By: Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations Kevin Ruple
BEREA, Ohio -- On Wednesday, February 6, at the halftime of the Baldwin Wallace University versus John Carroll University men's basketball game, the University will take time to honor its four 2018-2019 College Sports Information Directors of America(CoSIDA)/Google Cloud Division III Academic All-America student-athletes.
The four honorees are senior soccer student-athlete Rachel Bender (Massillon/Jackson), junior soccer standout Danny Ruple (Berea/Berea-Midpark), junior football offensive lineman Ryan Sympson (North Lima/South Range) and junior safety Kyle Kelly (Wadsworth/St. Vincent-St. Mary). The quartet will be honored at center court in the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium inside the Lou Higgins Center for their outstanding achievements as exceptional student-athletes. They will be joined by their parents and family members and head coaches and will receive congratulations from BW President Bob Helmer, Faculty Athletics Representative Alan Kolp and Athletics Director Kris Diaz.
BW has long been in the forefront of the term student-athlete and success both in the classroom and in athletics. With the four selections this fall, BW has 115 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. That is more than any other Ohio Athletic Conference school, the most in Division III in the State of Ohio and ranks 11th in all of Division III athletics.
Bender became BW's first-ever women's soccer All-American and is a repeat CoSIDA/ Google Cloud Division III Women's Soccer Academic All-America selection. She is a first-team selection this season after making the second-team a year ago. Bender graduated as BW's second all-time leading scorer with 60 goals and a school-record 37 assists for 157 career points. That ranks her seventh all-time in Ohio Athletic Conference history and second at BW. She also was a two-time OAC Forward of the Year and a four-time first-team All-OAC and three-time All-Region selection. Bender carries a 3.94 grade point average in communication disorders and psychology.
Ruple repeats as a CoSIDA/ Google Cloud first-team Division III Men's Soccer Academic All-American. The three-time All-OAC selection and 2017 OAC Forward of the Year had a team-leading 14 goals and 10 assists this season and will enter his senior season with 41 goals and 23 assists and a BW career-record 105 points. His goals and assists each currently rank second all-time. The two-time first-team All-Region player carries a 3.93 grade average in accounting.
Sympson was selected as a first-team CoSIDA/ Google Cloud Division III Football Academic All-American. The two-year starter and three-year contributor on the offensive line helped the Yellow Jackets to an 8-2 record and a national ranking this fall. He was a key member of an offensive line that helped BW to average 38.8 points and 456.6 yards of total offense per game. Sympson is a two-time Academic All-OAC selection and 2018 CoSIDA All-District pick who carries a 3.95 grade average in biology.
Kelly was named as a second-team CoSIDA/ Google Cloud Division III Football Academic All-American. The junior two-year starter in the defensive secondary played and started all 10 games and made 28 tackles. He also was a key factor in this year's 8-2 record. Kelly, who won last years BW Football Academic Excellence Award and is a two-time receipient of the Lee Tressel Academic Award carries a perfect 4.0 grade average in pre-physical therapy. He also is a BW legacy as his father, Kevin Kelly '91, was an outstanding football and track student-athlete.