Forty-six SMU student-athletes have earned the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal during the 2008-09 academic year. They are among 394 medal winners leaguewide, each of whom has achieved a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.75 or better. The 46 Academic Medal winners represent an increase of almost 25 percent for SMU, which had 37 medal-winners a year ago. See the complete list of winners here.
The No. 23 and Conference USA champion women’s tennis team will face No. 38 Texas A&M in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championships at 11 a.m. May 9 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco. First-year player Marta Lesniak (No. 59, right) will compete for the individual title as well as the doubles championship with partner Aleksandra Malyarchikova, also a first-year player. Currently C-USA’s top-ranked doubles team at No. 32, Lesniak and Malyarchikova went undefeated in 13 matches this spring. Read more.
First-year thrower Simone du Toit (left) was named the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week for the week of May 4, 2009. She posted the second-longest throw in the nation this season with a winning discus toss of 57.35m (188-02.0) at the Mean Green Twilight April 30, setting a school and stadium record and surpassing the NCAA Regional standard. Read more.
Meanwhile, the entire track and field team jumped 10 spots to a No. 23 ranking in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) outdoor track and field poll. Three standouts combine to rank in the nation’s top 15 in five different events: Freshman Simone du Toit, ranked 2nd in the discus and 10th in the shot put; sophomore Silje Fjørtoft, ranked 3rd in the steeplechase and 12th in the 5,000m; and first-year competitor Viktoria Leks, ranked 15th in the high jump. Read more.
The men’s basketball team will be one of eight to play in the inaugural Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec. 22-25, 2009, as announced by ESPN Regional Television, Inc. The field includes Hawaii, College of Charleston, Saint Mary’s (California), UNLV, USC, Western Michigan and one team to be determined. The games will be played Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center. This will be the Mustangs’ fourth trip to Honolulu for a tournament, but the first since the 1987-88 season. Read more.
SMU Assistant Coach Frank Gansz passed away on April 27, 2009. He was 70. Considered perhaps the top special-teams coach in NFL history, he was starting his second season on the Hilltop.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my good friend,” said SMU Head Coach June Jones. “Frank has been a second father to me for the past 30 years and he has touched the lives of many, both at SMU and throughout the National Football League. I was lucky to have known Frank, and not only was he a wonderful person, but he was a father to everyone he has ever coached. He will live on with us.”
Gansz was a veteran of 38 seasons of coaching, 24 in the NFL and 14 in the collegiate ranks. “He was the guru of special teams,” former Kansas City Chiefs Vice President Lynn Stiles told the Kansas City Star. Gansz coached for the Chiefs throughout the 1980s and was special-teams coach for the St. Louis Rams during their Super Bowl-winning season in 1999. Read more.
The No. 23 women’s tennis team will face No. 38 Texas A&M in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championships at 11 a.m. May 9 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco. The Mustangs received an automatic bid for winning the Conference USA title. Head Coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner (left) was named Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading SMU to its best season in program history First-year player Marta Lesniak was named Freshman of the Year and C-USA Singles Player of the Championship, as well as Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship with freshman partner Aleksandra Malyarchikova. Read more.
Men’s golf team members Kelly Kraft and James Kwon have been selected as All-Conference USA performers for the 2008-09 season. Kraft was named to the first team for the second consecutive year, while Kwon was selected for the second team and the All-Freshman squad. The awards were voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches. Read more.
Senior punter Thomas Morstead (right) was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft April 26. Morstead becomes SMU’s first NFL draft pick since 2007, when Justin Rogers, now with the Dallas Cowboys, was chosen by the New England Patriots. As the 164th overall selection, Morstead is SMU’s highest draft pick since the Saints took SMU linebacker Chris Bordano 161st overall in 1998. Read more.
SMU alumni and community members are invited to join Head Football Coach June Jones, members of his staff and former Mustang football legends at the inaugural Jerry LeVias Lettermen’s Golf Classic April 23-25, 2009. Activities include a Pairings Party and auction in the Hall of Champions in Ford Stadium, tournament and awards party at the Golf Club of Dallas, and the annual Red and Blue Scrimmage in Ford Stadium. Thirteen foursome spots are still available, starting at $1,000 per team, and eight $250 spots remain open for individual golfers. All proceeds benefit SMU football. Read more.
The No. 69 women’s tennis team earned a 5-2 win over No. 17 Arkansas Feb. 25, 2009 at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center in Fayetteville. First-year player Marta Lesniak (left) defeated No. 4 Aurelija Miseviciute, while senior Natalia Bubien and junior Pavi Francis notched their second win over a ranked pair this season, defeating No. 56 Miseviciute and Ela Kaluder. Read more.
Sophomore golfer Kelly Kraft (left), Conference USA’s 2007 Freshman of the Year, has been named C-USA Golfer of the Week for the period ending Oct. 14. Kraft received the honor after winning the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Alabama, with a six-under-par 204 for three rounds. Read more.
First-year tennis player Marta Lesniak reached the quarterfinals of the Fidelity-Southlake Women’s Pro Classic after winning the event’s qualifying tournament the previous week. The Mustangs return to action Oct. 17 in Houston as play begins in the 28th Annual Rice Classic. Read more.
First-year tennis player Marta Lesniak dropped only one set during the entire tournament to win the wild card draw of the Fidelity-Southlake Women’s Pro Classic Sept. 21. She also paired with junior Sophie Quist to defeat several pairs of professional players and win the doubles draw. Read more.
Sophomore runner Silje Fjortoft, Conference USA’s 2007 Freshman of the Year, has been named the C-USA Athlete of the Week after clocking a first-place time of 16:33.03 over the 5,000-meter course at the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station Sept. 20. Fjortoft ran more than 40 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor to win the race. Read more.