Rachel Conway, a senior Radford University soccer player, has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America® First Team as announced Tuesday by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Conway, who maintains a 4.0 GPA in exercise, sport and health education, is the 16th Highlander and seventh first-teamer, to earn this prestigious academic distinction.
"I'm extremely excited about this accomplishment and sort of at a loss for words," said Conway. "I am so thankful to have even been nominated for such a prestigious award. A recognition like this is not something you really think about while focusing on your school work."
"On behalf of the Radford University community, I want to congratulate Rachel on this most significant national recognition," said RU President Penelope W. Kyle. "To be honored as a first team Academic All-American is a credit to Rachel's talent, hard work and dedication on the field, but more importantly, this award recognizes her successes in the classroom. The achievements of all of RU's student-athletes are a reflection of the commitment shown by Radford's student-athletes, coaches, advisors, professors and staff. Their steadfast focus on academic excellence is validated by this great news."
Conway, the program's first Academic All-America® honoree, is a two-time All-Big South selection and was named to the league's All-Academic team in 2013. A midfielder from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Conway is a member of the Phi Kappa Honors Society and serves as a tutor in Radford's Student-Athlete Support Services department. She was amongst 11 first-team selections that averaged a 3.93 GPA and one of five to sport a perfect 4.0.
"It is an honor to have my dedication to my studies recognized at this level," continued Conway. "I have been fortunate in being surrounded by an excellent support system at Radford. I want to thank all my professors, advisors, and the entire academic staff in the athletic department for everything they have helped me with for the past four years."
Registering four goals and four assists in 2013, she helped the Highlanders (15-3-2, 10-1-1) to their third Big South regular season championship and a conference runner-up finish, following back-to-back Big South Tournament titles in 2011 and 2012.
"The program and athletics department place academic success as the number one priority towards success," said head coach Ben Sohrabi. "Individually, I am proud of Rachel. She works very hard at everything she does, and I feel she is very deserving of this award."
Conway was also a key contributor to the most successful senior class in program history that went 56-19-7 (.726) overall and 31-5-5 (.817) in Big South play, along with winning three league regular season titles and two tournament championships.
"This is a great example of what an individual can achieve at Radford University if you stay focused and have your priorities straight," concluded Sohrabi. "It's an outstanding award for Rachel, the athletics department, and Radford University."
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 19,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.
Radford University CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
First team unless otherwise denoted
1986 – Billy Myers, Honorable Mention (Men's Basketball)
1994 – Samantha Gilbert (Women's Basketball)
1994 – Brian Pardue (Baseball)
1997 – Corey Reed, 3rd Team (Men's Basketball)
1998 – Corey Reed (Men's Basketball)
1999 - Jennifer Grant, 3rd team (Women's Basketball)
2002 – T.J. Rolfing (Men's Soccer)
2003 – Goran Nava (Men's Track & Field/XC)
2004 – Goran Nava (Men's Track & Field/XC)
2004 – Laura Tereby (Women's Golf)
2004 – Patrick Colas, 3rd team (Men's Soccer)
2005 – Patrick Colas, 2nd team (Men's Soccer)
2007 – Steve Mignogna, 2nd Team (Baseball)
2008 – Cassandra Price, 3rd Team (Women's Tennis)
2012 – Brett Olinger – 2nd Team (Men's Track & Field/XC)
2013 – Rachel Conway (Women's Soccer)