Frisco -- Sam Houston State's Luke Prihoda has been voted the Capital One/Southland Conference Student-Athlete of the Year. He is one of 14 student-athletes from eight different league universities voted to the 2007 All-Academic team.
Conference tournament champion Sam Houston State leads all teams with three all-academic selections followed by Central Arkansas, Lamar, Texas State, and regular season champion UTSA, each with two. McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin grabbed the remaining spots.
A senior from Weimar, Texas, Prihoda sports a 3.65 grade point average with a business major. Named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association (NCBWA) watch list at mid-season, Prihoda lived up to the nomination, setting league and school records and leading the NCAA Division-I in saves with 18, taking home the SLC Pitcher of the Year and the NCBWA Stopper of the Year awards.
Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 24th round (733), Prihoda pitched in 35 of SHSU's 64 games this season, totaling a 1.61 earned run average (6th in NCAA), and 65 strikeouts with only 11 base-on-balls in 72 and two-thirds innings pitched.
Joining Prihoda on the all-academic team are teammates Bobby Verbick and Jeremy Holzbach. A 3.24 GPA kinesiology major and first team all-conference, Verbick, a player of the year canditate, played in all 64 games, accumulating a .370 batting average and led the Bearkats with 23 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs with 81 runs batted in. Holzbach, a 3.64 GPA health major and Dean's List student, earned All-SLC honors three of his four years as a Bearkat and served as an SHSU student-athlete advisory committee officer.
2007 First Team All-SLC selections Michael Ambort and Eric Kanaby of Lamar were awarded all-academic nominations after stellar performances in 2007. Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the sixth round (194), Ambort, a 3.24 GPA exercise science major makes his second career appearance on the all-academic team. A player of the year candidate, Ambort was second on the team in hitting with a .368 batting average and led the team in doubles (22), home runs (11), and runs batted in (63). During 2007, Ambort slugged his 38th career home run, becoming Lamar's all-time home run leader.
After turning in one of the better seasons by a Lamar Cardinal, Kanaby, a 3.64 GPA general studies major makes his first appearance on the all-academic team. Taken in the 10th round (326) by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kanaby set a school record with a 25-game hitting streak and led the league with a .406 batting average. He was also third in runs (62) and walks (45), fourth in hits (91), and first in on-base percentage (.507). His .381 career batting average ranks as the highest in school history.
UTSA Roadrunners Tim Palincsar and Michael Rockett received their first all-academic nominations. A 3.11 GPA and business management major, Palincsar was named the SLC Freshman of the Year, was a third-team All-SLC pick, and set a school record for most runs scored as a freshman (56), in addition to going a perfect 13-for-13 in stolen bases.
Rockett, a two-time second-team All-SLC pick, from Sugar Land, Texas, swung his way to an all-academic selection with a 3.14 GPA in business. A 2006 Freshman All-American, Rockett finished second on the team in hits (80) and RBI's (52), and crushed his first grand slam, recording a career-high five RBI's against the sixth-ranked Texas Longhorns.
Nominated to their first all-academic team, Texas State seniors Justin Fiske and Aaron Garza finish their careers with high accolades. Named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI First-Team, Fiske leaves Texas State with one of the highest GPAs on the all-academic team (3.92). An exercise and sports science major, Fiske was honored as Texas State's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in addition to an All-SLC First-Team selection. Moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation for the Bobcats proved to be a deadly move for SLC opponents. Striking out a school-record 17 batters in his first conference start against Nicholls State, Fiske went on to anchor the Texas State rotation with a 9-3 record in 111.2 innings pitched and led the league with 110 strikeouts.
Starting all 60 games for the Bobcats in 2007, Garza was named to the third-team All-SLC and to the SLC All-Tournament Team for a .412 tournament average. Garza was as accomplished on the field as he was in the classroom, finishing second on the team in hitting (.341) and runs scored (51). With a 3.30 GPA in exercise and sports science major, Garza received the Texas State Oak Farms Dairy Academic Award.
Two-time first team All-SLC selection Bryan Cartie of McNeese State makes his second consecutive appearance on the all-academic team with a 3.32 GPA in business. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 20th round (622), Cartie started all 53 games for the Cowboys and led the team with a .361 batting average, 69 hits, 24 stolen bases, and holds the school record for career doubles (60).
2006 Freshman All-America and 2007 third-team All-SLC pick, Erich Lehmann of Stephen F. Austin makes his initial appearance on the all-academic team with an impressive 3.8 GPA in criminal justice. SFA's all-time leader in wins (17) and second in strikeouts (145), Lehmann is a two-time President's List and Deans' List selection.
Rounding out the final three spots on the 2007 all-academic team are conference newcomers Josh Plumaj of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Matt Warren, and Graham Martin of Central Arkansas.
Plumaj, a CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America District VI First Team selection, has the honors of the highest GPA on the all-academic team (4.00). A six-time Dean's List recipient and marketing major, Plumaj finished tied for the team lead with eight home runs and was third in RBI (38).
2007 Central Arkansas Male Student-Athlete of the Year, and finance major Matt Warren holds a 3.07 GPA in addition to leading the Bears in hits (67), runs scored (45), doubles (15), and home runs (11). During the 2007 campaign Warren struck his 23rd home run and 56th double, placing him first in UCA history. Teammate and Dean's List recipient Graham Martin, joins UTSA's Tim Palincsar as the only freshman on the all-academic team. A Physical therapy major with a 3.39 GPA, Martin led UCA with 36 RBI, starting every game for the Bears in 2007.
The all-academic team honors student-athletes who were selected first-team all-conference and/or named as a district/national all-academic recipient this year while also earning at least a 3.00 grade point average. Remaining spots on the all-academic teams are then voted on by the head coaches, sports information directors and academic/compliance administrators. Student-athletes must have competed in one full academic year at the nominating institution and participated in at least 50 percent of the team's competition.
The student-athlete of the year is annually presented to the individual in each conference sport who achieves excellence in academics and athletics. Nominees shall have earned at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average to go along with superior athletics achievement.