FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU Department of Athletics proudly unveiled its four finalists for the prestigious 2014 Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award on Monday. The winner will be announced during the department’s annual Senior Send Off and Awards Ceremony Thursday night, April 24, at the Student Union Ballroom in the Cohen Center.
The Scholar-Athlete Award is the highest honor FGCU bestows upon a graduating senior student-athlete and recognizes the ability of the winner to combine athletic and academic success (minimum 3.20 GPA). The 2014 Scholar-Athlete Award finalists include: women’s basketball player Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS), men’s cross country runner Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS), softball player Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) and swimming and diving member Jessie Porter (Chorleywood, Hertforshire, UK/Royal Masonic).
The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. with an hour-long send-off program coordinated by the Eagles Council. The awards program will immediately follow and includes the presentation of the Community Service Award, Duane Swanson Sr. Most Inspirational Award, the Carl McAloose Spirit Award and the Eagle Team Spirit Award, in addition to the Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award. The Most Outstanding Male & Female Athlete finalists will be announced that evening as well, with the eventual winners determined after the 2013-14 seasons are all complete.
Hansen, a chemistry major and mathematics minor, holds a cumulative GPA of 3.88. As an honors student, she has earned a 4.0 GPA in four semesters and has received Dean’s List or higher distinction in every semester. Hansen was named the program’s first-ever Capital One Academic All-America Division I Second-Team member and has earned All-District Four honors three years in a row. Hansen was a Rhodes Scholar nominee, was selected as FGCU’s 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee and recently earned her third-consecutive Atlantic Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and second-consecutive position on the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team.
Hansen’s academic accolades complement her tremendous academic accomplishments. The senior – who has already been inducted into the FGCU Hall of Fame – concluded her career with her second-straight A-Sun Player of the Year award after leading the team to its fourth-straight regular-season championship and a second conference tournament crown. As the team’s captain and only senior, Hansen led the Green and Blue with 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this past season.
Zgrabik, a psychology major and sociology minor, holds a cumulative GPA of 3.36. The senior has recorded a GPA of 3.3 or higher in five semesters and earned a 3.74 to begin her senior season this past fall.
The former A-Sun Co-Player of the Year has consistently led the Eagles on the field and currently ranks second on the team with a batting average of .357. With 50 starts in 50 games this season, Zgrabik leads the team with 13 home runs and is second with 40 RBI. The two-time all-conference award winner also maintains a fielding percentage of .978 behind the plate.
Cruz is a community health major who maintains a 3.28 cumulative GPA and is a two-time Dean’s List member, including last spring. He is also a two-time winner of the FGCU Northwestern Mutual Academic Student-Athlete of the Month as he first claimed the honor in December of 2011 and then again in November of 2012.
In his final season of collegiate running this past fall, Cruz capped arguably the most successful career in FGCU men’s cross country history by being named to the A-Sun First Team and NCAA South All-Region Team. He was named the A-Sun Runner of the Week in October – one of two all-time such recognitions. Cruz’s name is littered throughout the FGCU record book as he owns eight of the top-10 8k times, including the top 2, in program history and two of the top 4, including the fastest, in the 10k. In the last two seasons, Cruz has led FGCU in an incredible 12 of 14 races.
Porter holds a 3.62 cumulative GPA as a criminal justice major. Over her seven-semester career, Porter has been named to the Dean’s List six times: Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011 and Fall 2010.
Porter earned all-conference honors each of her first three seasons with the Green and Blue and was named the Co-Freshman of the Meet at the CCSA Championship in 2011. The long-distance specialist still holds the second-best time in FGCU history in the 1000-yard free (10:24.44) and the third-best time in the 1650-yard free (17:23.58). Additionally, she remains a record holder as part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team which touched in 7:21.08 when Porter was a freshman.
From 2003-09, the scholar-athlete award was given to the male and female student-athlete with the highest GPA. The 2013 recipient of the Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award – which now represents more than just success in the classroom – was Eva Lehtonen, who was a four-time record holder in four different relay events (200 free, 400 free, 200 medley, 400 medley) en route to leading the Eagles to a pair of CCSA Championships. Lehtonen carried a 3.93 GPA in bioengineering with a minor in chemistry and earned Dean’s List honors every semester of her collegiate career.