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 December.
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.
December's student-athletes of the month are Brent Bonvillain [Baseball], Nadine Dreher [Women's Golf], Laura Furr [Swimming & Diving], Michelle Gauthier [Gymnastics] and Nikita Tracey [Track & Field]. Stefan Szacinski [Men's Tennis] was selected as the Shaquille O'Neal CHAMPS/Student-Athlete Affairs Athlete of the Month.
Bonvillian is majoring in general studies, while Dreher and Tracey are sports administration majors. Furr is a majoring in both mass communication and history, Gauthier is a kinesiology major and Scazinski is majoring in international trade and finance.
Bonvillain, a senior pitcher from Houma, La., joined the Tigers his junior season after transferring from Delgado Community College. An instant asset to the team, he earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors after posting two wins in relief appearances most notably four frames of one-hit ball fueled by five strikeouts during LSU's 8-7 series-clinching win at No. 1 Florida.
A freshman golfer from Vienna, Austria, Dreher comes to the Tigers as a former member of the Austrian National team. In 2011, she competed in the European Girls Championship and participated in the international field for the Doral-Publix championship as part of the First Tee program.
Furr, a junior backstroke and freestyle swimmer from Baton Rouge, La., made strides late in her redshirt sophomore season after transferring from Vanderbilt to join the Tigers midseason. She competed in the SEC Championships where she set a career low in the 100 backstroke, earning her a 23rd place finish. Furr earned 2011-2012 Winter Academic Honor Roll honors, and she has volunteered her time by helping twice for Spring Greening Day, by making hospital visits to a local hospital and by serving the New Orleans community for the Allstate BCS Service Project.
A freshman from Mandeville, La., Gauthier joins the Tigers as one of the top club gymnasts in the state in 2012. She is a four-time J.O. Nationals qualifier and also won the all-around title in the 2012 state meet. Gauthier will compete in vault, balance beam and floor exercise in the spring.
Tracey, a junior sprinter and hurdler from Clarendon, Jamaica, begins her first season as a Tiger this year after transferring from Oklahoma Baptist, where she was part of their first-ever women's national championship team. She is a two-time NAIA champion in hurdles and also the 2012 NAIA champion in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
A senior tennis player from Adelaide, Australia, Szacinski has succeeded on the court, in the community and in the classroom. He competed in the Rice Invitational, ITA Southern Regional and the USF Invitational this fall, earning a 4-2 singles and 4-2 doubles fall record. Scazinski is also a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient, and his hard work in the community earned him 2011 SEC Community Service Team and 2010 ITA Scholar-Athlete honors. Recently, he volunteered for the City Year team at the Belaire High School Resource Fair, and he also joined his team in adopting at child for Thanksgiving with the Tigers through St. Vincent de Paul.
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.