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6 Flames Earn VaSID Academic All-State Honors
Liberty student-athletes Alex Close, Becca Haraf, Trey Lambert, Ian McConnell, Ashley Rininger and Megan Robinson are all included on the 2013-14 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State Team.
Every Commonwealth college and university, including NCAA Division I, II, and III, NAIA, and independents, had the opportunity to submit athletes to be honored. To be eligible, student-athletes were required to have a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better. The student must have achieved sophomore status, and he or she could not have been in the first season of competition at their current school.
Close was one of only two juniors in the nation to be named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America first team for baseball. A business management major with a 3.83 GPA, Close was a first team All-Big South selection this season. The Hoover, Ala., native was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the 27th round of the MLB Draft.
Haraf, a senior volleyball player from Arlington Heights, Ill., made the VaSID Academic All-State Team for the second year in a row after graduating with a 4.0 GPA in biology/pre-med. She earned a number of academic honors as a senior, including Capital One Academic All-America second team accolades, the Big South Christenberry Award and the Big South Graduate Fellowship.
Like teammate Close, Lambert was a 2014 Capital One Academic All-America first team selection. The senior from Tazewell, Va., finished with a 3.94 GPA as a health promotion major. This season, Lambert tied the program record with 11 wins as he was named both Big South Pitcher of the Year and Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also earned the 2014 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award, honoring the top graduating senior student-athlete at Liberty.
McConnell, who helped the Liberty golf team claim its third Big South title in four years, graduated with a 3.78 GPA in government. The Riverview, Fla., native was tabbed the 2014 Big South Men's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was named to the 2013 GCAA/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar team.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Rininger completed a bachelor's degree in just three years, graduating in May with a 4.0 GPA in criminal justice. She was the first Lady Flames sophomore to be voted Big South Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year since Elena Kisseleva in 1998 and was a first team All-Big South performer as a redshirt sophomore.
Robinson became the Liberty softball program's first-ever Academic All-American, earning a place on the Capital One Academic All-America third team roster. The junior second baseman from Richlands, Va., carries a 4.0 GPA as a youth ministries major. On the diamond, she was a first team All-Big South performer in 2014.
Liberty's 2013-14 VaSID Academic All-State Team Honorees
Name, Class, Sport, Major, Hometown, Cumulative GPA
Alex Close, Junior, Baseball, Business Management, Hoover, Ala., 3.83
Becca Haraf, Senior, Volleyball, Biology/Pre-Med, Arlington Heights, Ill., 4.0
Trey Lambert, Senior, Baseball, Health Promotion, Tazewell, Va., 3.94
Ian McConnell, Senior, Men's Golf, Government, Riverview, Fla., 3.78
Ashley Rininger, Redshirt Sophomore, Women's Basketball, Criminal Justice, Canton, Ohio, 4.0
Megan Robinson, Junior, Softball, Youth Ministries, Richlands, Va., 4.0