May 8, 2008

Navy's Eric Gardiner Earns NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Navy senior water polo player Eric Gardiner (Sr., Upland, Calif./Damien) is one of 58 student-athletes nationally and just one of two collegiate male water polo players to be awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, the NCAA announced recently. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The Association awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women.

"It is an honor to represent both Navy Water Polo and the Naval Academy in being named a recipient for a scholarship like this," said Gardiner. "Every student-athlete works very hard, trying to balance school and athletics, especially when they are traveling and in season. I was lucky enough to have a team and coaches that supported my academic endeavors as well as my athletic ones. I am very appreciative of that."

Gardiner, a utility player, appeared in 31 games with eight starts for the Midshipmen this past fall. He finished the season with 19 points (10 g, 9 a) and ended his career with 41 points (27 g, 14 a). However, it is his contributions out of the pool that are perhaps most impressive.

He owns a 4.00 cumulative GPA in comparative politics and has received an "A" in every course he has taken, while being on the Superintendent's and Commandant's List each semester while at Navy. Following the fall semester, he ranked first in the senior class on the Academic Order of Merit and fourth on the Military Order of Merit. 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. After completing graduate school, Gardiner will report to junior officer training in San Diego, Calif.

"Eric is perhaps the best student the water polo program has ever produced here at Navy, and probably one of the top two or three students here right now," said Navy head coach Mike Schofield. "We are extremely proud of what he has accomplished and looking forward to what he will accomplish in the future."

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. For more information about the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, go to the Diversity and Inclusion link under the About the NCAA tab at www.ncaa.org.


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