122 Kentucky Wildcats Set for 2024 Commencement

122 Kentucky Wildcats Set for 2024 Commencement

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A total of 122 current and former University of Kentucky student-athletes are on track to complete academic requirements this week or in the summer term.

The graduates will take part in the University’s Spring Commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday in Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center (see information here). Adding the 41 student-athletes who graduated in December, UK Athletics is expected to have 163 graduates during the 2023-24 school year.

Included in the graduates are 18 Wildcats who are completing their master’s degrees – Brennan Canada from men’s basketball, Michael Bernard, Ramon Jefferson, Chance Poore and Jack Varga from football, Alex Goff from men’s golf, Jensen Castle, María Villanueva Aperribay and Marissa Wenzler from women’s golf, Maria Castaldo and Stephanie Stull from women’s soccer, Jaden Vickers from softball, Tori Orcutt from women’s swimming and diving, Maialen Morante from women’s tennis, Beck O’Daniel from men’s track and field/cross country, and Katelyn Hutchison, Sydney Steely and Iantha Wright from women’s track and field/cross country.

Three Wildcats – Zack Brown and Riley Mahan from baseball and Enzo Mauriz from men’s soccer – are expected to graduate after finishing their undergraduate work as part of UK Athletics’ Post-Eligibility program. Also known as the Cawood Ledford Scholarships, UK Athletics pays for tuition and books for scholarship student-athletes who return to school after completing their eligibility. Since its inception in 1989, more than 160 Wildcats have returned to graduate through the program.

UK’s graduating class also has excelled in the arenas of competition. While at Kentucky, the graduates have been part of three team NCAA Championships, 11 conference regular-season championships and seven conference tournament championships. A total of 11 graduates have earned All-America honors while at Kentucky and 19 have gained all-conference recognition.

The leadership of this class sparked UK Athletics to a school-record No. 9 final ranking (among 358 Division I schools) in the 2022 NACDA Directors’ Cup all-sports standings. In 2023, UK finished 18th in the NACDA Directors’ Cup.

“Graduation is the culmination of years of dedication and I’m proud of another strong group of graduates,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “In addition, I’m thankful for the guidance provided by our staff at CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) and the encouragement and support given by our coaches.”

Wildcat fans will continue to see many of these graduates on their respective fields of play in 2024-25 as numerous student-athletes have remaining eligibility and will return to represent UK while attending graduate school or completing additional undergraduate certifications.

UK’s graduation success continues the trend of strong academic news:

  • The 2023 fall semester was the 23rd straight for UK Athletics with a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average as Wildcat scholarship student-athletes combined to achieve a GPA of 3.336. It was the second-highest GPA for a semester for UK Athletics.
  • Fifth-nine Wildcats were recently named to the 2023-24 Winter Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for having a 3.0 grade-point average for the preceding academic year or a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  • Recently, UK tied the school record for its NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 92 percent, one point above the national average of 91 percent. All of UK’s teams surpassed the mandatory score for the NCAA Academic Progress Rate. UK’s overall APR rate was higher than the overall national average.
  • In August 2023, UK Athletics announced a school-record 12 Academic All-Americans for the 2022-23 school year from the College Sports Communicators organization.
  • Nineteen current and former UK student-athletes were honored by the 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives Board with Academic Excellence Awards, it was announced in February.

Below is the list of expected graduates:

Baseball (17)
Devin Burkes
Zack Brown #
Evan Byers
Reuben Church
Ty Crittenberger
Ryan Hagenow
Zach Hise
Robert Hogan
Johnny Hummel
Nick Lopez
Riley Mahan #
Nolan McCarthy
Ryan Nicholson
Dominic Niman
Cameron O’Brien
Trey Pooser
Grant Smith

Men’s Basketball (4)
Brennan Canada – master’s degree
Tre Mitchell
Antonio Reeves
Kareem Watkins Jr.

Women’s Basketball (5)
Nyah Leveretter
Brooklynn Miles
Ajae Petty
Eniya Russell
Maddie Scherr

Football (9)
Michael Bernard – master’s degree
Wilson Berry
Zion Childress
Jordan Dingle
Ronald Gaines, III
Ramon Jefferson – master’s degree
Joshua Jones *
Chance Poore – master’s degree
Alex Raynor
Jack Varga – master’s degree
Jai Williams
La’Vell Wright

Men’s Golf (5)
Alex Goff – master’s degree
Campbell Kremer
Jackson LaLonde
Cooper Parks
Tanner Parks

Women’s Golf (4)
Jensen Castle – master’s degree
Laney Frye
María Villanueva Aperribay – master’s degree
Marissa Wenzler – master’s degree

Gymnastics (5)
Bailey Bunn
Hailey Davis
Arianna Patterson
Elyssa Roberts *
Raena Worley

Rifle (1)
Emmie Sellers

Men’s Soccer (4)
Aboubacar Camara *
Ben Damge
Andrew Erickson
Enzo Mauriz #

Women’s Soccer (8)
Mia Arias
Lainey Burman
Maria Castaldo * – master’s degree
Paige Copeland
Taya Hjorth *
Stephanie Stull * – master’s degree
Ulfa Ulfarsdottir
Hadley Williams

Softball (7)
Erin Coffel
Meeko Harrison
Vanessa Nesby
Stephanie Schoonover
Erica Thulen
Margaret Tobias
Jaden Vickers – master’s degree

Damiya Bostic
Gabbi Freeman
MJ Garrett
Rachel Hammond
Isabella Holloway
Karley Kalchbrenner
Jordyn Thomas *
Alayna Tobo

Men’s Swimming and Diving (1)
Zane Rosely

Women’s Swimming and Diving (10)
Kaitlyn Bacik
Caroline Benda
Torie Buerger
Sofie Davis
Megan Drumm
Bridget Engel
Leah Luckett
Claire McDaniels
Tori Orcutt – master’s degree
Kristyn Sabol

Men’s Tennis (3)
Taha Baadi
Josh Lapadat
Tate Sandman

Women’s Tennis (3)
Makayla Mills
Maialen Morante – master’s degree
Elizabeth Stevens

Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country (11)
Jake Allen
Ryan Avare
Keaton Daniel
Matt Duvall
DaRoyce Flemons
Dustin Horter
John Kruzel
Harper Moore
Beck O’Daniel – master’s degree
Dennis Ohene-Adu
Dalton Shepler

Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country (13)
Maria Anderson
Patrice Cornelious
Charity Hufnagel
Katelyn Hutchison – master’s degree
Jaida Knowles *
Jania Martin
Kristen Masucci
Mahogany Mobley
Seven Simms
Sydney Steely – master’s degree
Reynei Wallace
Meg Wilson
Iantha Wright – master’s degree

Volleyball (1)
Mariah Walker

* denotes former student-athlete

# denotes former student-athlete participated in Cawood Ledford Degree Completion Program

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