Ten CSUN Women's Water Polo Players Named All-Academic Winners

July 4, 2010

By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Colorado Springs, Co. - Few would argue that education is the most important component of intercollegiate athletics.

Competing and winning games is certainly important, but college competitors are also here to receive an education. That's why they are called STUDENT-athletes.

The members of the nationally-ranked Cal State Northridge women's water polo team certainly fit the definition of student-athletes. Not only are the Matadors winners in the pool but more importantly winners in the classroom.

In 2010, the Matador women's water polo team chalked up its greatest season in school history - a school record 28 wins, a national ranking that reached as high as ninth, captured a second straight Big West regular season title, and set numerous team and individual school records.

Several players gained numerous post-season honors for their success in the pool that have already been chronicled. Now, post-season honors are starting to filter in regarding their academic success.

Ten members (Renee Gargiulo, Jessica Goforth, Alyssa Goldie, Kirra Kylander, Kristin McLaughlin, Kathryn Outzen, Heidi Pettinger, Alison Pierce, Bethany Scamara, Jillian Stapf) on this year's squad were recently accorded All-Academic recognition from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC). In other words, all ten CSUN players are Academic All-Americans.

Student-athletes qualify for this honor by being an active participant on their varsity squad while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher. Those who have cumulative GPA's between 4.00 and 3.71 are placed in the "Outstanding" category while those between 3.70 and 3.41 earn "Superior" accolades, and those student-athletes between 3.40 and 3.20 gain "Excellent" recognition.

"Looking back at the past, we had many successful moments and accomplished many goals," said head coach Marcelo Leonardi. "Having so many student-athletes on the Academic All American list ranks up there as one of the most important goals. We are attempting to educate and guide our future generations into tomorrow. These players have demonstrated success in the pool and in the classroom. We are proud of our scholar athletes."

Kristin McLaughlin's outstanding academic success during her tenure at Cal State Northridge is noting short of brilliant. McLaughlin attained the highest gpa among the ten Matadors selected this year with inclusion in the "Outstanding" category by the ACWPC. Her academic honors included being named Big West Scholar-Athlete. McLaughlin was also named All-Academic Big West for a second straight season.

McLaughlin's "Outstanding" status by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) included other student-athletes from such dynamic academic institutions as Stanford University and Harvard University.

In four seasons at Cal State Northridge, McLaughlin was a three-time All-American Academic selection, and a three-time All-Big West and All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) choice.

McLaughlin has also been a member of CSUN's Dean's List, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

McLaughlin, who calls La Canada, Calif., her hometown, graduated this year from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Political Science.

Her academic goals remain focused. McLaughlin received full tuition scholarship offers from numerous prestigious schools such as the Baylor Law School and the Michigan State Law School for the Fall of 2010. McLaughlin has also considered Duke, Notre Dame and USC.

In addition to her success in water polo and in the classroom, McLaughlin found time in her busy schedule to mentor and tutor for Academic Services for Student-Athletes at Cal State Northridge, as a Student Assistant in the Center for Teaching and Learning at CSUN, and as a volunteer in the Teaching, Learning and Counseling Consortium at CSUN.

As a player in 2010, McLaughlin gained Honorable Mention All-Big West Conference honors. McLaughlin tallied 25 goals. McLaughlin led the Matadors in steals (44) and was second in assists (45).

In four years at Cal State Northridge, McLaughlin chalked up 196 steals (second-best in school history), and 129 career assists (fourth-best in the school record book).

Jessica Goforth was accorded "Superior" accolades for attaining a gpa between 3.70 and 3.41. Goforth also gained All-Academic Big West honors.

Renee Gargiulo, Alyssa Goldie, Kirra Kylander, Alison Pierce, Bethany Scamara and Jillian Stapf all gained "Excellent" category status for attaining GPA's between 3.20 and 3.40. All six players also gained All-Academic Big West honors.

Nationwide, 289 women's water polo players gained Academic All-American honors. Amongst NCAA Division I colleges and universities, CSUN's ten student-athletes rank among the best in the country. For example, Harvard University, considered the top academic school in the country, had eleven student-athletes named All-Academic. In the west, California had 13 student-athletes honored while Stanford University, one of the premier academic schools in the country, had ten student-athletes honored.

Cal State Northridge, as a team, was one of just 25 teams nationwide with a combined team GPA above 3.0. The Matadors were ranked 22nd with a team GPA of 3.03. That mark was fifth-best among Division I schools in the West behind Stanford (3.25 gpa), Arizona State (3.13 gpa), California (3.11 gpa) and Pacific (3.08 gpa). Besides Cal State Northridge and Pacific, UC Davis was the only other Big West team ranked in the Top 25. UOP chalked up a 3.08 gpa (19th) while UC Davis had a 3.01 gpa (25th place).

Matador Memo
Seniors Kirra Kylander, Kristin McLaughlin and Jillian Stapf each gained All-American Academic honors three times by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) and also were three-time All-Academic Big West and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) choices ... Kylander and Stapf each graduated in June, 2010, with degrees in Kinesiology ... McLaughlin graduated with a degree in Political Science ... Renee Gargiulo gained All-Big West Academic honors three times, and on two occasions Gargiulo was named an All-American Academic selection by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) ... Alison Pierce gained All-American Academic and All-Academic Big West status twice ... Gargiulo graduated with a degree in Psychology while Pierce graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies ... Alyssa Goldie and Bethany Scamara are two-time All-American Academic selection winners ... Jessica Goforth, Goldie, Katie Outzen, Heidi Pettinger and Scamara all return next year.