Three Beavers Earn Strength And Conditioning All-American Honors

March 29, 2001

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Three Oregon State athletes have been recognized as National Strength and Conditioning Association All-Americans, the NSCA announced Thursday.

Football player Jake Cookus, gymnast Lara Degenhardt, and volleyball player Gina Schmidt were among the 173 athletes in 26 sports from a total of 74 schools to be presented with the award.

Degenhardt, a senior from Salem, Ore., earned second team All-American honors on the floor exercise last year. She was the 1999 Pacific-10 champion on that event as a sophomore and ranks 19th on the event this year. She has OSU's top average on the uneven bars this season, and her vault average is second best on the squad.

'Lara's work ethic is an inspiration to her teammates and coaching staff. She is a great team leader in the weight room, gym and in the community,' said Andrew Dendas, the strength coach for the gymnastics team.

Cookus, a junior safety from Roseburg, Ore., finished the 2000 season with 26 total tackles and five interceptions. He was named the Pacific-10 Defensive Player of the Week after the Civil War game, when he grabbed three interceptions against the Ducks.

'Jake possesses a very disciplined approach to his training and preparation,' said OSU head strength coach Trent Greener. 'Jake is an athlete who has taken advantage of all his opportunities. He is always a `lead by example' guy and brings intensity like no other in the weight room.'

Schmidt, a junior outside hitter from Beaverlodge, Alberta, was named first team All-Pacific-10 this past season to become just the fourth Beaver to receive that honor. Schmidt became only the third OSU player to record 500 kills in a single season, and she was the first OSU player since 1996 to have 300 digs in a season. She finished the year with 548 kills and397 digs.

'Gina is a trememdous athlete both in the weight room and on the court. Her hard work ethic and dedication are bonuses to her great athletic ability,' Greener said.

Athletes are recognized based on dedication, commitment, leadership, athletic and academic accomplishments and community involvement.

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