ABILENE - The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Wednesday named Abilene Christian senior Jennie Hutt to the Capital One Academic All-America Division II Volleyball first team. This award, which is among the most prestigious in all of collegiate athletics, is presented to those student-athletes who have displayed excellence both on the court and in the classroom.
Hutt was one of just six players nationwide voted to the first team, joining Jennifer Costello (Missouri Science and Tech), Anna Garrison (Montevallo), Grace Krauser (Wingate), Mollie Lacy (Washburn) and Academic All-America of the Year Keala Peterson (Sonoma State).
"This is a huge honor for me and it's great to go out on such a high note," Hutt said. "The last four years have been the biggest of my life, I've had to learn so much, and couldn't have succeeded without my teammates and coaches. I feel this award is as much an honor for them as it is for me."
Hutt credited the ACU coaching staff of head coach Kellen Mock and assistant coach Jason Bibler for making academics a top priority for everyone on the team.
"The coaches were always breathing down our necks, whether it was about getting our homework assignments done or going to study hall," she said. "They also kept us on track for studying, and set up progress checks and tutors ... they wanted us to get the most out of our abilities."
ACU's student-athletes have collectively earned 75 Academic All-America citations, which is the third highest total among all Texas schools behind only the University of Texas and Rice. The Wildcats rank ahead of Baylor, Texas A&M and Southern Methodist.
Hutt is the fourth member of the ACU volleyball team to be named Academic All-America, but the first tabbed to a first team. She is also the 49th individual Wildcat to receive this title and second this fall joining sophomore soccer player Brie Buschman, who was a third team Academic All-America.
Hutt was honored earlier this year for academics in being named the Lone Star Conference's Academic Player of the Year, and was one of three Wildcats picked to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 first team along with Kalynne Allen and Neely Borger.
Mock, who has served the ACU volleyball program as both player and coach, believes her players have done a great job of keeping academics near the forefront of the team's culture.
"Academics have really been important to this program because it allows our players to be involved in something more than just hitting balls around," Mock said. "It's my goal to see these girls work toward their degree and graduate as well-rounded individuals."
A psychology major with a 3.90 grade-point average, Hutt enjoyed a spectacular final season in which she helped lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA postseason behind a 21-14 record and third-place showing in the Lone Star Conference.
Hutt finished her career as one of ACU's top attackers and racked up the fourth most kills in school history with 1,543, as well as the sixth most recorded in a single season with 518 (2011). Additionally, her 3.78 kills per match this year ranked third (46th nationally) within the conference, while her 4.20 points per match placed her second (60th).
Hutt's on-court performances resulted in her earning two Lone Star Conference Player of the Week awards, spots on the Daktronics and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) all-region first teams, and the title of honorable mention All-America.
"Jennie has earned lots of well-deserved praise while always putting the team first even when accepting individual awards, and that's why we loved having her on the team," Mock said. "She is someone who puts in a full 100 percent effort into anything she does, so we're glad she wanted to play volleyball for us."
A member of the Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Chi Honor societies, Hutt has been named to ACU's Dean's Honor Roll on six occasions and is a recipient of John C. Stephens scholarship.
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