(St. Peter, Minn., June 24, 2004) — Five Gustavus Adolphus College student athletes have been named to Academic All-America teams sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The five include senior golfers Luke Benoit and Neil Johnson, senior track sprinter Stephen Handler, junior gymnast Amanda Parker and sophomore baseball player Ben Sherer. Gustavus ranks 15th all-time in Division III in number of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans with 50.
Golfers Luke Benoit (Senior, Faribault, Minn.) and Neil Johnson (Senior, River Falls, Wisc.) have been named to the College Division At-Large team which consists of student athletes from the sports of golf, rifle, volleyball, gymnastics, skiing, water polo, fencing, ice hockey, swimming, wrestling, lacrosse and tennis. Benoit, who was named to the first team, finished second individually at the NCAA Golf Championships and helped the Gusties to their first-ever national team title this spring. The Faribault native tied a NCAA Division III record with a seven-under par score of 65 in the final round of the national tournament. He was a three-time Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-American. Benoit, who recently graduated with honors, compiled a 3.59 grade point average with a major in finance. Johnson, who was named to the second team, finished tenth individually and was also a key contributor on the Gusties national championship team. The River Falls, Wisconsin native was a four-time All-Conference selection and a three-time All-American. He finished fourth individually at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Johnson, who recently graduated with honors, compiled a 3.55 grade point average with a major in finance.
Gymnast Amanda Parker (Junior, Ames, Iowa) has been named to the College Division At-Large first team. Parker finished second in the All-Around at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Assocation (NCGA) Division III Championships. She won the NCGA All-Around title in 2002 and finished sixth last year. She has helped the Gusties to three consecutive top five team finishes at the NCGA Championships. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America selection, Parker was named to the second team last year. She maintains a 3.985 grade point average with a major in political science.
Track sprinter Stephen Handler (Senior, Shellsburg, Iowa) has been named to the College Division Track and Cross Country first team. Handler was a member of the 4×400 relay team that finished third at the 2004 MIAC Championships and he also finished sixth in both the 200 and 400 meter dashes. The Shellsburg, Iowa native, earned All-America honors in 2002 as a member of the 4×100 relay team that finished seventh at the NCAA Championships. Handler, who recently graduated summa cum laude with a 3.98 grade point average, majored in biology.
Baseball player Ben Sherer (Sophomore, Bismarck, North Dakota) has been named to the College Division Baseball third team. Sherer, a first baseman, was named the MIAC’s Most Valuable Player this year after winning the league batting title with a .513 average. He was also named First Team All-Region. The Bismarck, North Dakota native, helped the Gusties compile a record of 29-15 and advance to the championship game of the MIAC Playoff Tournament. Sherer maintains a 3.92 grade point average with a major in biology.
The Verizon Academic All-America® Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member College Sports Information Directors of America. To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to district teams prior to being voted upon the national level. CoSIDA has been selecting Academic All-America® Teams since 1952.