Cunningham named ACC indoor track scholar-athlete of year

A month after the indoor track & field season was cut short, Florida State junior Trey Cunningham and his teammates remain awash in awards.

Cunningham was named the ACC Men’s Indoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year Friday, joining nine other Seminoles recognized as All-ACC Academic honorees. He is the first FSU men’s indoor athlete to win the award since Mark Buckingham in 2008.

The distinction completes a season sweep of the ACC’s top men’s indoor honors as he was voted ACC Track Performer of the Year by the league’s coaches two weeks ago. The Winfield, Ala., native is the first to double as Indoor Track Performer of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year in conference history.

“What more can you say about Trey?” said FSU coach Bob Braman. “He’s No. 1 in the country, has the ACC record and is the best-ever in our conference in the hurdles, which includes national champions… And oh, by the way, he’s just a brilliant student.”

A public relations major, Cunningham posted a 3.667 grade point average in the fall and is a two-time selection to the FSU Dean’s List. On the track he had no peers this season. His nation-leading time of 7.51 in the 60-meter hurdles is seventh-fastest in collegiate history and good for both the ACC and Florida State records.

Unbeaten against collegiate competition, the season-long member of The Bowerman watch list was the USTFCCCA South Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year and one of three finalists for National Men’s Track Athlete of the Year.

He capped his campaign by becoming the first three-time ACC champion in the hurdles, breaking his own conference championship record and helping the Noles to their third consecutive team title.

“He’s a super competitive guy,” Braman said. “He’s going to attack everything as hard as he can and wants to be the best at whatever he does. He’s a guy that doesn’t like to sit around. He likes to work, he likes to be busy and he likes to be productive. That’s really, really special and it’s great that he’s a Florida State Seminole.”

Cunningham was one of six members of the ACC champion men’s team to be named to the All-ACC Academic team; the most by the men’s program since 2013. Senior Bert Freire, a finance major, and Cunningham were each recognized for the second time in their careers. 

They were joined by four first-time honorees in seniors Kyle Fearrington (sport management) and Caleb Parker (social science) and sport management graduate students Kasey Knevelbaard and Dante Newberg. All six contributed All-ACC scoring performances to the Noles’ 13th ACC indoor title.

Junior Maudie Skyring, an exercise physiology major, was named All-ACC Academic for the third consecutive season to lead a quartet of multi-time honorees among the women.

Seniors Janae Caldwell (theatre) and Nadia Maffo (international affairs) were joined by junior Jayla Kirkland (sport management). All three women were making their second appearance on the team.

With the men and women combining for 10 representatives on the squad, the Noles trailed only Virginia Tech in total All-ACC Academic honorees.

“I’m really proud of our student-athletes,” Braman said. “Every year our men and women are the ACC leader or runner-up in number of total honorees. That’s amazing considering the quality of the universities in our conference. Our kids take a lot of pride in competing academically against such great student-athletes.”

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