Utah State gymnastics was one of 67 teams in the country to earn the Team Scholastic All-America Award as announced by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NAGC/W). In addition to the team honors, the NAGC/W announced individual honors with 12 USU student-athletes earning individual accolades.

The USU gymnastics team ranked 21st in the nation with an average grade point average of 3.4144. Western Athletic Conference rival Southern Utah led the NCAA with an average GPA of 3.843.

“The girls worked really hard this year, collectively as a team to boost our GPA. They worked hard for that and I am very proud of them,” USU head coach Jeff Richards said. “They understand they have to have good academics as well as good gymnastics.”

Individual student-athletes were recognized for achieving a year-long GPA of 3.5 or higher. Across all three divisions, 471 student-athletes hit the 3.5 mark while just 60 of those earned perfect 4.0 GPAs. Sophomore Sarah Landes and recent graduate Chelsea Marquardt were among the 60 girls to achieve a perfect GPA last year.

“We play a sport and that’s a lot of why we’re here, but in three years I’ll be done with gymnastics,” Landes said. “I have the rest of my life and I won’t be able to do anything with that without a good education.”

Breyanna Aufiero, Kaitlyn Betts, Ashley Follett, Haley Hogan, Paige Jones, Kristen Meyers, Susie Miller, Jenna Saxton, Samantha Wagner and Amanda Watamaniuk each finished the 2011-12 school year above a 3.5 GPA, earning individual Scholastic All-America honors.

USU gymnastics returns two NCAA Regional qualifiers in Landes and Jones for the 2013 season. Landes, Betts and Christina Nye also return after earning all-WAC honors last season. Utah State will open the 2013 season at Brigham Young University on Jan. 11. After a road meet at Boise State on Jan. 18, the Aggies host Southern Utah on Jan. 25.

For USU gymnastics ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online at www.UtahStateAggies.com.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.