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Burgess, Heller Recognized as 2016 ITA Scholar-Athletes

August 11, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ryker Keller was one of two Liberty student-athletes recognized by the ITA for his academic efforts during the 2015-16 season.

Ryker Keller was one of two Liberty student-athletes recognized by the ITA for his academic efforts during the 2015-16 season.

2016 All-Academic Teams & Scholar Athletes – Division I Men

The Liberty men's tennis program had two players, Jason Burgess and Ryker Heller, recognized as 2016 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athletes.

To qualify for the academic honor, a student-athlete must be a varsity letterwinner, have a 3.50 or higher GPA for the current academic year and been enrolled at the institution for two semesters.

Burgess, who graduated summa cum laude in June with a B.S. in Digital Media: Audio, was also recognized with the honor in 2015 while Heller, a freshman, is a first-time recipient.

To date, nine players in program history have been named to the ITA Scholar-Athlete team. Ernesto Malagrino and Priit Pihl were the Flames' first-ever men's tennis players named to the listing in 2003.

Burgess, a native of Austin, Texas, wrapped up his playing career last spring. As a senior, he recorded five singles victories and picked up a doubles victory with fellow senior Egon Samaai. As a junior, Burgess notched five singles victories and two doubles wins in the spring. He also finished second in singles play at the Seahawk Invitational Fall tournament. At the Wake Forest Fall Invitational, Burgess and partner Josiah Boda finished second in doubles play.

Heller, a native of Bastrop, Texas, will begin his sophomore year in the fall and is majoring in biomedical sciences. He picked up three singles victories as a freshman.  

Liberty's men's tennis program currently has a 3.31 cumulative GPA, the highest among Liberty's NCAA Division I men's athletics programs. The team posted a 3.06 team GPA during the 2015-16 academic year, also highest among Flames men's teams.