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6 Flames Named to VaSID Academic All-State Team

July 7, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(Clockwise from top left): Brittany Yang, Mitch Hanson, Ashley Rininger, Alex Close, John Sherret, Megan Robinson

(Clockwise from top left): Brittany Yang, Mitch Hanson, Ashley Rininger, Alex Close, John Sherret, Megan Robinson

Liberty student-athletes Alex Close, Mitch Hanson, Ashley Rininger, Megan Robinson, John Sherret and Brittany Yang are all included on the 2014-15 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, who graduated in May with a 3.78 GPA as a business administration/finance major, was a first team Capital One Academic All-American for the second straight year in 2015. He earned first team All-Big South honors for the second year in a row, before being taken by the Kansas City Royals in the 26th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.

Hanson also garnered first team Capital One Academic All-America honors, thanks to his 3.92 GPA as a government major and a 3.81 GPA during his graduate studies in human services counseling/executive leadership. Hanson was a first team All-Big South right guard in 2015 and started 37 straight games to close out his collegiate career.

Rininger, a first team Capital One Academic All-American for women's basketball, has already completed two degrees during her four years on campus, maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in May 2014, before wrapping up a master's degree in human services counseling in May 2015. On the court, Rininger was a first team All-Big South performer and the Big South Championship MVP in 2014-15.

Robinson was a Capital One Academic All-American for the second consecutive year in 2015, earning a spot on the first team. She graduated in May with a 4.0 GPA as a youth ministries major, after being named to the second team All-Big South softball squad as a senior.

Sherret, a third team Capital One Academic All-American, graduated in May with a bachelor's degree and 3.94 GPA in biology/pre-med. He collected a trio of All-Big South honors as a senior, including a victory in the indoor men's 4 x 400 relay.

Yang was one of three Liberty student-athletes to receive the 2015 Big South George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence, along with Robinson and baseball's Matt Pennington. She wrapped up her bachelor's degree in graphic design with a 4.0 GPA. The senior teamed up with partner Maria Khval for 21 doubles wins in 2014-15, earning All-Big South and VaSID All-State recognition.

Liberty's 2014-15 VaSID Academic All-State Team Honorees
Name, Class, Sport, Major, Hometown, Cumulative GPA
Alex Close, Senior, Baseball, Business Administration/Finance, Hoover, Ala., 3.78
Mitch Hanson, Senior, Football, Government (UG)/Human Services Counseling (G), Blue Ridge, Va., 3.92 (UG)/3.81 (G)
Ashley Rininger, Redshirt Junior, Women's Basketball, Criminal Justice (UG)/Human Services Counseling (G), Canton, Ohio, 4.0 (UG)/4.0 (G)
Megan Robinson, Senior, Softball, Youth Ministries, Richlands, Va., 4.0
John Sherret, Senior, Men's Track & Field, Biology/Pre-Med, Toronto, Ontario, 3.94
Brittany Yang, Senior, Women's Tennis, Graphic Design, Newnan, Ga., 4.0