USC Track Team Wins National Grade Point Average Award, Solomon wins National Academic Award
The women's track and field team has been awarded the All-Academic Team of the Year nationally by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), an award that is chosen based on team GPA and national championship finish by the team. Individually, Carolina's Shalonda Solomon was named the Female National Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The team will be honored in front of more than 85,000 fans during the first half of the Georgia football game Sat., Sept. 9. Joining Coach Frye and the women's track team on the field will be USC President Dr. Sorensen, USC Athletics Director Eric Hyman and Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA.
The team had a 3.1 GPA in the Spring of 2006.
The team has proven to be one of the elite programs in college athletics, finishing third at the NCAA Outdoor meet in June after winning the title in 2002 and finishing as the runner-up in 2005. It has finished in the top 10 nationally outdoors 11 years straight - a feat matched by only two other programs in the country.
Solomon, the SEC Indoor Athlete of the Year and a two-time NCAA champion, set four school records this past year in addition to being named a GTE District III Academic All-American.
Precious Akins, Natasha Hastings, Amberly Nesbitt and Vica Shobe all finished with a 3.25 GPA or better. Nesbitt was crowned the NCAA's fastest woman in June when she won the 100 meters at the NCAA Championships and Hastings is a member of the Honors College.
Sam Seemes, CEO of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA)
"This is a great example of how academics and athletics mix in a positive manner in the university athletic system. USC is a perfect example of how student-athletes as well as a university-sponsored athletic program can excel in the classroom as well as in the competition arena. The University, its coaches and staff and student athletes should stand proud of this accomplishment as it exemplifies the term `student-athlete'.
"We all cherish a championship won by an individual or a team and fully understand its meaning. However, in collegiate athletics what the general public doesn't sometimes understand is the life of the student-athlete outside of their sport. As a society it would be great if we could recognize these same national championship efforts by a student-athlete in the classroom as well. Shalonda Solomon has proved to be a true national champion not only on the track with her many championships, but in the classroom as well. I applaud the Gamecocks' efforts."
Curtis Frye, USC Head Track and Field Coach (entering his 11th season at Carolina)
"As a coach it's the highest honor for an athletic team. I am as proud, if not prouder, as the night we won the NCAA title in 2002 because education lasts longer than a championship. Winning this award sets the bar even higher for our teams this season and for years to come."