By ANGELLA GLENN
After the BYU men’s gymnastics team capped its 1999 season with five All-American awards, the College Gymnastics Association announced August 3 that five of the Cougars received Academic All-American status, placing BYU fifth overall.
The five Cougars honored were Brian Rosenlund (3.82 in Philosophy), Brandon Fitt (3.81 in Geographic Information Systems), Dan Ryssman (3.76 in Zoology), Ben Nordby (3.68 in Physical Education) and Guard Young (3.54 in Communications). Young was also the NCAA vault champion this year, setting a new BYU record with a 9.8125.
The Cougars’ fifth-place academic finish matched their fifth-place finish at the NCAA championships earlier this year. M.I.T., Iowa, William and Mary, and Temple were the four universities academically ahead of the Cougars.
The first-place finish is M.I.T.’s fourth straight, with a cumulative grade point average this year of 3.580. Iowa scored 3.397, William and Mary, 3.309, Temple, 3.281 and BYU finished with a 3.227 cumulative GPA.
Head coach Mako Sakamoto said he was proud that the Cougars were ranked so high and that it shows a balance in the team.
“To be ranked fifth academically and in the NCAA is a big honor,” Sakamoto said. “The kids work hard on the books. I think an achievement like this just shows how balanced the team really is.”
Sakamoto said his goal is to help the Cougars place even higher in both rankings next year.
“In the long run it is probably more important to do well in studies than in gymnastics,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to be number one next year.”
BYU was the only team to finish in the top five in the nation both academically and athletically. Michigan, which won the national championship this year, placed seventh in the overall academic rankings.