GYMNASTICS: The team finished the 2011 season second in the nation in academics with 12 gymnasts earning NACGC/W academic all-American citations. The Thunderbirds finished the 2011 season with a team GPA of 3.8050, second only to Southeast Missouri State which finished with a 3.9118.
"When you can finish in the top three in academics it is a great thing," head coach Scott Bauman said. "We expect to be up there every year and expect a lot out of our girls. It really reflects on the student-athletes that we bring into our program, we want kinds who are great gymnasts and great academically."
The Thunderbirds haven't finished lower than third during Bauman's 21 years at Southern Utah University, earning the academic national championship 11 times.
Southern Utah finished first in the state, ahead of Utah (third, 3.7631), Utah State (19th, 3.4489) and Brigham Young (60th, 3.0171). Other Western Athletic Conference schools appearing in the list included San Jose State (25th, 3.4167), Boise State (41st, 3.2859) and Sacramento State (50th, 3.2570).
Three of the Thunderbirds' individual recipients earned a 4.0 during the final semester of 2011, including Lindsey Schultz, Ari Lamb and Caitlin Kennedy. Five more were right behind with GPA's over a 3.9, including Jenna Vogt (3.92), Jennifer Nguyen (3.92), Rebecca Moore (3.96), Lauren Jeffrey (3.94) and Shannon Coughlin (3.97). Bailey Pendley (3.84), Brooke Cersosimo (3.88), Michaela Chernoch (3.59) and Anna Schumacher (3.83) rounded out the list.
SUU gymnastics is preparing to open its 2012 season when the team hosts the University of Missouri on January 13. Fans will be able to get an early peak of the team when the Thunderbirds host the Red/White Preview on January 10. Both events are scheduled to take place in the Centrum Arena at 7:00 p.m.
SKIING: Special Olympics Utah will host its annual Shred the Edge event, formally known as Ski for Gold, at Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon this Saturday.
Special Olympics Utah invites the community to participate in this ski and snowboarding fund raising event. The University of Utah ski team will join Special Olympics athletes, teams and donors on the mountain for a day of powder, competition and prizes.
All skiers and snowboarders can sign up as individuals or with friends and family at sout.org/events/shred-the-edge. With a $50 donation (per person), each participant will receive a free ski pass for the day. Additional prizes are available to those who raise or donate $100 or more. Prizes include Skullcandy earbuds, embroidered beanies, lunch at the lodge, a Harmons gift certificate, free day passes to Brighton and entrance into the Grand Prize Drawing to win a ski trip to Big Sky Resort in Montana this winter.
The University of Utah ski team will set up a racecourse and post times for the event attendees to challenge. Additionally, the ski team will be at the event waxing skis, signing autographs and taking runs with participants (of non-scouting age).
"We encourage you to come out and enjoy a great day on the slopes and support these wonderful athletes," director of skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "This will be a lot of fun for everyone and a great way to meet the Skiing Utes. We are glad to offer our support 100 percent."
The Shred the Edge event gives the Special Olympics Utah community a productive way to develop athletic skills and have fun, while interacting with one another and those who champion the program. As athletes watch each other demonstrate courage, develop physical fitness and experience joy, they also cheer one another on as they progress in their lives.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: The No. 5-ranked Burins (12-0) defeated Salish Kootenai College 113-65 on Wednesday night at Bruin Arena.
In a game that was as close as 10-9 early in the first half, Salt Lake was able to clamp down defensively and force tough shots by SKC, stretching the lead to 30 at halftime. With all doubt erased, the Bruins continued to shoot well, going 61.3 percent from the field as a team. Sophomore forward Agustin Ambrosino was player of the game and lit the Bison up, making 9 of his 10 attempts from the field and leading all scorers with 22 points.