Senior captain Amanda Graham (Melbourne, Fla. / Eau Gallie) of the Robert Morris University volleyball team was named ESPN Academic All-District First Team for the second consecutive season Thursday in an announcement by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
With the award, Graham becomes the first-ever student-athlete from any Robert Morris sport to earn academic all-district honors three times in her career. Graham captured academic all-district second team honors in her sophomore season in 2008 before garnering first-team recognition a season ago.
With her selection to the first team, Graham moves onto the ballot for Academic All-America consideration.
“This is a very distinguished award because it awards not only athletics, but also the job a student-athlete does in the classroom, which is often overlooked,” head volleyball coach Dale Starr said. “The GPA she has is even more impressive considering her degree plan and the number of hours she has to put in on the court, in the classroom and with her clinicals. I feel very fortunate to have coached her for her senior season.”
This recognition for Graham’s academic and athletic prowess is just the latest for the veteran middle blocker. Graham was named one of 30 semifinalists for the inaugural Lowe’s Senior CLASS Volleyball Award prior to the 2010 season and also received the Northeast Conference’s (NEC) Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for volleyball at the conclusion of the 2009 season.
The nuclear medicine technology major carries a 3.98 cumulative grade-point average. She has made the dean’s list every semester she has attended RMU and has been named to the NEC’s Academic Honor Roll in all three of her years.
Graham is in the midst of another impressive statistical season for the Colonials. She has team-leading totals of 255 kills and 29 service aces and has hit at a .318 clip over 29 matches. She already broke her own single-season block assist record, totaling 101 thus far, and her current total block sum (121) is third in single-season school history in addition to being a career high. Graham was named to two all-tournament teams and has twice been recognized as NEC Co-Player of the Week. She is averaging 1.15 blocks per game, a career high, and is on the verge of recording 100 digs in a season for the first time in her career.
Graham’s 2010 season will cap off the consistent remarkable play throughout her career that has ensured she will leave her name in the RMU record book for years to come. She is a three-time All-NEC honoree, including two first team selections. She has surpassed numerous milestones this season while moving up in the Colonial record book in a litany of categories. Graham has shattered the career block assist record along with topping both 1,000 kills and 400 blocks for her career this season. She currently ranks among the top 10 all-time at RMU in the following categories: first in block assists (334), second in attack percentage (.328), third in total blocks (408), fifth in aces (129) and sixth in kills (1,050).
The RMU volleyball program has had six student-athletes, including Graham, named academic all-district, the third highest total for any sport at Robert Morris.
To be named academic all-district, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale) at his or her current institution. Additionally, student-athletes are not eligible until they have completed one full calendar year at their current institution and have reached sophomore athletic eligibility.