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7/23/2012 - Jackson, Miss.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State University joined an elite group of only four universities in the nation this year to field a top-15 tennis team that also earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award. Duke University and Stanford University were recognized for this accomplishment, as well.

“We are very proud of these student athletes,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education, “Not only have they dispelled the myth that academic excellence and athletic achievement are mutually exclusive, but they have proven that hard work, determination and commitment fuel success in any endeavor.”

MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum said, “It is not easy to balance the challenges of academics and athletics. These individuals deserve high praise for being able to keep the focus on succeeding on the court and in the classroom. Their achievements represent the embodiment of the term ‘student-athlete.’”

The Lady Rebels tennis team was also recognized for reaching the top 20 and earning the ITA All-Academic Team Award. The University of Mississippi women’s tennis team was one of only four universities to finish the year ranked in the nation’s top 20 and earn this award. The University of Alabama, Baylor University and the University of Florida were also recognized.

The Lady Bulldogs tennis team also earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award.

"We work very hard to remind all of our student athletes that the word 'student' comes first and that excellence is the goal in academics and in sports. We are very pleased with the well-deserved recognition these athletes have earned, and we are challenged to follow their lead across all of our sports programs. It’s nice to see Ole Miss and Mississippi State recognized with Stanford and Duke. It’s good company."

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team Award honors teams with outstanding academic achievements, requiring a minimum overall 3.2 grade point average to be considered. Individual players may be recognized as ITA Scholar-Athletes and must have a 3.5 GPA or higher for the year.

Several players earned this designation:

  • Mississippi State University, Men’s Tennis Team
    • Louis Cant
    • George Coupland
    • Artem Ilyushin
    • Malte Stropp
  • Mississippi State University, Women’s Tennis Team
    • Roseline Dion
    • Petra Ferancova
    • Alexandra Perper
  • University of Mississippi, Men’s Tennis Team
    • Johan Backstrom
    • Adrian Forberg Skogeng
  • University of Mississippi, Women’s Tennis Team
    • Gabby Rangel
    • Caroline Rohde-Moe
    • Julia Jones

Each of these teams has earned this designation previously. This is the 11th time the Bulldogs and the seventh time the Rebels have earned the award. The Lady Rebels earned the award for the 16th consecutive time, while Mississippi State's women's team earned the honor for the 15th time in program history.

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