A Florida State school-record 301 student athletes – a more than a 16-percent increase from a year ago – have been named to the 2020 ACC Academic Honor Roll. The swimming and diving teams led the way with 58 student-athletes selected, while 39 members of the football team are represented as well. The football team achieved a 3.177 cumulative grade-point average during the spring of 2020, the highest in school history. The men’s and women’s track and field teams totaled 31 selections to the list, while soccer and beach volleyball totaled 17 each. The 17 selections by the soccer team tied the program record (also in 2001 and 2012) while the 17 selections from beach volleyball were just two off of the school record of 19 set in 2018.
“We are very pleased with the academic accomplishments of our student-athletes this year, particularly given the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic,” said FSU Director of Athletics David Coburn. “Our student-athletes remained focus on the top priority while, in the case of our spring sports, dealing with the bitter disappointment of having their seasons canceled. Our academic services staff did an outstanding job with a support plan for the unique challenges they faced.”
The ACC Academic Honor Roll consists of student-athletes who participated in a varsity-level sport and registered a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better for the full academic year. The conference recognized a record 5,609 student-athletes for their hard work in the classroom.
For the swimming and diving teams, coached by Neal Studd, the women earned a 3.70 GPA and the men a 3.63 GPA during the spring semester.
“It’s awesome that our student-athletes understand the most important part of being at Florida State,” said Studd. “From top to bottom the team had an awesome year academically. We are so proud of them and how they have persevered through tough times.”
Among the 301 Seminoles named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll were four student-athletes who were named as the 2020 ACC Scholar Athletes in their respective sports: Trey Cunningham (indoor track and field) Molly Carlson (women’s swimming and diving), Trent Forrest (men’s basketball) and Taryn Knuth (volleyball). With four ACC Scholar Athletes of the Year in 2019, Florida State ranked second in the ACC – behind only Virginia’s five.
Four Seminoles – Sarah Candiano, Mandy Lewis and Kayla Maczuga of the women’s track and field team and Chase Haney of the baseball team – were all named to the ACC Honor Roll for the fifth time in their careers.
“I’ve always held academics as a high priority,” said Maczuga. “It’s hard being a student and an athlete, but academics has always been a big part of me being a student-athlete, because I plan on going into a master’s program. I knew my grades had to be a big part of that. I just tried to put 100-percent effort into both. Looking back at it now, I’m so glad to be done, because college is hard. There are a lot of hard times, pulling those all-nighters studying for exams, but looking back at it, it was so worth it. They say, ‘Pain is temporary but GPA is forever.’ That’s so true. You’ll carry your GPA with you when you apply for future jobs. All those all-nighters were worth it.”
Additionally, four student-athletes (Carlson, Knuth, Ka’tia Seymour from track and field and Malia Berkeley from soccer) were named ACC Performers of the Year in their respective sports and to the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Carlson was named the ACC Women’s Diver of the Year, Knuth the ACC Volleyball Defensive Player of the Year, Seymour the ACC Indoor Track Performer of the Year and the ACC Indoor Championships Most Valuable Player and Berkeley was named the ACC Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year.
The men’s indoor track and field team, which won the 2020 ACC Championship, was represented by eight selections on the ACC Academic Honor Roll, including Cunningham and ACC Indoor Freshman of the Year Taylor Banks.
“The academic aspect of being a student-athlete has always been a priority to me,” said Banks. “Without having good grades, you won’t be able to perform as an athlete. It’s important to focus on being an elite student first, before focusing on being an elite athlete…Making the ACC Honor Roll is an honor, and it shows that I’m not just elite on the track, but I’m elite in the classroom as well.”
Eight members of Florida State’s ACC championship men’s basketball team were named to the Honor Roll, marking the fourth consecutive season at least seven members of the team had been named to the prestigious academic list.
“It is truly an honor to be named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll,” said junior Nathanael Jack, one of the team’s eight selections. “I am especially honored because this was one of my goals to achieve during my career at Florida State. My dad always made sure that my brothers and I understood that we were ‘STUDENT’-athletes (students first). I promised him I would do well in my academics, so I did.”
Sayawni Lassiter was one of a record 11 members of the nationally prominent Seminole women’s basketball team to be honored.
“One of my many goals at Florida State is to become a Rhodes Scholar, and that aspiration has driven me to succeed in the classroom,” said Lassiter. “This All-ACC honor is a stepping-stone to my overall goal and I’m so happy to achieve it. As far as my team, I’m so proud of us and our ability to put the student in student-athlete. As a team, we take pride in not only our athletics but our academics as well, and I’m so proud to be a part of a team and program that values us as more than just athletes.”
Dr. Kacy King, an Associate Director of Athletics and the Director of the Student Athlete Academic Services Unit, knows how hard the Seminole student-athletes and her staff worked to achieve this year’s academic success.
“We are so proud of the effort of our student-athletes this year as they set another ACC Honor Roll record,” said King. “This academic achievement showcases the hard work of the students, SAAS staff, and coaches for their continued engagement in the academic environment.”