Montana Grizzlies top league in academic all-Big Sky selections in 2018-19

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 19:25:24-04

(Editor’s note: Story by Montana Sports Information)

MISSOULA — Montana closed the 2018-19 academic year on a high note this week, placing more student-athletes on the spring Academic All-Big Sky Conference teams than any other league school.

Seventy-four spring-sport Grizzlies were recognized for having at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA and also being an important contributor to their teams.

In general, the minimum participation standard to be eligible for Academic All-Big Sky Conference is half a team’s competitions.

The exceptions are track and field, where athletes become eligible if they compete at the Big Sky championships. And pitchers in softball only need to appear in 30 percent of their teams’ games.

Track and field coach Brian Schweyen’s program claimed 46 of the 74 spots. The 21 from his men’s team was the second-highest total in the league in that sport. His women’s team tied for second with 25.

Coach Jason Brown’s men’s tennis team tied for the most in the Big Sky with six, a total matched by coach Steve Ascher’s women’s tennis team.

Coach Kris Nord’s women’s golf program had five student-athletes recognized.

The breakout performance came from coach Melanie Meuchel’s softball program, which had 11 players honored, the most in the five years of the program and tied for the second most in the league.

Meuchel’s Grizzlies, who finished third in the league last season, had a program-record GPA of 3.49 for the spring semester.

Fifteen of the team’s 16 players had a semester GPA of 3.0 or better despite taking a hefty average course load of 15.6 credits while in season. Only men’s tennis’s 17 and soccer’s 16.2 were higher.

It added to a positive trend in GPA for the softball program. Montana has gone from 3.05 to 3.08 to 3.14 to 3.34 to 3.46 to 3.47 to 3.49 the last seven semesters.

“I’m proud we keep breaking the barrier of our team GPA,” said Meuchel. “We don’t talk a ton about it, but we celebrate it when we do it. Our goal is to be better than we were individually the last semester.

“I think they take a lot of pride in everything they’re doing, whether it’s on the field or in the classroom or just the way they carry themselves.

“They are creating a very good standard for Griz softball. I’m really proud of their effort and how they’re getting paid back for it.”

Nine of the 74 athletes who were recognized used the spring to max out on possible Academic All-Big Sky awards, highlighted by Jessica Bailey.

The distance runner and future doctor ends her career with a full dozen certificates: four for cross country, four for indoor track and field, four for outdoor track and field.

Four athletes made it eight for indoor and outdoor track and field: Charlie Bush, Megan Franz, Alex Mustard and Morgan Sulser.

Another track and field athlete, Jensen Lillquist, who only competed during the outdoor season as a thrower of the javelin, earned his fourth award.

Other four-time recipients were Baylee Barckley of the women’s golf team, Alex Canellopoulos of the men’s tennis team and Lidia Dukic of the women’s tennis team.

Montana collected 169 Academic All-Big Sky Conference awards between the fall, winter and spring teams.

Montana’s spring Academic All-Big Sky Conference selections are below. For the complete list, please click here.

Women’s golf: Teigan Avery (Jr., Economics); Baylee Barckley (Sr., Marketing); Kylie Esh (Fr., Health and human performance); Allison Sobol (Fr., Computer science); Brooklyn Van Bebber (Fr., Biology)

Men’s outdoor track and field: Ridge Albright (Fr., Business administration); Andrea Baratte (Fr., Wildlife biology); Charlie Bush (Sr., Psychology); Ben Cikutovich (Fr., Psychology); Trevor Henry (So., Economics); Cade Johnstone (Fr., Business administration); Paul Johnstone (Fr., Business administration); Dylan Kipp (Jr., Health and human performance); Kip Krebsbach (Fr., Health and human performance); Kyle Kredo (So., Media arts); Jensen Lillquist (Sr., English); Callum Macnab (Jr., Political science); Dillon May (Sr., Mathematics)

Women’s outdoor track and field: Jessica Bailey (Sr., Health and human performance); Jane Booth (Jr., Health and human performance); Chloe Cosgrove (Fr., Wildlife biology); Lyric Devries (Fr., Business administration); Abby Dodge (So., Health and human performance); Olivia Ellis (Jr., Health and human performance); Samantha Engebretsen (Jr., Social work); Megan Franz (Sr., Chemistry); Mariah Harvey (Jr., Educational leadership); Darby Henthorn (Jr., Health and human performance); Holly Houston (Jr., Health and human performance); Rachel Lewis (So., Accounting); Maryn Lowry (Sr., Health and human performance); Jaree Mane (So., Health and human performance); Mijah McLeod (So., Health and human performance); Carla Nicosia (Jr., Health and human performance); Emma Normand (Fr., Psychology); Chloe Seferos (Jr., Health and human performance); Erica Simison (Fr., Health and human performance); Carly Smiedala (Jr., Psychology); Zena Smith (Jr., Health and human performance); Morgan Sulser (Sr., Educational leadership); Rachel Torrey (Fr., Biology); Hannah Wylie (Fr., Biochemistry); Jansen Ziola (Fr., Pharmacy)

Softball: (Tristin Achenbach (So., Health and human performance); Colleen Driscoll (Sr., Health and human performance); Kylie Hayton (Jr., Health and human performance); Morgan Johnson (Jr., Management information systems); Lexi Knauss (So., Health and human performance); Jessica McAlister (So., Management information systems); Maygen McGrath (Fr., Business administration); Anne Mari Petrino (Jr., Management and entrepreneurship); Katie Pippel (Fr., Health and human performance); Cami Sellers (So., Psychology); Brooklyn Weisgram (Fr., Elementary education)

Men’s tennis: Alex Canellopoulos (Sr., Finance); Ludvig Hallgren (Jr., Political science); Pontus Hallgren (Fr., Economics); Max Korkh (Jr., Finance); Ed Pudney (Fr., Undeclared); Oisin Shaffrey (Fr., Undeclared)

Women’s tennis: Bianca Bostrom (So., Management information systems); Lidia Dukic (Sr., Health and human performance); Nathalie Joanlanne (Sr., Psychology); Claudia Reguant (Fr., Business administration); Julia Ronney (So., Biology); Alex Walker (Fr., Psychology)