Student-Athletes Honored at Academic Banquet

Lincoln -- The 16th annual University of Nebraska Student-Athlete Academic Recognition Banquet was held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center Sunday evening. During the event, 193 student-athletes who posted a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average or a 3.0 or higher GPA during the 2005 calendar year were honored.

The banquet, which is a result of the generous contribution made by Dick and Dale Herman, is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Serese Cole, news anchor at KOLN/KGIN, was the emcee for the evening's event. Dr. Jim McClurg, Chairman of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson each shared brief remarks, and those in attendance also enjoyed an academic excellence video.  

The student-athlete-of-the-year awards were presented by Pederson, with senior Ashley Selig (track and field) earning the women's honor, while senior Aaron Plas (track and field) picked up the men's award. Plas is the first men's track and field athlete to win the Male Student Athlete-of-the-Year Award, while Selig is the fifth member of the women's track program to win the award in the 16-year history of the banquet. 

Aaron Plas

Selig is a nutrition, health and exercise science major, who carries a 3.63 cumulative grade-point average. A native of Lincoln , Selig will graduate in May. She is a two-time member of the National Track Coaches Association All-Academic team and has twice been named first-team academic All-Big 12.  

Selig is a five-time All-American as a multi-event standout for Coach Gary Pepin's track program. Selig won the 2005 indoor pentathlon national championship, and has also earned All-America honors in the event in 2004 and 2006. On the outdoor side, Selig earned All-America honors in the heptathlon in both 2004 and 2005. 

A native of McCook, Neb. , Plas is scheduled to graduate in May of 2007 with a degree in business education and a minor in curriculum development. He currently carries a 3.631 cumulative grade-point average and is a two-time selection to the National Track Coaches Association All-Academic team and a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection. 

Plas has also built an impressive athletic resume. He is a three-time All-American in the high jump, earning the status at both the 2005 and 2006 indoor NCAA Championships, as well as the 2005 outdoor meet. He also won the 2005 Big 12 Outdoor High Jump title. 

Also presented Sunday were the 12th annual Herman Awards, named after the Dick and Dale Herman families, for the highest team grade-point average. The awards went to the men's cross country team and the women's tennis team.  

The NU men's cross country squad posted a 3.115 team GPA while the women's tennis team earned an impressive 3.607 team GPA. It is the fifth time the men's cross country team has won the Herman Award and its fourth straight title, while the women's tennis team picked up its second consecutive Herman Award.  

Sunday also marked the third annual presentation of the Life Skills Award, which honors the team that demonstrated the strongest commitment to all phases of the life skills program over the past year, including outreach, education and leadership. The Nebraska women's basketball team earned the award in a tightly contested battle with last year's recipient, the Husker football program. The award was the second in three years for Coach Connie Yori's program, as the women's basketball team also won the inaugural award in 2004. 

The women's basketball and football teams each earned more than 6,000 points in the Life Skills competition, with four other programs reaching the Gold Level, signifying more than 3,000 points. 

Also at Sunday's banquet, Athletic Director Steve Pederson announced the inception of the Clifford Hardin-Bob Devaney Academic Excellence Fund in Athletics. Spearheaded by Dick Herman, the fund will go toward the enhancement of academic support programs for Nebraska student-athletes. With nearly $2 million already raised, this fund will ensure the future succe3ss and national prominence of the Nebraska Athletic Department's academic program.  

Additional awards were given to 193 student-athletes including: 104 honors medallions (bronze) for student-athletes with 3.0 to 3.49 GPAs; 35 high honors medallions (silver) for those with 3.5 to 3.749 GPAs; and 54 highest honors medallions (gold) to those with a 3.75 to 4.0 GPA.  

Approximately 650 people were in attendance, including student-athletes, parents, athletic staff and coaches and UNL instructors.

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