earn All-America Scholar Athlete recognition for the 2011 season as recently announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

RMU's Northeast Conference-leading total also tops its own mark from a season ago when it had eight student-athletes claim this award. This honor is given to student-athletes who achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the 2010-11 academic year. RMU’s 10 honorees are listed below:

NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes
Student Athlete - Major(s) - 2010-11 GPA

Geena Badolato - Marketing; Management - 3.74 (Double-Major)
Alexa Bryson - Early Childhood Education - 3.97
Jessica Calderone - Sport Management - 3.77
Kayla Crooks - Communication - 3.89
Annie Dubovec - Applied Mathematics - 3.88
Chelsea Evans - Engineering - 3.55
Britta Grafton - Business Education - 3.87
Maritza Jimenez - Engineering - 3.62
Allie Patton - Marketing; Management - 3.78 (Double-Major)
Jaci Timko - Applied Psychology - 3.63 

In a noteworthy display of academic and athletic achievement, all five Colonials who earned All-NEC honors for their performance on the field in 2011 -- Bryson, Dubovec, Jimenez, Patton and Timko -- were also named Scholar Athletes by the NFCA.

The Colonials posted a 3.553 team GPA during the past academic year, surpassing the 3.55 mark for the third straight season, and became the only Division I school to finish among the top five nationally in team GPA in each of the past three seasons.

While this group of 10 Colonials led the way academically for Robert Morris, the rest of their teammates remained close behind. Amazingly, at the conclusion of the spring 2011 semester, each of the 16 Colonials on the squad had an individual cumulative GPA in excess of 3.0. RMU softball student-athletes, representing 12 majors, also posted 12 semester averages above 3.8 during the year, led by junior pitcher Alexa Bryson’s (Greensburg, Pa. / Latrobe Area) perfect 4.0 mark in the spring semester.

These accolades for Robert Morris join an extensive list of recent academic accomplishments of the Colonial softball program.

Senior Annie Dubovec (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) became the program’s first Academic All-American this past May and was also the only female student-athlete in the NEC to earn First Team Academic All-America Honors in any sport in the 2010-11 academic year. Junior Allie Patton (Poland,Ohio / Poland) joined Dubovec in securing Academic All-District First Team honors in 2011, which placed her on the Academic All-American ballot.

Dubovec’s and Patton’s selections pushed the softball program’s all-time Academic All-District total to 15, including 10 in the past six years alone. Furthermore, Robert Morris is the only program in District II, which encompasses all Division I schools in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, to have earned multiple Academic All-District softball selections in each of the past four years.

RMU's academic success in 2011 in no way inhibited the Colonials from performing effectively on the field. RMU won its last six NEC games by a combined score of 48-9, posting post a 15-5 mark in league play, to win its fifth NEC regular-season title. In addition to five Colonials earning all-conference honors, head coach Craig Coleman (also RMU's athletic director), and his assistants were selected as the NEC Coaching Staff of the Year.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.