FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2004
Tennis' Ben Birkmann Voted Academic All-America

June 18, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University junior Ben Birkmann (Bremen, Germany) has been voted Second-Team Academic All-America, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Birkmann, who earned District III Academic All-America honors last month to qualify for the national ballot, becomes the fourth Dolphin this year to earn national All-America honors. Inge Heiremans (women's soccer) became the first female student-athlete in JU history to earn such honors when she was voted First-Team Academic All-America last fall. All totaled, five JU Dolphins have earned Academic All-America honors in 2003-04, which is tops among the 11 Atlantic Sun Conference schools.

Birkmann earned Atlantic Sun Second-Team All-Conference honors after posting a 17-6 record at No. 2 singles and a 15-7 mark in doubles play, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA. A five-time President's Honor Roll honoree, he also was named Atlantic Sun Academic All-Conference for the third consecutive year. Birkmann also received the Dolphins' 2004 University Award, given to the JU student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA. In 2002 and 2003, Birkmann was tabbed the JU men's tennis MVP, while in 2003, he earned District III Second-Team Academic All-America honors along with First-Team Atlantic Sun All-Conference honors.

JU capped a banner academic year by placing a record third out of 11 teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference Academic Champion Rankings for the 2003-04 season as 59.3 percent of the Dolphin student-athletes earned A-Sun Academic All-Conference honors, or 121 of the 204 who participated in A-Sun sports. In addition, 33 Dolphins were named to the Pioneer Football League Academic Honor Roll in the fall, while a school-record four JU student-athletes earned national Academic All-America honors in 2003-04.

JU made remarkable improvement from last year, when the Dolphins placed fifth among league schools with 50 percent of its student-athletes participating in A-Sun sports earning academic all-conference honors. In addition, a record 154 Dolphins earned Dean's List honors for 2003-04, which is a 10 percent increase from a year ago, while 364 JU student-athletes earned a 3.0 or higher GPA during the fall and/or spring semester, a 28 percent increase from last year.