Most colleges say they take pride in their student athletes and their success, not only in their sport but in the classroom as well. At UCSB, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.

Last night at the Bacara Resort and Spa, 17 student-athletes were awarded for their excellent academic achievement.

The event, called the Golden Eagle Awards, was the 26th consecutive year UCSB athletics has collaborated with sponsors Peter and Gerd Jordano of Jordano’s, the food and beverage company, to celebrate UCSB’s top student-athletes.

“We are extremely proud to reward those who are athletes and also students,” Peter Jordano said. “This event ties people back from the past and the current. The coach from the soccer team (Tim Vom Steeg) was a student-athlete at one time and he was a Golden Eagle Award winner. Now he’s coaching and encouraging those kids. That feels good.”

Golden Eagle recipients ranged in GPA from 3.30 to 3.96, with the average GPA at a 3.52. In addition, just one athlete from each men and women’s sport was represented, making it even more competitive.

“We compliment the mission of UCSB, which is to be top-tier and special in all areas,” Athletic Director Mark Massari said. “Our student-athletes are reflecting that, and nights like tonight, we’re able to show it off.”

Earning the highest honors of the night, the Golden Eagle Ring Award, were senior women’s basketball player Kirsten Tilleman and sophomore men’s volleyball player Jake Staahl. The golden Eagle Ring award is given to the female and male athlete with the highest overall GPA.

Tilleman boasted the highest GPA of any student athlete at 3.96. Earning the honor for the second consecutive year as a graduate student, she studies in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Staahl, meanwhile, is a computer science major with an impressive 3.85 GPA.

The complete list of winners include junior Kyle Boswell of the men’s basketball team (3.78 GPA), Tilleman of the women’s basketball team (3.96 GPA), senior Courtney Lightfoot of the women’s cross country team (3.30 GPA), senior Andre Grandt of the men’s soccer team (3.48), senior Erin Ortega of the women’s soccer team (3.41 GPA), junior Andriana Collins of the softball team (3.59), senior Andrew Latimer of the men’s swim and dive team (3.33 GPA), junior Anne Peanasky of the women’s swim and dive team (3.69 GPA), senior Benjamin Recknagel of the men’s tennis team (3.45 GPA), senior Erica Cano of the women’s tennis team (3.31 GPA), junior Winton Nguyen of the men’s track and field team (3.53 GPA), senior Helena Montin of the women’s track and field team (3.40 GPA), Staahl of the men’s volleyball team (3.85 GPA), senior Erica Lau of the women’s volleyball team (3.53 GPA), junior Matt Gronow of the men’s water polo team (3.32 GPA) and senior Rachel Nelson of the women’s water polo team (3.92 GPA).

Golden Eagle







A version of this article appeared on page 10 of May 14, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.

Photo courtesy of Kristen Henneman