Forty-Six Student-Athletes Earn Degrees
BATON ROUGE – Forty-six LSU student-athletes representing 14 Tiger sports were among students who participated in spring commencement ceremonies held Friday on LSU’s campus. Football’s David Impastato graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in biological sciences, while tennis’s Sloane Mathis graduated Cum Laude with a degree in kinesiology.
Friday’s commencement exercises featured 12 current and former track and field athletes, among which were Lady Tiger senior All-Americans Samantha Henry and LaTavia Thomas.
Henry graduates as one of the elite sprinters to ever wear the purple and gold as she has racked up 12 All-America honors during her career. Thomas has also established herself as one of the premier middle distance runners to compete for the Lady Tigers as she has added 10 All-America honors to go along with eight SEC titles and 13 All-SEC awards during her prolific career. The duo was instrumental in the Lady Tigers winning their last national championship at the 2008 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Other track and field graduates include Kristina Davis, Mark DeBlanc, Amal Esmail, Marlon Greensword (Master’s), Megan Kliebert (Master’s), Elkana Kosgei, Phillip Malcolm, Tiaerra McLaurin, Katelyn Rodrigue and Ross Roubion.
Football added nine graduates, highlighted by starters Chris Hawkins, Danny McCray, Chris Mitchell and Keiland Williams. Williams was a four-year contributor for the Tigers, rushing for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career, and Hawkins and McCray were both staples of the LSU defensive backfield during their careers.
The swimming and diving teams graduated seven athletes. Nate Telep and Lauren Grandy were both four-time members of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Grandy finished her LSU career with the third-fastest times in school history in the 200 and 500 free and was a member of the record-breaking 800 free relay.
Four baseball players earned their degrees, including pitcher Paul Bertuccini and former pitcher Jared Bradford. Bertuccini is LSU’s top middle reliever this season with a team-low 1.80 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 26 appearances for the Tigers. He is also a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Assistant coach Will Davis, a catcher from 2004-07, earned his master’s degree in kinesiology and undergraduate assistant coach Buzzy Haydel also received a degree in kinesiology.
Soccer also graduated four. Katherine Lagow started all 24 matches during her senior season in 2009 and was a leader of the defense. Rachel Yepez was one of the most prolific scorers in program history during her tenure, amassing 33 goals and 19 assists. Yepez was also a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and the SEC Community Service Team in each of her last two seasons.
Three LSU women’s tennis players earned their degrees. Mathis and Hannah Robinson were both ITA Scholar-Athletes every year, and Mykala Hedberg was one of LSU’s most prolific doubles players with 87 victories in her career.
Women’s basketball star Allison Hightower is one of the all-time elite players in school history with 1,509 points and 89 blocked shots during her career. She earned All-America honors as a junior and senior and was a National Player of the Year candidate in 2010. Hightower was also a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes excellence on and off the floor.
Men’s basketball player Tasmin Mitchell was a four-year contributor for the Tigers, starting every game except one during his career. Mitchell started on two SEC Championship teams (2006, 2009) and was instrumental in helping the Tigers reach the NCAA Final Four in 2006. Mitchell finished his career third in scoring with 1,989 points, sixth in rebounds with 950 and eighth in steals with 190.
Gymnastics great Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, golfer Brian Leveille and volleyball’s Marina Skender each earned their Master’s degrees in the spring ceremonies.
Below is a complete list of graduates and their area of study.
Art & Design
Casey Crawford, Soccer, Interior Design
Arts & Sciences
Berit Aljand, Swimming & Diving, International Studies
Jared Bradford, Baseball, General Studies
Kristina Davis, Track & Field, Communication Studies
Ace Foyil, Football, General Studies
Chris Hawkins, Football, General Studies
Mykala Hedberg, Tennis, Communication Studies
Allison Hightower, W. Basketball, General Studies
Dani Hofer, Softball, Communication Studies
Elkana Kosgei, Track & Field, General Studies
Katherine Lagow, Soccer, Political Science
Danny McCray, Football, General Studies
Chris Mitchell, Football, General Studies
Tasmin Mitchell, Basketball, Communication Studies
Katelyn Rodrigue, Track & Field, Communication Disorders
Ross Roubion, Track & Field, History
Brandon Selts, Swimming & Diving, General Studies
Nathan Telep, Swimming & Diving, Sociology
LaTavia Thomas, Track & Field, Communication Studies
Chris White, Swimming & Diving, General Studies
Keiland Williams, Football, Communication Studies
David Impastato*, Football, Biological Sciences
Paul Bertuccini, Baseball, Management
Mark DeBlanc, Track & Field, Finance
Samantha Henry, Track & Field, Accounting
Hannah Robinson, Tennis, Finance
Buzzy Haydel, Baseball, Kinesiology
Roslyn Jones, Soccer, Kinesiology
August Mangin, Football, Kinesiology
Sloane Mathis**, Tennis, Kinesiology
Tiaerra McLaurin, Track & Field, Kinesiology
Katherine Noland, Swimming & Diving, Elementary Education
Rachel Yepez, Soccer, Sport Administration
Phillip Malcolm, Track & Field, Construction Management
Joe Maltempi, Football, Chemical Engineering
Amal Esmail, Track & Field, Mass Communication
Lauren Grandy, Swimming & Diving, Mass Communication
Orlando Gunn, Football, Mass Communication
Graduate School (All Master’s Degrees)
Paige Brown, Swimming & Diving, Biological/Ag Engineering
Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, Gymnastics, Kinesiology
Will Davis, Baseball, Kinesiology
Marlon Greensword, Track & Field, Industrial Engineering
Megan Kliebert, Track & Field, Psychology
Brian Leveille, Golf, Finance
Marina Skender, Volleyball, Kinesiology
Ashley Thomas, Basketball, Business Administration
*Summa Cum Laude