Thunderbirds Reflect on Memorable Season of SUU Athletics
By SUU Strategic Communication
CEDAR CITY, Utah – Southern Utah University athletics has concluded another year full of pride points, success, and reaching new heights both on and off the playing field.
"This year was filled with successful accomplishments both on and off the fields of play. Academically, student-athletes achieved in the classroom better than the student body at large and set the bar for continued high expectations. Athletically, we witnessed improvement in many of our sports and celebrated with athletes as they reached team and personal goals," interim athletic director Debbie Corum said. "I am so proud to be a part of this group of student-athletes, and I hope you will join me in celebrating their achievements."
Big Sky Conference awards over the 2016-17 season included 39 Thunderbirds being named Player/Athlete of the Week and MRGC Gymnast of the week. Additionally, an impressive 160 Thunderbird student-athletes were named to Big Sky Conference All-Academic teams.
For the 13th time in the history of the program, the Thunderbird gymnastics team claimed the Academic National Championship as the team finished the year with a 3.8867 team GPA. All 18 members of the 2017 gymnastics team earned the title of Scholastic All-Americans.
The Thunderbird track and field program added yet another All-American title to their growing list, as Jayson Kovar competed at the NCAA National Championships in the discus for the second-straight season. Kovar's stellar career as a T-Bird concluded with him earning the title of Honorable Mention All-American, after earning Second Team All-American status in 2016.
Southern Utah University's spring graduation ceremony saw 40 student-athletes receive their degrees, along with an additional 11 who graduated in fall of 2016. The 51 graduates were spread across 18 majors. Included in the Thunderbirds' graduating class was standout soccer player Logan Harker, who finished her college career valedictorian with a cumulative 4.0.
45 graduates finished with a 3.0 GPA or higher, and 25 of those graduated with a 3.5 GPA or higher, which accounts for more than half of Thunderbird student-athlete graduates.
Over the course of the fall and spring semesters, the Thunderbirds combined for a total of 101 4.0s.
At the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year, the overall Thunderbird student-athlete population averaged a 3.2027 spring GPA. The Thunderbirds currently hold a 3.3157 cumulative GPA average across all 370 student-athletes.
Along with the success over the course of the last year, a handful of Thunderbirds have been presented with opportunities to continue their playing days.
The Thunderbird football program saw two players sign as free agents following the 2017 NFL Draft as Steve Wroblewski signed with the Arizona Cardinals and Josh Thornton signed with the Detroit Lions, where he will be joining former-Thunderbird Miles Killebrew. Additionally, Raysean Pringle has signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Along with football standouts, Thunderbird women's basketball star Jessica Richardson has taken her talents to the professional level after signing with La Liga Femenina de Básquetbol, a professional women's basketball league in Argentina.
In the community, Southern Utah student-athletes went above and beyond this year, setting new records for community service outreach. In total, the Thunderbirds racked up more than 7,000 service hours. Service activities were highlighted by the local Shop with a Cop campaign and an SUU Athletics Community Service Day where over 100 student-athletes spent a Saturday giving back to the community.
Keep up with the Thunderbirds by following @SUUThunderbirds on Twitter and Instagram along with liking Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Facebook.