Southeast Gymnastics Earns the 2007 Academic National Championship


The team boasts nine Scholar Athlete’s including four student-athletes with a perfect 4.0 G.P.A.

2008_Ath_gymnastics_competition-007-XLCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 13, 2007 – The Southeast Missouri Gymnastics Team learned (Friday) that they have been named the Academic National Champions as voted on by The National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W). Southeast earned the win with a remarkable team G.P.A. of 3.74. The win by the Redhawks broke a six-year championship streak by the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.

The impressive win by the Redhawks is a testament to the emphasis placed on academic excellence in athletics by the Athletic Director Don Kaverman, his administration and coaching staff.

“I am extremely proud of the academic accomplishments of our women’s gymnastics team. To be recognized as the top performing team in the nation academically further demonstrates that our student-athletes are students first and athletes second. Coach Farden should be commended for recruiting student-athletes to the program who are not only gifted athletically but are determined to excel academically. This is a very significant accomplishment and we should all be proud of these women and the manner in which they represent Redhawks Athletics and Southeast Missouri State University,” added Kaverman.

“Being #1 academically is an outstanding accomplishment,” said Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator Cindy Gannon. “Coach Farden keeps his team focused in their sport and in the classroom. This award says a lot about what our school stands for and our commitment to developing the student-athlete.”

Head coach Tom Farden has consistently led his team to solid performances on and off the floor in his four-year tenure as the head coach. In Farden’s first two seasons has head coach, the team placed in the 40th percentile academically before a major jump to 6th in the 2006 season. This season, the teams 1st place academic finish came from the team having nine Scholar Athletes, including four student-athletes with a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. To be named a Scholar Athlete, the student-athletes must achieve a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher in an academic year.

“We have strived to recruit and attract outstanding athletes both academically and athletically”, said Farden. “This was one of our main goals for the year and I am very proud of this team.”

Perfect 4.0 G.P.A.:

  • Sandra Blake (Tri-Cities, Wash./Mid-Columbia) -Accounting Major
  • Maureen Grimaldi (Kansas City, Mo./Eagles Gymnastics) -Art & Graphic Design Major
  • Jacqueline Heath (St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud Tech) -Physics Major
  • Kelley Krengiel (Lemont, Ill./Lemont H.S.) -Health Management Major

G.P.A. of 3.5 and up:

  • Amber Garlotte (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Eagles Gymnastics) -Accounting Major
  • Jena Nguyen (Sioux Falls, S.D./All-American Gymnastics) -Biology Major
  • Starlyn Schwartz (Pensacola, Fla./First City Gymnastics) -Mass Communications Major
  • Rikara Turner (Hastings, Minn./Twin City Twisters) -Undecided
  • Bryanna Wong (Parkville, Mo./Edge Gymnastics) -Health Management Major

Top 10 National Teams and G.P.A.:

  1. Southeast–3.7408
  2. Denver–3.7360
  3. Southern Utah–3.7333
  4. Winona State–3.7079
  5. UW-Whitewater–3.6011
  6. Yale–3.5893
  7. Texas Women’s–3.5885
  8. Brown–3.5740
  9. Eastern Michigan–3.5300
  10. MIT–3.5183

For more information or a look at how the rest of the team’s fared academically, please visit