Utah State Athletics recognized a school-record 261 student-athletes at the 28th annual Joe E. and Elma Whitesides Scholar-Athlete Luncheon on Wednesday. To be eligible for the honor, student-athletes must have a cumulative 3.2 grade point average or have posted a 3.2 GPA during the last two semesters.
Four graduating student-athletes were recognized as top honorees receiving the Joe E. Whitesides Scholar-Athlete Award. Men's tennis player Felipe Acosta will complete a dual major in international business and finance, while volleyball player Elle Nesbitt is graduating with a degree in animal, dairy and veterinary sciences. Football's Nick Heninger and women's track & field athlete Audrey Garrett are both completing the M.B.A program.
Women's track & field senior Maia Garren and football senior Chase Nelson received the Wayne Estes Memorial Award, which is presented to a male and female graduating senior who excels in scholarship, citizenship and leadership.
Utah State also announced team honors with the awards. Men's cross country was named the top academic team with fewer than 20 members for the fourth-consecutive year, as the team boasted a team GPA of 3.66. Women's cross country was the top academic team with more than 20 members, with a 3.78 team GPA. Softball was recognized as the most improved academic team with more than 20 members, and golf was the most improved team with fewer than 20.
In addition to the team and student-athlete awards, the department recognized Anthony Sterenchak as the Student-Athlete Tutor of the Year and Allison Mills as the Student-Athlete Mentor of the Year. Nancy Hyde and Connie Radke-Kurian from the Office of Global Engagement were honored with the Meeting the Challenge Award.
The Whitesides honors were started in 1953 by former USU athlete, coach and athletics director Joe E. Whitesides.
Fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter, @USUAthletics, Facebook at /USUAthletics and on Instagram, @USUAthletics.