Pete's Ponderings-January 19
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  01/20/2009

The Western Athletic Conference has passed out some more validation of the academic success story going on here at New Mexico State. Ole Pete has been beating the drum every chance I get to bring attention to the increasing numbers of Aggies making headlines in the classroom as well as on the field of competition.


Twenty-nine fall participants are among those honored by the league for their hard work in their studies. The continuing transformation of members of the Aggie football to top scholars is the biggest news from this latest recognition. When NM State entered the WAC four years ago, the football program was so weak in the classroom, that they lost scholarships due to the APR rule. Basically the APR rewards schools whose athletes stay and make steady progress toward a degree. Schools that have players flunk out or leave for various reasons are the ones who get hurt. APR hit the Aggie football team right between the eyes because of their academic laziness.


Now, Pete is happy to tell you that 16 Aggie football players are on the WAC honor roll. This isn’t an award that is given to anyone who gets good grades. To be eligible for consideration a student-athlete must have competed in 50% of the competitive season have a B average or better after a year in school. The academic stars are names you all know too.


Marcus Anderson the big play receiver whose long plays electrified the fans. Jamar Cotton, Nick Paden and Jason Scott were pillars of defense at the linebacker position and they are also pillars of learning in the classroom. Ross Connor, Julius Fleming and Weston Nieman also made the grade with the grades.


Mike Jordan’s volleyball team not only won its first NCAA postseason game but also had five ladies on the WAC grade parade. Seniors Alyssa Gintant, Amber Simpson and Lindsey Yon were joined by sophomore Whitney Woods and junior Kelli Goodan.


The good news doesn’t stop there. Four men and four women from the cross country squad had great times on the course and good times on grade posting day. Sophomores Michael Hart and Patrick Hernandez kept stride for stride with upper classmen Joshua Sifuentes and Daniel Waldo. Sophomores Brandi Gutierrez and Brittany Hurtado and juniors Christina Herrera and Ingrid Flores also crossed the academic finish line with honors.


When our own are recognized by a greater national organization then you know the hard work and achievement isn’t all smoke and mirrors. Way to go Aggies, see you at academic honors night next Thursday in the Pan Am.



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