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Albright and Maple Pursue Success
May 19, 2014

Being a student-athlete is about achieving a tricky balance, but reaching the pinnacle of achievement both on the competition floor and in the classroom is a feat many never reach.

For Oklahoma gymnast Lara Albright and wrestler Kendric Maple, however, it's not an unachievable goal. Instead, it has now become a legacy that both Albright and Maple will leave behind. 

Both Albright and Maple finished their Oklahoma careers as national champions and All-Americans, but the accolades haven't ended there. The duo continues to rack up academic honors for their impressive achievement in and out of the classroom: within the past week, both have been named recipients of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and have earned spots on the competitive Capital One Academic All-District At-Large team for District 7.

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are at least in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.First granted in 1964, this grant of $7,500 is given to a maximum of 174 student-athletes over the course of each academic year. Twenty-nine men and twenty-nine women each fall, winter and spring are awarded the scholarship.

Capital One Academic All-District honorees on the at-large team are recognized as the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. First-team Academic All-District honorees advance to the All-America team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees are announced in June.

Albright finished her undergraduate career with a degree in marketing this month. A first-team All-American on floor exercise and a member of Oklahoma's 2014 NCAA Championship women's gymnastics team, Albright will attend law school this fall in pursuit of her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) at Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Maple finished his OU wrestling career as a three-time All-American and a 2013 NCAA individual champion for Oklahoma. He placed eighth at the 2014 NCAA Championships and is currently in pursuit of his Master's in Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma.

Get to know two of Oklahoma's most outstanding student-athletes with a Q&A below on their academic and athletic memories from OU.


LARA ALBRIGHT

Undergraduate major: Marketing

Post-Graduate degree: Juris Doctor

Favorite class at OU: This is a tough one! I would say my favorite class would be Marketing Strategy and Policy. I liked seeing all of the material from my other marketing classes come together. I also really liked my math courses the first few semesters I was here. I miss doing math.

Favorite professor: Tie between Jeff Schmidt and B.J. Allen. Their classes were always so fun and entertaining. Professor Schmidt took a selfie with me at graduation!

Favorite study place: I actually don't study on campus because I will get distracted. I study in my room.

Post-grad plans: Law school in the fall.

Future career goals: I want to practice law. Right now, I'm interested in becoming an agent for professional athletes. 

My NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship will be used for...
TUITION!

OU's academic support has been important to me because...
I have had an incredible amount of academic support while I've been here. I knew there was always someone who could help me if I ran into a problem. Our team's academic advisor, Annette (Moran), has been great not only at helping us with our academic schedules, but also listening to us during those stressful moments of the semester.   

Academic inspiration: My parents have always been there to encourage me and push me toward achieving the best I could do. My teammates were also there to reassure me when I didn't do as well as I knew I could have. 

Best athletic moment: Our team making history last month by winning NCAAs! Individually, I was really happy I qualified for NCAA event finals.

Best academic moment: The last couple months have been amazing for me. I was able to reach both my athletic goals and academic goals within the same semester. I won a couple awards that were separate from the athletic department. It was nice to be recognized for being a student, not just a student-athlete. I am really proud of achieving a 4.0 GPA for my final semester.

I chose OU because...
The feelings and emotions I had when I pictured myself at Oklahoma were amazing. I would have butterflies in my stomach when I thought about being a gymnast at OU.

The best part of my OU experience was...
Definitely those little moments with my teammates during practice and competition. The most amazing feeling is having a swarm of teammates run up to you for high-fives after nailing your routine and the look of pride on your coaches' faces.

My biggest takeaway from my time at OU is...
What I get out of something is equal to the amount of effort and dedication I put into it. I also learned never to count myself out, because I surprise myself quite often.

KENDRIC MAPLE

Undergraduate major: Health and Exercise Science

Post-Graduate degree: Intercollegiate Athletic Administration

Favorite class at OU: Anatomy was my favorite class because we got to explore the human body and functions through cadavers. 

Favorite professor: Dr. Gerald Gurney because of his work with the current issues with student -athletes.

Favorite study place: The team room in the wrestling facility. 

Post-grad plans: I plan to finish graduate school next year and either start in to coaching or go back to school for physical therapy. 

Future career goals: I plan to either become a college wrestling coach or go in to physical therapy. 

My NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship will be used for...
I will be using my scholarship to pay for grad school expenses, travel to school, and room and board. 

OU's academic support has been important to me because...
OU's academic support gives you anything you would ever need to achieve success. They provide support for you entering as a freshman all the way to helping you transition in to your career as a senior.   

Academic inspiration: My parents have always inspired me to achieve the highest success and not just work to get by. With my parents and our head coach Mark Cody setting such high academic standards, it was set in my mind that I would do my best to achieve academic success.

Best athletic moment: My best athletic moment would be winning an NCAA championship. 

Best academic moment: When I received the Prentice Gautt and Sooner Scholar award at the student-athlete breakfast. 

I chose OU because...
The wrestling program looked like a family to me and I perceived OU as a place of tradition, progress, and excellence. 

The best part of my OU experience was...
Getting the opportunity to achieve success academic an athletic success that has prepared me for my future. 

My biggest takeaway from my time at OU is...
With God and hard work you can accomplish anything. 

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