Four Francis Marion University tennis players were recently honored for their work in the classroom. Senior Jitka Gavdunova, junior Mona Blauen, and junior Kerry Hall were named to the Peach Belt Conference Women's Tennis All-Academic squad, while sophomore Tim Ruepke was selected to the Men's Tennis All-Academic squad.
Gavdunova recently graduated with a B.B.A. degree in marketing, while finishing with a 3.50 grade point average. Blauen has a 3.71 GPA as a management major, while Hall has a 3.67 GPA as a finance major, and Ruepke is a general business major with a 3.40 GPA.
Gavdunova, a native of Vejprty, Czech Republic, was 18-2 in singles play at the No. 1 position and ranked ninth nationally among NCAA Division II players. She registered a 71-8 career singles record.
Blauen, a native of Cologne, Germany, registered an 18-1 singles record at the No.2 position, losing only three sets all season, and is 22nd in the most recent NCAA Division II national singles rankings.
Gavdunova and Blauen also combined for a 19-3 doubles mark at the No.1 spot and were ranked seventh among Division II duos.
Hall, a native of Durban, South, Africa, was 12-2 in singles play at the fifth and sixth positions, and compiled a 14-6 doubles mark at the No.3 slot.
The three helped the Patriot women to an 18-4 record, a Top 10 national ranking, and the program's sixth NCAA national tournament bid in the past seven seasons. The Patriots lost in the Southeast Regional title match.
Ruepke, a native of Bremen, Germany, was 7-6 in singles play, mostly at the No.5 position, and compiled a 9-8 mark at the No.3 doubles slot. He helped FMU to a 10-7 record, a national Top 25 ranking, and the program's fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The teams are part of a season-long program recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of PBC student-athletes in the classroom as well as on the field. To be eligible for the All-Academic team, a student-athlete must participate in at least half of his/her team's events and be either a starter or significant contributor, achieve a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and have completed at least one full academic year at his/her current institution.
Founded in 1991, the Peach Belt consists of 13 member institutions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. In its short history, the conference boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships.