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July 2, 2013

The Year of the Cardinal includes academics, too

The "Year of the Cardinal" continues not only in athletics but in academics. Four University of Louisville athletes were chosen for a Big East Conference Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award.

The award is given to a scholar-athlete in all 24 sports contested in the Big East. Louisville is one of 16 Big East teams but won 17 percent of the awards.

The most familiar winner is basketball's Russ Smith who was previously selected First-Team All-BIG EAST. His cumulative grade-point average was over a 3.0 which helped the basketball team achieve a perfect 1000 academic progress rate. Smith's running mate Peyton Siva was last season's winner.

Nikki Boltja was the winner in women's lacrosse. Nikki was Third-Team All-American after being All-BIG EAST for two years. She carried a 3.62 grade-point and is from Medina, Ohio.

Erin Conrad was the winner in field hockey. She is from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and was a three-time All-BIG EAST selection as a goal keeper.

The winner for Swimming and Diving was Alex Burtch from Goshen, Ind. Alex was on the 400-Free Relay team who finished fourth in the national championships.

Another star academically was Clayton Coleman who received a Fulbright Scholar Award and is heading to Greece to teach english. Louisville has had 75 Fulbright Scholars since 2003, more than all Kentucky colleges combined.

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