TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State held its 29th annual Golden Torch Gala Wednesday evening, celebrating the best of student-athlete academic success. Men’s cross country and women’s tennis took home the team awards for the highest cumulative squad GPAs. Of the 32 individual student-athletes honored, 22 registered a perfect 4.0 GPA. Another six had a GPA of 3.8 or better.
President John Thrasher, Director of Athletics David Coburn, Undergraduate Studies Dean Karen Laughlin, and Kacy King, Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Academic Services and Seminole Boosters Chair Bob Davis were just some of the university and athletics representatives in attendance.
“This is one of mine and Dr. (Mary) Coburn’s favorite nights of the year,” said David Coburn. “Honoring the tremendous success of our student-athletes in the classroom is a real point of pride for our department. The hard work our fans see on the field is obvious but the public doesn’t often see how much hard work is put in academically and by our student-athlete academic services staff. Tonight is a celebration of both.”
“We are so proud of our student-athletes, as this is the highest number of individual winners we’ve had in the last 29 years of the Golden Torch Awards,” said King. “As the university continues to rise in the national rankings, so do our student-athlete academic accomplishments.”
Bob Braman’s men’s cross country squad took home the Golden Torch for the second consecutive year. The Seminole men, who returned to the NCAA Championship meet for the first time since 2015 following a runner-up finish at the South Region Championships, earned All-Academic team honors from the USTFCCCA for the second consecutive year following the 2018-19 season. Three members of Braman’s squad were also named to the All-ACC Academic Cross Country team last season.
“I’m really proud of our cross country men,” said Braman. “They take a lot of pride in this award. They knew they were the defending honorees and made sure they maintained their academic excellence.”
“They really understand the value of a Florida State degree.”
For Jennifer Hyde, her women’s tennis team bested women’s golf, which had won the award the previous two years. Following one of the best seasons in program history in 2018-19, the 21-7 Florida State women’s tennis team placed three student-athletes on the All-ACC team and six student-athletes on the All-ACC Academic team, leading all schools in the conference.
“We are pretty pumped up to receive the Golden Torch Award for the highest team GPA and to have it back at our tennis facility,” said Hyde. “The last couple years we have been within a couple hundredths of a point of winning. I’m really proud of the girls and their efforts in making it happen.
“We had one of the best seasons in the history of Florida State women’s tennis last year and for that to coincide with a huge academic effort, keeping the standard high on all levels of the program means a lot.”
The Golden Torch Gala has been celebrating the academic achievement of Florida State University student-athletes since 1991. The event is hosted each year by FSU’s Student-Athlete Academic Services and the Seminole Boosters.
2019 Golden Torch Award Winners
Baseball: Chris Ruckdeschel (Management)
Football: Tanner Adkinson (Management & Political Science)
Men’s Basketball: Harrison Prieto (Meteorology )
Men’s Cross Country: Clayton Carlson (Mechinical Engineering)
Men’s Golf: Jonathan Keppler (Sport Management)
Men’s Swimming & Diving: Gavin Jones (Political Science), Chad McGuire (Computer Science), Jonathan Ratliff (Chemical Biomedical Engineering), Cameron Thatcher (Real Estate), John Vann (Finance & Real Estate)
Men’s Tennis: Enzo Le Seguillon (ISS)
Men’s Track & Field: Hunter Napier (Anthropology)
Beach Volleyball: Lexi McKeown (Biological Science)
Soccer: Gabrielle Carle (Exercise Physiology), Kristina Lynch (Biological Science)
Softball: Morgan Noah (Biological Science)
Volleyball: Taylor Roberts (Psychology)
Women’s Basketball: Savannah Wilkinson (Hospitality & Tourism Management)
Women’s Cross Country: Ginelle Demone (Family and Child Sciences), Elizabeth Funderburk (Accounting), Fatema Jaffer (Political Science & International Affairs), Alondra Reyna-Lopez (Psychology), Kaia Stevenson (Communication Disorders)
Women’s Golf: Amanda Doherty (Sport Management)
Women’s Swimming & Diving: Katherine Baker (Biological Science), Nicole Blank (Environmental Science), Ayla Bonniwell (Finance), Shelly Drozda (Sport Management), Dorothy Halmy (Psychology), Madeleine McDonald (Biological Science)
Women’s Tennis: Emanuelle Salas (Management)
Women’s Track & Field: Eleonora Omoregie (Biological Science)