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BW to Honor its Four 2017-2018 Academic All-Americans

BW to Honor its Four 2017-2018 Academic All-Americans

By: Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations Kevin Ruple

BEREA, Ohio --  On Thursday, August 30, at the halftime of the Baldwin Wallace University versus Alma (Mich.) College football season-opener at The George Stadium, the University will take time to honor its four 2017-2018 Google Cloud/ COSIDA Division III Academic All-America student-athletes.

Current soccer student-athletes, senior Rachel Bender (Canton/Jackson) and junior Danny Ruple (Berea/Berea-Midpark), cross country/ track standout and junior Kelly Brennan (Akron/ Walsh Jesuit) and baseball player and graduate Spencer Badia (Bellaire) will be joined on the Tressel Field turf by their family members as well as BW President Bob Helmer, Faculty Athletics Representative Alan Kolp and Athletics Director Kris Diaz who will congratulate each student-athlete and family member.

BW has long been in the forefront of the term student-athlete. With our four selections in 2017-2018, BW has 111 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, and that is more than any other Ohio Athletic Conference school, the most in Division III in Ohio and ranks 12th in all of Division III athletics.

Bender, who was named to the Google Cloud/ CoSIDA Division III All-America second team, becomes just the second Yellow Jacket women's soccer student-athlete to receive this accolade. A communications sciences and disorders major, she carries a 3.93 grade point average and is a Dean's List student, Jacket Scholar and two-time Academic All-OAC selection.

On the field last fall, Bender earned her third straight OAC first-team selection and Forward of the Year honors. She led the OAC in goals (16), points (40) and shots (115) and was second in assists (8). Bender also was named as an OAC Player of the Week, the Most Valuable Player of the Penn State Behrend Herb Lauffer Memorial Tournament, to the 2017 OAC all-tournament team and second-team All-Great Lakes Region by the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III committee.  Bender enters her senior season having appeared in 64 games, scored 46 goals and added 21 assists for 113 total pointsto rank second in school history in goals scored and points scored and fifth in assists. 

Ruple was named as a first-team Google Cloud/ CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America. The accounting major carries a 3.91 GPA and is a Dean's List student and an Academic All-OAC and Ohio Soccer Coaches Association All-Academic first-team selection.

Ruple, who was the OAC Freshman of the Year in 2016, was tabbed as the OAC Forward of the Year as a sophomore. Last fall, he set two BW single-season records with 19 goals and 45 points and one single-game mark. The first-team All-OAC and United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III All-Great Lakes Region pick was named OAC Player of the Week following his first career hat trick against Bluffton University on Sept. 16. His second hat-trick came against Muskingum and was the sixth fastest in NCAA history.  Entering his junior season, Ruple has appeared in 38 games, scored 27 goals and added 13 assists for 67 points. 

Brennan was selected as a first-team Google Cloud/ CoSIDA Division III Academic All-American in cross country and track. The accounting and finance double major holds a 3.98 GPA was a Dean's List student, Jacket Scholar, an Academic All-OAC and a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic selection. 

This spring, Brennan placed sixth in the 800-meter run at the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship Meet to earn Division III All-America status. She broke her own BW outdoor school-record in the 800 in 2:10.05. She also earned All-OAC honors as the OAC champ in the 800 meters and registering a second place finish in the 1,500-meter run. Brennan also received All-Ohio honors with a first place finish in the 4 x 800-meter relay and a second place finish in the 1,500-meter run. Brennan garnered USTFCCCA All-Great Lakes Region honors in the outdoors 800-meter run and in the indoor 5,000-meter run.

Badia, who currently is attending physical therapy graduate school at The Ohio State University, was selected as the Google Cloud Academic All-America of the Year for baseball. He is one of four BW student-athletes to ever be named as the Academic All-American of the Year for their sport. 

Badia graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA in pre-physical therapy and was a Dean's List student, Jacket Scholar and a member of two honor societies. He also was a three-time Academic All-OAC selection, a three-time recipient of the Guy Fisher Award for academic excellence, a two-time winner of the BW Academic Excellence Award for the highest GPA on the baseball team, the 2017-2018 BW Male Clyde Lamb Award winner and the recipient of the prestigious Milton T. Baldwin Award, given to the top student in the graduating class of 2018. 

On the baseball field in 2018, Badia had a career-best .358 batting average with five home runs and a career-best 41 runs batted in (RBI). He led BW to an OAC Tournament title and into the NCAA Division III National Tournament. Badia was named the 2018 OAC Tournament Co-Most Valuable Player along with his selection to the All-Tournament Team. 

Badia finished his career with a .320 batting average, with 28 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, 104 RBI and 112 runs scored. He helped the Yellow Jackets compile a 109-63 record, advance to two NCAA Division III regional tournaments (2015 and 2018), capture an OAC Tournament title (2018) and advance to another OAC Tournament Championship Game (2016).