Gaucho golfers honored as All-America Scholars
Brett Bennett and Justin Sheparovich topped UCSB’s leaderboard the last time they played in a golf tournament, and now they’ve also gone to the head of the class.
Bennett and Sheparovich were both named Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars for 2020. The Gauchos also earned All-Academic Team honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America.
“This award represents the epitomé of being a Division I student-golfer,” coach Steve Lass said. “Playing well at the D-I level is extremely time consuming, and to combine that with outstanding grades at a prestigious academic university such as UCSB is quite an accomplishment.”
Bennett finished sixth out of 66 golfers at the Sacramento Invitational in his last event before the 2020 season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sheparovich placed 17th.
The Gaucho pair also made last year’s All-America Scholar List. Twenty Gauchos have received the honor since 2000.
To be eligible, a golfer must be a junior or senior academically, participate in at least half of his team’s events, maintain a stroke average of at least 76.0 and a cumulative grade-point average of 3.2, and display high moral character.
The team award goes to golf programs which compile a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. UCSB is currently at 3.24.
GAUCHO WOMEN HONORED
UCSB women’s teams in volleyball and water polo have both been honored for academic excellence.
The Gauchos received the U.S. Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the sixth consecutive year.
The award honors volleyball programs that maintain a year-long team GPA of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale, or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale. UCSB earned a 3.63 team GPA in the winter and broke the program record in the spring quarter with a 3.70.
UCSB also placed 10 women on the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches’ All-Academic lists.
The ACWPC also recognized the team for earning a cumulative 3.30 GPA.
Westmont men’s tennis was honored as an All-Academic Team and Benjamin Saito was named a Scholar-Athlete by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
To qualify, a team must have a GPA of at least 3.2 and an athlete must be at 3.5 or higher.
“The academic team award is very important to our program since it is a reflection of the time, effort and commitment that our players are putting into their studies,” coach Mark Basham said.
Saito, an Augustinian Scholar, played at the No. 3 and No. 4 singles positions this spring as a Westmont freshman.
“Benny Saito is incredibly valuable to our program in every imaginable way I can think of,” Basham said, “from his academic excellence, his leadership abilities, his work ethic … He is a wonderful Christian role model, and he is an engaging, enthusiastic and caring teammate.”
Four other Westmont teams also received academic recognition for last season.
Its men’s basketball program earned the Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for having a team GPA of at least 3.0.
Jordan Spaschak, Josiah Esselstrom and Hunter Sipe were also selected to the 2019-20 NABC Honors Court for being a junior or senior with at least a 3.2 GPA.
Men’s (3.15 GPA) and women’s (3.42 GPA) track and field were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as All-Academic Teams.
Jason Peterson, Danny Rubin and Seth Wilmoth were named All-Academic Athletes on the men’s side, while Charlotte Combrink, Casey Jensen, Emily Parks, Chena Underhill and Nadya Wisham joined them on the women’s side. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 is required for the honor.
Westmont women’s swimming was one of 19 NAIA programs to be named a Scholar All-America Team by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America for the spring semester. The first-year program also earned the honor in the 2019 fall semester.