CHICAGO – From the football team claiming the NAIA National Championship trophy for the first time in school history to the four other teams that qualified for the NAIA National Championships in their respective sports, the Saint Xavier University Athletics Department had no shortage of worthwhile accomplishments to boast about during the 2011-12 academic year. However, the Cougars also showcased that their national successes were not always limited to the field of play by posting seven of its student-athletes as prestigious Capital One Academic All-America selections. Out of the 557 collegiate institutions in all divisions of NCAA and NAIA that fielded at least one Capital One Academic All-America selection, SXU's seven honorees placed them in a tie with 15 other schools ahead of all, but the top 46 nationwide.
Saint Xavier had the second highest total of Capital One Academic All-America honorees in the state of Illinois trailing only NCAA Division III Wheaton College with eight selections. Broken down by divisions, Stanford University (Calif.) led NCAA Division I schools with 12; California University of Pennsylvania (Pa.) paced NCAA Division II with 13 honorees; the NCAA Division III field was led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 12 selections; while the NAIA finished atop all divisions with Taylor University (Ind.) securing an impressive 20 honorees.
The student-athletes representing SXU on the 2011-12 Capital One Academic All-America teams spanned four different sports. Seniors Patrick Appino (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) and Michael Prosser (Rockton, Ill./Rockton-Hononegah) as well as junior Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) were all members of the NAIA national championship football team. Senior Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) and sophomore Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) represented the Cougar women's and men's basketball teams, respectively. Junior Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) and sophomore Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) earned spots for the Saint Xavier University softball team.
"This recognition truly illustrates that Saint Xavier University Athletics is committed to more than just giving athletes an opportunity to continue playing a sport," said SXU Athletics Director Bob Hallberg. "We are committed to helping our student-athletes get a quality education and find success in whatever they choose to do in life. These seven individuals exemplify that belief and I applaud them for their dedication and pursuit of excellence."
Criteria for being voted to one of the Capital One Academic All-America teams include a student-athlete's combined performances in the classroom and on the field of play. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade-point average (GPA)of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her institution's sports information director.
See the entire list of Capital One Academic All-America Selection rankings for the 2011-12 school year