BHSU scholar-athletes record impressive grade point averages

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, May 28, 2015/Categories: 2015








           Dakota Barrie is one of the BHSU scholar-athletes helping the University to exceed NCAA Division II academic eligibility requirements with her exceptional GPA.






           Cassidy Kotelman says BHSU&rsquos size and status as a Division II school helps her balance her sport and her academics, helping her to exceed NCAA&rsquos GPA requirements.






            Brody Brisk, a stand-out guard on BHSU&rsquos men&rsquos basketball team, will attend medical school this fall as a result of his exceptional academic record.



Scholar-athletes at Black Hills State University have impressive grade point averages (GPAs).

Jhett Albers, director of athletics, said BHSU scholar-athlete GPA statistics are impressive every year but even more impressive this year because BHSU has increased the number of scholar-athletes participating in the University&rsquos athletic programs. For the 2014-2015 academic year, more than 230 students participated in BHSU Yellow Jacket Athletics.

"The coaching staffs at BHSU do an exceptional job recruiting scholar-athletes that fit the University academically as well as athletically," said Albers. "Being successful both in and out of the classroom and earning a degree are the top priorities of our department and that is shown in the success and academic achievements of our scholar-athletes as reflected through their high-achieving GPAs and graduation rates."

The overall total combined GPA for BHSU scholar-athletes is nearly 3.0 for the 2014-2015 academic year. Recently released grade point average data reveals that the scholar-athletes&rsquo GPAs not only exceed the academic eligibility requirements set by the NCAA Division II but are also higher than the overall average for BHSU students.

The BHSU women&rsquos basketball team has the highest average GPA among all the Yellow Jacket teams with a 3.559, followed by women&rsquos cross country with a 3.398 and women&rsquos track outdoor with a 3.364.

President of BHSU, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., said scholar-athletes are performing well both inside and outside the classroom.

"Every scholar-athlete is here to earn a degree at a university with outstanding academic quality," said Jackson. "We&rsquore fortunate. At BHSU we have a great athletic family supporting our students."

Dakota Barrie, physical education major from Mountain Home, Idaho, and guard for the Yellow Jacket women&rsquos basketball team said BHSU is a great fit for the scholar-athlete who also wants to excel in the classroom.

"Because of the size of our University, it is easy to form bonds with the professors and get one-on-one assistance," said Barrie.

Cassidy Kotelman, biology major from Brookings who plays forward, said the coaches also contribute to the players&rsquo academic success by working with their professors and being flexible when students need time to prepare for classroom exams.

"The coaches make it known that academics come first and that is always a good reassurance at the end of the day. That perspective is a quality the whole university embodies," said Kotelman.

Kotelman also says the ratio of professors to the number of students on campus contributes to her success.

"BHSU is just the right size. I&rsquom comfortable with my professors so I&rsquom more willing to dive in further, ask questions and stay involved with classroom discussions," said Kotelman. "The professors can also keep up with you personally, both your progress in your sport and ensure that you are keeping up in class."

Barrie said the hardest part about being a scholar-athlete is time management but that she found a routine that worked for her including morning practice, class, lifting in the afternoon and evening study sessions.

And the support and standards of their fellow teammates ensures scholar-athletes stay on track and on the court. Barrie and Kotelman say they know they are students first and athletes second.

"If we don&rsquot excel in the classroom, we don&rsquot play. And more importantly, we bring down the team. We respect one another so much that we work hard to avoid that," said Barrie. "We can always go to anyone at BHSU if we need help with school or personal matters."

Barrie, and all BHSU scholar athletes, are involved in a number of community service projects. Barrie volunteers with the United Way, Special Olympics and St. Joseph&rsquos Catholic Newman Center. The BHSU football team participated in reading day at Sturgis Elementary recently and athletic games are a platform to promote awareness including a match held last fall to benefit a former volleyball player diagnosed with breast cancer.

The education scholar-athletes receive from BHSU benefits both their current and future endeavors. Among the 411 BHSU graduates this spring were several athletes including Kotelman who will attend graduate school to become a physician&rsquos assistant and Brody Brisk, Yellow Jacket men&rsquos basketball player, who will begin medical school in the fall.  

Other successful professionals and business people throughout the region and internationally were once stand-out Yellow Jackets including Spearfish orthodontist Jesse Dana, podiatrist Lorri Riley, financial planner Harvey Krautschun, President and CEO of Graham Tire Company David Mickelson who resides in Sioux Falls, winner of the 2015 World&rsquos Strongest Man title Brian Shaw, and Snjezana Dojcinovic who works for an international fashion label in Croatia.

Two members of the BHSU Yellow Jacket family, Spc. Rebecca Green who plays softball and Sgt. Luke Whalen who plays football, are members of the South Dakota National Guard&rsquos 842nd Engineer Company.


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