June 1, 2012
Montana's Big Sky Conference discus champion Nicole Ennen was named to the first team of the Capital One Academic All-District 7 women's cross country and track and field squads Thursday. Ennen graduated last month with a perfect 4.0 grade point average as a psychology major.
Ennen, of Bismarck, N.D., becomes Montana's sixth student-athlete to be recognized through the College Sports Information Directors of America's academic program for the 2011-12 academic year.
Bobby Alt and Bryan Waldhauser were both voted first-team All-District 7 last fall, then went on to earn Academic All-America honors in December.
Mathias Ward of the men's basketball team and Maddy Murray of the women's tennis team were first-team All-District 7 selections, Brittany Quick of the volleyball team a second-team pick.
By earning one of the 10 first-team All-District 7 honors for track and field, Ennen now advances to the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration. That team will be announced next Thursday.
Ennen concluded her storybook collegiate career in early May. She won the Big Sky Conference discus title the same day Montana was holding its commencement ceremony, where Ennen would have been feted for having eight straight semesters of perfect grades.
"It definitely took a lot of work," Ennen said in response to a question about making it look so easy. "But it was a great experience.
"I'm mostly thankful for the support of my parents. When I was young they always taught me that if you put enough work into something, you're going to be successful."
While Ennen was successful from the start in her academic pursuits, her progression in the discus to conference champion was an evolution.
She went a season-best 140-5 as a freshman in 2009, then had a consistent sophomore campaign, throwing between 144-1 and 147-1 at all seven meets and concluding with a third-place finish at the
Big Sky outdoor championships.
Ennen was stuck in the mid-140s for most of her junior season before breaking the Montana record with a breakout throw of 154-2 to finish second at the 2011 Big Sky championships.
She went 155-1 at this spring's opening meet and closed her career in style. Her career-best 159-7 earned her a Big Sky title in her final collegiate meet the second weekend of May at Bozeman, Mont.
"Nicole was very focused and dedicated with what she did on the track and in the classroom, and that's why she was able to accomplish what she was able to accomplish," UM track and field program director Brian Schweyen said.
"She did not dedicate her time to social living like a lot of students do at the expense of their academics and athletics."
Even though Schweyen has had to give up some of his day-to-day coaching to perform his administrative-based program duties, Ennen is one athlete he's continued to coach the last four years.
"Nicole was the athlete I spent more time with than any other athlete these last few years," he said. "She was able to pick things up and make the necessary changes, and she just got better every year.
"I think the academic side of her -- the part that wants to learn -- helped with that."
Ennen was recently accepted into the graduate program in industrial/organizational psychology at Minnesota State University Mankato. She one day hopes to be a consultant who works with companies on employment and staffing issues.
Capital One Academic All-District 7 women's cross country and track and field first team
Jacy Bennett -- Oklahoma (Jr., 4.00, supply chain management, Mesa, Ariz.)
Heather Bergmann -- Kansas (Jr., 3.91, chemistry, Concordia, Kan.)
Brittany Borman -- Oklahoma (Sr., 3.74, health and exercise science, Festus, Mo.)
Nicole Ennen -- Montana (Sr., 4.00, psychology, Bismarck, N.D.)
Carrie Hahn -- Stephen F. Austin (Sr., 4.00, kinesiology, Leander, Texas)
Hannah Kiser -- Idaho (So., 4.00, molecular biology/biotechnology, Wenatchee, Wash.)
Ryann Krais -- Kansas State (Sr., 3.95, psychology, Eagleville, Pa.)
Sophie Peeters -- Rice (Sr., 4.00, pre-medicine, Houston, Texas)
Allison Pye -- Rice (Sr., 3.97, pre-medicine, Houston, Texas)
Rebecca Wade -- Rice (Sr., 4.00, sociology, history, psychology, Dallas, Texas)
Capital One Academic All-District 7 women's cross country and track and field second team
Paige Blackburn -- Air Force (Sr., 3.50, civil engineering, Soldotna, Alaska)
Shanay Briscoe -- Texas (So., 3.56, marketing, Houston, Texas)
Megan Frausto -- Houston (Jr., 3.91, kinesiology/health professions, Royse City, Texas)
Cami Jiskra -- Nebraska (Sr., 3.86, criminology and criminal justice, Lincoln, Neb.)
Sari Little -- Northern Colorado (Sr., 4.00, sport and exercise science, Peyton, Colo.)
Nikki Look -- Colorado (Jr., 4.00, applied mathematics, Castle Rock, Colo.)
Ashley Miller -- Nebraska (Sr., 3.84, nutrition and health sciences, Tipton, Iowa)
Audacia Moore -- Wichita State (Sr., 3.94, nursing, Wichita, Kan.)
Kimber Shealy -- Air Force (Sr., 3.76, history, Kennesaw, Ga.)
Jessica Tebo -- Colorado (Gr., 3.93, curriculum and instruction, Sammamish, Wash.)
Jessica Ubanyionwu -- Baylor (Sr., 3.93, health science studies/pre-medicine, El Paso, Texas)
Sarah Waldron -- New Mexico (Gr., 3.96, sports administration, Puddleston, England)
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