May 10, 2012
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SAN DIEGO - LMU sophomore Kiara Cerda had her dinner at the annual pretournament banquet at the 2012 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships surprisingly interrupted in mid-bite as the Biology major claimed the 2012 Elite 89 award, the highest overall honor given to a student-athlete at each of the 89 NCAA sponsored championships.
Cerda claims a 3.95 GPA while being a part of a Lion squad making their ninth trip to the NCAA championship. She is the first LMU student-athlete to earn the Elite 89 award.
In its 12th year as an NCAA championship, the women's water polo tournament begins each year with a full day of practice for each of the institutions followed by a dinner banquet sponsored by the host institution. San Diego State, host of this year's championship, hosted this year's banquet the Hall of Champions in San Diego.
Since the 2009-10 season, the Elite 89 award has been recognized during the pretournament banquet.
The Elite 89 award, founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships.
All GPAs are based on a straight grading scale to ensure consistency among institutions. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and competing at the championship.
The Lions held their workout at the Aztec Aquaplex in preparation for their first round match-up with sixth-ranked UC Irvine at 5:15 p.m., Friday. Watch the game live on NCAA.com.
- GO LIONS -