After being recognized for what they did on the field of play, it was time for some exceptional Ohio State student-athletes to be recognized for what they did off it.
A total of 511 student-athletes were honored as Ohio State Scholar-Athletes at the 47th Annual Scholar-Athlete Dinner in the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union Monday.
The dinner recognized those student-athletes who maintained a 3.0 GPA during the 2013-14 school year, as well as other notable academic achievements.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor, a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship given annually for the past 100 years to graduating student-athletes who have showed high academic and athletic proficiency was given to senior rowing team member Allison Elber and senior men’s basketball player Aaron Craft.
“I feel very humbled and blessed to be in this situation,” Craft said, addressing the audience.
There were eight finalists for the award: tennis player Peter Kobelt, gymnast Michael Newburger, lacrosse player Logan Schuss, track and field athlete Korbin Smith, synchronized swimmer Chelsea Aton, swimmer Alex Norris, field hockey player Berta Queralt and gymnast Melanie Shaffer.
Fifteen student-athletes received honors for a having 4.0 cumulative GPA.
“I’m very, very honored by it,” Norris said, who received the Leann Grimes-Davidage Award, given to a female athlete with academic and community involvement.
“It’s huge, Leann had so many accomplishments and just to hear her stories of what she did and what she accomplished and what her whole family accomplished is really impressive,” Norris said.
Jane Lankes, a third-year in sociology and psychology on the rifle team, said she valued the time OSU took to take a step back and see what her and others did in the classroom as well as in the field of play.
“We’re always recognized for our athletic achievement, I think pretty regularly, so I think it’s kind of nice to have recognition of academics too,” Lankes said.
For some OSU students performing well academically is already difficult without the added pressures of playing a collegiate sport, but playing a sport can help them move forward in their classes.
“The busier you get the more you learn how to manage your time … the more you have on your plate the better you get at time management and strategies and studying smart as opposed to studying everything,” said Megan Polonsky, a third-year in medical laboratory science on the rifle team.
Others said one’s ability to perform well in academics and sports come down to prioritization.
“I get work done first before I can play,” said freshman wrestler Blake Riley-Hawkins.
In his speech at the dinner, OSU Interim President Joseph Alutto said the student-athletes were being honored not purely for their scholastic or academic achievement but for their yearn for knowledge.
“You’re here because you know one of the things you want from university is an education … you understand what’s happening around you, you understand the dynamics of society,” Alutto said. “That ability to see beyond what you’re doing today makes all of you successful and is the reason why all of us take such tremendous pride in you guys as individuals, as well as, representatives of the Buckeye Nation.”