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Clayton State athletes excel in classroom

From Staff Reports

The Clayton State University Athletics program had one of its finest years in history on the playing field in 2004-05, and in addition, had several student-athletes excel in the classroom as well.

The Laker program recently had 40 student-athletes named to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll, which is nearly 30 percent of the total student-athletes in the program. To be named to the PBC Presidential Honor, a student must achieve a 3.0 grade point average or better during the academic year.

Clayton State's women's soccer team had the most PBC Presidential honorees with 10 players receiving the award. Receiving the award were: Tiffany Bales, Deahdra Bowier, Jill Kowalczyk, Chioma Mbonu, Jacky Nieto, Debby Okosieme, Nkiru Okosieme, Florence Okpala, Jennifer Winslett, Olaitan Yusuf.

The Lakers's women's cross country team had eight members receive the honor in Amy Captain, Heather Krehbiel, Brittany Precht, Marissa Reyes, Nicole Sisk, Tanika Smit, Beatrice Wade and Brittany West.

Clayton State's Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament champion women's basketball team had five members make the honor roll in Basia Bukowska, Cynthia Conseil, Shelcey Harp, April Taylor and Shanakie Ward.

Men's soccer players Shaun Baddock, Alex Dowling, Daniel English and Andre Rall were also named to the PBC honor roll, along with men's basketball players Craig Butts and Aristide Sawadogo and men's golfers Matt Beall and Steven Sanders. Brian Etelman, Jed Foster and Eric Simmons were named Presidential scholars off the men's track and field team, while women's tennis players Daniela Petkova and Katrin Gutknecht were also on the list.

Clayton State had a trio of players receive region and national academic honors this season in cross-country runner Precht, women's soccer player N. Okosieme and golfer Sanders. Precht was named to the Cross Country Coaches Association Academic Team, while Okosieme and Sanders were named to the Academic All-America District teams for their respective sports.

Clayton State is coming off its finest season in Peach Belt Conference play, finishing third in the league's Commissioner's Cup standings out of 12 schools. The Cup standings measure success of the teams in league play for an academic year. Home of 23 national championships since its inception in 1991, the PBC is arguably the top NCAA Division II conference in the country.

The Lakers top finish in 2004-05 was in women's basketball with the Lakers, winning the PBC Championship along with the tournament championship. Out of Clayton State's eight team sports in the Peach Belt competition, five of the Laker teams placed third or better this season.

Individually, Clayton State also had a banner year with seven student-athletes named All-Americas, a NCAA scoring leader in women's soccer, the PBC Player of the Year in women's soccer, a runner-up at the NCAA Women's National Cross Country Championships, the PBC Women's Runner of the Year, the PBC Women's Cross Country Freshman of the Year, the International Collegiate Tennis Association's Rookie of the Year and the PBC Women's Tennis Freshman of the Year.