ANNAPOLIS, Md. --
Recent United States Naval Academy graduate Eric Gardiner
(Upland, Calif./Damien) and golfer Chris Renninger were
named At-Large First-Team Academic All-American selections on
Tuesday by ESPN The Magazine and the College Sports Information
Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Navy was just one of two institutions to have at least two representatives on the first, second and third teams combined. Stanford led the way with three first-team honorees. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.20 on a scale of 4.00 and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing. The academic at-large team represents athletes participating in bowling (w), crew (w), fencing (m/w), field hockey (w), golf (m/w), gymnastics (m/w), ice hockey (m/w), lacrosse (m/w), rifle (m/w), skiing (m/w), swimming (m/w), tennis (m/w), volleyball (m), water polo (m/w) and wrestling (m).
Gardiner, who appeared in 31 games with eight starts for the Midshipmen this past fall, helped lead the Navy water polo team to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championship in December. He turned in 19 points (10 g, 9a) on the season and ended his career with 41 points (27 g, 14 a).
However, it was his contributions out of the pool that are perhaps most impressive.
Earning an "A" in every class he took while at the Academy, Gardiner owned a 4.00 cumulative GPA in comparative politics, and was selected to the Superintendent's and Commandant's List each semester while at Navy.
He graduated in May, where he was tied for first in academic order of merit and fourth in military order of merit. For his efforts in the classroom, he received a prestigious Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the United Kingdom for two years. Starting in September, he will be studying at Queen's University in Belfast, pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Terrorism, Violence and Security. Following a year at Queen's, Gardiner plans to study a second year at either Cambridge or Oxford, pursuing a degree in international relations.
Gardiner becomes the third Navy water polo player to be named an Academic All-America selection, as Andrew Sause was selected to the first team in 2001, while Barry Shaw was a second-team honoree in both 2001 and '02.
The honor caps off Gardiner's honor-filled career as he received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship last month and was the recipient of the Academy's Calvert Award.
The complete 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America At-Large teams can be found at http://www.cosida.com/documents/2008/6/10/2008_mens_atlarge.pdf.