August 28, 2003

Gymnastics Team Honored For Academic Excellence

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While the 2003 Cornell gymnastics team suffered through an injury-marred season, the squad excelled in the classroom. In fact, according to the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches, the members of the team combined for the second-best grade point average in the nation. The gymnasts’ cumulative GPA of 3.67 was second only to Southern Utah University’s average of 3.76.

Of the 17 members on the Red, 14 were selected as All-America Scholar Athletes, more than any other university. In order to earn the distinction, a gymnast had to compile a GPA of at least 3.5. Four Cornell gymnasts were members of the prestigious 400-club, composed of student-athletes with GPAs of 4.0 and above.

“It’s a phenomenal GPA. At almost 3.7, it’s actually quite higher than your average Cornell student,” head coach Paul Beckwith said.

Beckwith and his staff have dopne their part to help their gymnasts maintain a healthy balance between scholastics and sport.

“As a pure gymnastics coach at another institution, I would probably feel less inclined to let a gymnast leave a practice to study for a test. But here at Cornell, everything is academics first. The athletes are students first,” Beckwith said. “So, if they have a prelim that they really need to study for, we let them leave practice early or miss a practice.

“While here, they might do four years of gymnastics. But what they learn [in the classroom] will las them a lifetime,” Beckwith continued.

For the second time in three seasons, senior Rachel Goldberg was named to the Verizon Academic All-America team. Goldberg, who earned a 3.97 in the spring semester, was selected to the third-team by members of the College Sport Information Directors Association.

Meanwhile, Shannon Weiman ’03 kept her stranglehold on her own award, earning the title of ECAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third straight year.

The Red, which ended last season with a fifth-place finish at the ECAC championships and a seventh-place performance at the United USAG Collegiate National Championships, will begin its season on Jan. 17, 2004 at the George Washington Invitational.

“We’ve got a great team and a great group of students,” Beckwith said.

Archived article by Alex Ip