Six EMU student-athletes have been named to the Academic All-State Team by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID). A total of 234 student-athletes representing 41 colleges and universities in the state were recognized.
Those honored from Eastern Mennonite University were:
Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton), Sr., Women's Cross Country/Track & Field, Biology, 3.85 GPA. Chappell-Dick recently completed one of the most decorated careers of any Royals athlete, becoming a five-time All-American, including three times during the 2015-16 seasons. She broke nine EMU records and won the ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year six times. Earlier this summer, Chappell-Dick was also given the Marjorie Berkley Award as the top female scholar-athlete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and she is a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year.
Tyler Denlinger (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock), Jr., Men's Cross Country/Track & Field, Biology/Pre-Med, 3.99 GPA. Like Chappell-Dick, Denlinger is earning a repeat spot on the Academic All-State Team. He is also a three-time ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. At the ODAC Outdoor Championships in late April, Denlinger grabbed All-ODAC Second Team status in both the 1500m and 4x400m relay. He later broke the EMU record in the 1500m, setting the bar at 3:53.68.
Katie Miller (San Antonio, Tex./Brandeis), Sr., Women’s Volleyball - Libero, Economics & Environmental Sustainability (double major), 3.74 GPA. A four-year starter as Eastern Mennonite’s libero, Miller destroyed the program record for career digs and stands at No. 6 all-time in ODAC history with 1738 digs. Even with opposing teams hitting away from her, Miller surpassed the previous EMU record (1436) early in her senior season and averaged 4.57 digs per set. She also added 19 service aces to bring her career total to 101.
Jolee Paden (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Ogden), Sr., Women's Cross Country/Track & Field, Recreation Leadership and Sport Promotion & Business Administration (double major), 3.91 GPA. Despite running in Chappell-Dick’s shadow over their four concurrent years, Paden also completed a very successful career at EMU. Last fall, Paden earned her third consecutive All-ODAC Second Team finish at the ODAC cross country meet. She also had four All-ODAC honors from track, including a Second Team medal with the distance medley relay team this year.
Jess Rheinheimer (Manheim, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite), Sr., Women’s Basketball - Forward, Nursing, 3.95 GPA. Rheinheimer earns her second straight Academic All-State honor to wrap up a career which stands alone in the annals of EMU athletics. She is a two-time Academic All-American, including this year when the women’s basketball player became the first Eastern Mennonite athlete to be named the Academic All-American of the Year in any sport. Rheinheimer is also the only woman in ODAC history to twice be named both the ODAC Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She led the Royals with 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and leaves as the No. 3 scorer in EMU history (1567) and No. 11 rebounder (646).
Alena Yoder (Elkhart, Ind./Bethany Christian), Sr., Women’s Volleyball – Defensive Specialist, History, 3.97 GPA. Yoder teamed with Miller to give EMU one of the best back rows in the conference over the past four years, finishing third on the team with 2.89 digs per set. The Royals were second in the ODAC as a team, averaging 16.69 digs per set, and have been in the top three in each of seasons Yoder and Miller have been on the team.
To earn VaSID Academic All-State honors, a student-athlete must have achieved at least a 3.25 grade point average and be at least a sophomore. Each school in the state is allowed six nominees.
VaSID is comprised of sports information or athletics communications professionals from intercollegiate institutions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Membership is open to any individual affiliated with one of the state's institutions at the NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, USCAA and community college levels, provided that individual's area of responsibility lies within the realm of sports information.