Three Mountaineers Honored For Academic Success

West Virginia's Ginny Thrasher shoots from the standing position

Three Mountaineers Honored For Academic Success

Athletic and academic success go hand in hand for a trio of Mountaineers.

West Virginia’s Elizabeth Gratz 

Three West Virginia student-athletes have been named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Women’s At-Large Teams, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Recent graduate Elizabeth Gratz (rifle) was named to the first team for the second straight year and garnered Academic All-America accolades for the third straight season. Additionally, rising seniors Ginny Thrasher (rifle) and Paula Goetz (tennis) were named to the second and third teams, respectively. Thrasher’s honor is her second straight second-team recognition, while Goetz is the tennis program’s first-ever Academic All-American.

The fourth rifle student-athlete to earn Academic All-America First Team accolades, Gratz is the first in program history to earn two career honors. The Sigel, Illinois, native previously earned the award in 2017 and was named to the third team in 2016.

Under 12-year coach Jon Hammond, seven different Mountaineers have garnered 15 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, and the squad has placed at least one shooter on a team in each of the last 10 years.

“I am always really proud of the team’s academic achievements, and today’s awards for Elizabeth and Ginny are another example of the amazing work they put into their studies,” Hammond said. “Being the first in our program’s history to make the first team twice is an excellent achievement for Elizabeth. I’m sure Ginny will be close to the first team next year, too.”

Gratz graduated from WVU in May with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) in marketing. The two-time reigning Elite 90 Award winner for NCAA Rifle, she also earned four Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Scholar-Athlete honors at WVU and was named to the last three Academic All-Big 12 At-Large First Teams. A four-time College Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) All-Academic Team honoree, she is a member of the President’s List, the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll. She capped her WVU career with the 2018 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award, the Big 12 Conference’s highest academic honor, and received the 2017-18 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship on June 7.

Gratz finished second in air rifle at the 2018 NCAA Rifle Championships and helped the Mountaineers capture three NCAA titles from 2015-17 and four GARC Championships from 2015-18. An eight-time National Rifle Association (NRA) All-American, she also is a four-time CRCA All-American. Gratz earned the 2018 GARC Outstanding Senior award and received 12 career All-GARC recognitions.

Thrasher boasts a 3.90 GPA in biomedical engineering. A three-time member of the CRCA All-Academic Team and a two-time Academic All-Big 12 At-Large First Team honoree, she also has been named to the President’s and Dean’s Lists, as well as the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the WVU Academic Honor Roll.

A native of Springfield, Virginia, Thrasher captured the GARC air rifle and smallbore individual titles this season. A six-time NRA All-American, the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist also is a three-time CRCA All-American and has earned nine career All-GARC awards.

An engineering major, Goetz, a native of Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany, boasts a 4.0 GPA.

“It’s great to see Paula get recognized for the work she has done off the tennis courts, as well as the successes she has achieved for our program on the tennis courts,” coach Miha Lisac said. “Paula has worked incredibly hard over the last three years. She has always had top-notch grades, and she has been doing very well. Paula is becoming someone who is representative of what being a Mountaineer is. The award also is a recognition for our academic staff, too.”

Goetz is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree after receiving the award for the second straight year in 2018. For her work in the classroom, she also earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete honors twice and was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll and the President’s List.

Tied for the team lead with 10 wins in doubles play this year, Goetz also added five wins in singles play, including a match-clinching win against Duquesne.


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