Fifteen Spring Sport Student-Athletes Earn Big West All-Academic Honors

June 6, 2003

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A total of 15 UC Santa Barbara student-athletes in the sports of men's golf, softball and track and field earned All-Academic recognition from the Big West Conference, the league announced Thursday.

To be eligible for the conference's all-academic team, student-athletes must maintain a 3.2 cumulative GPA, have attained sophomore standing academically and competed in at least 50 percent of their team's contests.

The Gaucho women's track and field team led the pack with six honorees: graduate Student Liz Mallon, seniors Katie Appenrodt, Becky Freeman and Kristen Green and juniors Desiree Leek and Cosette Smith. Leek was also recognized as a First Team Verizon Academic All-District 8 performer, while Appenrodt will compete in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Championships later this month.

On the men's side, Big West All-Academic acclaim went to Santa Barbara senior Darren Salmi, juniors Jason Boyce, Jeff Gardina and Chris White and sophomore Sean Thomas-Bignami. Last month White was honored at UCSB's Golden Eagle Banquet for carrying the highest grade point average among all of the school's 400-plus student-athletes.

In softball, senior catcher Jami Trinidad and junior outfielder Leslie Simien excelled in the classroom as well as on the diamond. Both earned spots on the conference all-academic squad after stellar seasons in which Trinidad became the first All-American in Gaucho history and Simien established a new Big West record for career stolen bases.

Rounding out Santa Barbara's group of Big West All-Academic performers were a pair of golfers, senior Brian Six and junior Joseph Ramos.

For the complete list of Big West All-Academic honorees, visit