BATON ROUGE - The Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes honored six LSU student-athletes as part of their academic achievements and community service for October.
Each month, five student-athletes are recognized for their academic improvement, dedication and proven ability. In addition, one student-athlete is chosen through LSU's Student-Athlete Affairs program for their volunteerism and commitment to the community.
October's student-athletes of the month are Helen Boyle [Volleyball], La'el Collins [Football], Aaron Ernest [Track & Field], Ty Ross [Baseball] and Andrei Tuomola [Swimming & Diving]. Madie Jones [Volleyball] was selected as the Shaquille O'Neal CHAMPS/Student-Athlete Affairs Athlete of the Month.
Boyle is majoring in accounting, while Collins and Ernest are undecided in their courses of study. Tuomola and Ross are sport administration majors, and Jones is majoring in industrial engineering.
Jones, a senior outside hitter from Plano, Texas, never fails to make an impact on the court, in the classroom or in the community. On the court, Jones has ripped a team-leading 3.74 kills per set in conference play to rank fourth on the SEC leaderboard. She provided a career-best 26 kills during LSU's 3-2 setback to Georgia on Oct. 3. Jones' hard work also extends past the court as the president of LSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which consists of the leaders of all LSU varsity sports. She also has played a key role in the PAWS in the PMAC initiative that she and fellow senior teammates created to collect pet supplies at home matches to benefit the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society.
A sophomore outside hitter from Eureka, Mo., Boyle proves to be an asset to the Tigers each time she steps on the court. She has powered home 128 of her 170 kills during SEC action this season, including double figure spikes in her last eight outings. Boyle equaled a career-high 18 kills and provided a career-best 20 digs during LSU's five-set victories over Kentucky and Mississippi State, respectively. No stranger to the community, she also volunteered for the AgMagic event and the "Read Across Louisiana" program last semester.
Collins, a sophomore from Baton Rouge, La., is the starting left guard on the LSU football team and earned Freshman All-America status by CBSsports.net. Collins received the Most Improved Award in the spring, and his performance proves his ability to be a dominant lineman for the Tigers. He garnered his first career start during the season-opener against North Texas.
A sophomore sprinter from New Orleans, La., Ernest wrapped up his freshman season in 2012 as one of the emerging sprint talents in the NCAA. A three-time All-American in his rookie season, Ernest ran the second leg on LSU's national champion 4x100-meter relay team as he teamed with senior Barrett Nugent, senior Keyth Talley and sophomore Shermund Allsop to claim the program's eighth NCAA crown in the event all-time. He carried that momentum into the summer circuit as he claimed three medals for the United States while competing at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain. That's where he swept sprint silver medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes before anchoring the United States to the gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay.
Ross, a junior catcher from Naples, Fla., makes an impact on the field whether behind the plate or at bat. In just his freshman season, he earned the starting position in 46 games, and his consistency earned him Freshman All-SEC honors. Ross also excels academically, as he was named to the 2012 SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll.
A senior sprint freestyle and breaststroke swimmer from Haarajoki, Finland, Tuomola is the LSU record-holder in the 200-meter relay and is a four-time NCAA Honorable Mention All-American. He was an instant asset to the team as his performance earned him a spot on the SEC all-Freshman Team, and he is still breaking personal records today. In the recent SEC Championships, Tuomola defeated his times in both the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke. He is also a standout in the classroom, as he earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors in 2011.
For putting forth extra effort in the classroom and community in addition to their rigorous academic and competition schedules, these six student-athletes will have their pictures displayed on the wall in the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.