KANSAS CITY, Mo. – UMKC tennis student-athletes Katie Fries and Ben Stride were honored on the Google Cloud Academic All-District 6 Men’s and Women’s At-Large Teams, announced Friday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). This awards program recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances in the athletic realm and in the classroom.
“Extremely proud of these two student-athletes, but not surprised they were selected,” said head coach Kendell Hale, who completed his 11th season at UMKC. “They have worked extremely hard for this honor and have balanced their athletics and academics to excel in both. They both have pride and passion in what they do and it shows on the court and the classroom!”
Fries, a senior majoring in Nursing, holds a 3.98 GPA. Boasting a 13-8 singles record, mainly coming in the No. 2 position (8-5), Fries collected All-WAC Singles Second Team honors. The Overland Park, Kan., native delivered a team-high in victories and was a First-Team All-WAC selection last season. She claimed seven wins in the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles positions. She was part of a UMKC program that advanced to the WAC semifinals and post 11 team wins.
Stride, a graduate student double majoring in Environmental & Urban Geosciences, stands with a perfect 4.00 GPA. After transferring from Drake University prior to the 2018 season, Stride went 16-4 in singles play this year, mainly coming from the No. 3 spot (11-2). He also excelled in doubles action competing exclusively in the No. 1 slot with partner Diego Giraldo where the duo went 16-4 overall. Stride was named to the 2019 All-WAC Tournament Team in both singles and doubles play. The native of Bognor Regis, England, helped the Roos advance to the conference semifinals and finish the year winning four-straight individual matches.
Stride and Fries will now move on to the Google Cloud Academic All-America At-Large ballots, which will be announced in June. The pair is the only Western Athletic Conference (WAC) student-athletes to be recognized on the At-Large All-District Teams. The At-Large teams include sports in tennis, swimming, ice hockey, fencing, lacrosse, gymnastics, rifle, golf, wrestling, men’s volleyball, water polo, skiing and fencing.
The last time UMKC was honored with an Academic All-American was 2015 with Courtney Frerichs in women’s track and field / cross country. Overall, the Roos have 13 all-time Academic All-Americans.
The Google Cloud Academic All-America® program separately recognizes outstanding student-athletes in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA. NCAA Division I has eight districts for the At-Large Teams.