TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State Department of Athletics honored 32 student-athletes on the Doak Campbell Stadium video board during the Seminole Football teams victory over Jacksonville State as 2020 Golden Torch award recipients. The award recipients — including 22 who earned perfect 4.0 Grade Point Averages during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 academic semesters – were honored for their outstanding academic achievements which helped the Seminoles earn a record-setting 3.229 grade point average in the two most recent semesters.
The Student-Athlete Academic Services team is committed to recognizing the academic success of all student-athletes at Florida State. The Athletics Department, in conjunction with Seminole Boosters, honored Florida State’s student-athletes virtually this year. The student-athletes with the highest Grade Point Averages on their respective teams, and the men’s and women’s teams with the highest GPA for the 2019-20 year were all recognized with Golden Torch Awards.
The Seminole tennis team earned the Golden Torch for men’s athletics with a cumulative team GPA of 3.474, while the cross country team won the Golden Torch for women’s athletics with a team GPA of 3.761. It marked the fourth time in the last eight seasons that the tennis team had won the men’s Golden Torch, and the first time since 2007 that the cross country team was awarded the women’s Golden Torch.
The 458 student-athletes combined for a school-best 3.404 GPA during the spring of 2020 – the highest ever for a single semester in school history. Additionally, the entirety of the student-athlete population had a school-record best 3.181 cumulative grade point average at the end of the spring 2020.
“I am extremely pleased by the academic success of our student-athletes because they faced seemingly insurmountable challenges during the pandemic and met all of those challenges head-on,” said Director of Athletics David Coburn. “We are very proud of the unconquered spirit of the student-athletes and commend the efforts of the coaching staffs who worked to keep their teams together and focused on their academic goals when the university was forced to begin virtual learning. The tireless work by Dr. Kacy King and her entire staff has been incredible as they helped our student-athletes soar to record heights while most of them were away from campus.”
In winning the Golden Torch for the highest team GPA, the women’s cross country team totaled six award winners each with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. The six cross country winners included Addison Coggins (Marketing), Ginelle Demone (Family and Child Sciences), Rachel Johnson (Dietetics), Jennifer Lima (Exercise Physiology/Family and Child Sciences), Abagail Schrobilgen (Dietetics) and Eleanor Wallace (Marketing).
“I think it’s special for any team when they win the Golden Torch because it means that they are more than just a group of athletes that are good at their sport,” said Women’s Cross Country Head Coach Kelly Phillips. “To have the size of the team that we do, and to have as many 4.0 athletes that we do, shows how truly special this group of student athletes are.”
Four members of the swimming and diving teams were honored for the academic success. Gavin Jones (Political Science), Chad McGuire (Computer Science) and Scott Pekarske (Biological Science) all earned President’s List honors with perfect 4.0 Grade Point Averages on the men’s side. Madeleine McDonald (Biological Science) of the women’s swimming and diving teams was also honored, as she too, earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.
The indoor volleyball team also performed will in the classroom on the last two semesters with four members of NCAA Tournament participants earning individual Golden Torch awards. Winners from the volleyball team included Alyssa Collins (Psychology), Taryn Knuth (Sport Management), Jessica Nunge (Pre-Colinical Professions) and Taylor Roberts (Social Work) were all President’s List and Golden Torch honorees.
The soccer team, currently ranked No. 2 nationally, totaled three winners with Gabrielle Carle (Exercise Physiology), Kristina Lynch (Biology) and Jenna Nighswonger (Finance) all earning Golden Torch awards for academic achievement.
“I’m incredibly proud of the hard work of our students, staff, and coaches during a most unusual year,” said King. “The switch from in person learning to a remote term was challenging for all students, high achievers included. For us to have so many student-athletes maintain a 4.0 over both semester is truly impressive. We are proud to highlight the work our students achieved in the classroom.”
2020 Golden Torch Honorees
Baseball, Chris Ruckdeschel, Management, 4.0
Football, Keoki Abasial, Accounting, 3.972
Basketball, Harrison Prieto, Meteorology, 3.75
Men’s Cross Country, Clayton Carlson, Mechanical Engineering, 3.807
Men’s Cross Country, Kasey Knevelbaard, Sport Management (Master’s), 3.714
Men’s Golf, Greyson Porter, Management Information Systems, 3.260
Men’s Swimming and Diving, Gavin Jones, Political Science, 4.0
Men’s Swimming and Diving, Chad McGuire, Computer Science, 4.0
Men’s Swimming and Diving, Scott Pekarske, Biological Sciences, 4.0
Men’s Tennis, Enzo Le Seguillon, Interdisciplinary Social Science, 4.0
Men’s Track and Field, Dante Newberg, Sport Management (Masters), 3.787
Beach Volleyball, Alexandra McKeown, Biological Science, 4.0
Beach Volleyball, Erin Murphy, Computer Engineering, 4.0
Soccer, Gabrielle Carle, Exercise Physiology, 4.0
Soccer, Kristina Lynch, Biology, 4.0
Soccer, Jenna Nighswonger, Finance, 4.0
Softball, Kathryn Sandercock, Psychology, 3.868
Volleyball, Alyssa Collins, Psychology, 4.0
Volleyball, Taryn Knuth, Sport Management, 4.0
Volleyball, Jessica Nunge, Pre-Colinical Professions, 4.0
Volleyball, Taylor Roberts, Social Work, 4.0
Women’s Basketball, Savannah Wilkinson, Media/Communication Studies, 4.0
Women’s Cross Country, Addison Coggins, Marketing, 4.0
Women’s Cross Country, Ginelle Demone, Family and Child Sciences, 4.0
Women’s Cross Country, Rachel Johnson, Dietetics, 4.0
Women’s Cross Country, Jennifer Lima, Exercise Physiology/Family and Child Sciences, 4.0
Women’s Cross Country, Abigail Schrobilgen, Dietetics, 4.0
Women’s Cross Country, Eleanor Wallace, Marketing, 4.0
Women’s Golf, Elle Johnson, Biological Science, 4.0
Women’s Swimming and Diving, Madeleine McDonald, Biological Science, 4.0
Women’s Tennis, Emmanuelle Salas, Management, 3.95
Women’s Track and Field, Kayla Maczuga, Exercise Physiology, 3.905