MURRAY — Due to outstanding academic and athletic achievement, five Murray State student-athletes have been recognized as an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar for the 2020-21 season.
Eliza Mae Kho of women’s golf, Jordyn Naranjo of baseball, Eric Samuta of football, Jamie Skarupsky of women’s soccer and Rod Thomas of men’s basketball all earned a spot on one of four teams for their respective teams. Naranjo and Thomas were named to the first team, while Kho and Samuta were named to the second team and Skarupsky was named to the fourth team.
Diverse Magazine sponsors the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Awards to honor undergraduate students who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field. The awards are inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe Jr.’s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis. In addition to their athletic ability and academic performance, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership.
A two year-member of the men’s basketball team, Thomas works as hard in the classroom as he does on the court. The Paducah Tilghman High School graduate currently boasts a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average and is a health and physical education major. On the court, the sophomore played in nine games and notched a career-high 12 points in a win over Greenville.
Naranjo, of Clinton, went 3-0 on the mound for the Racers this season in 20 appearances with one start, striking out 25 and walking just 15. The redshirt freshman currently has a cumulative GPA of 3.75 and is majoring in chemistry on a pre-med track.
Kho (Miri, Malaysia) did not participate in the 2020-21 season on the links due to the COVD-19 pandemic, but she got it done in the classroom in the fall with a 4.0 semester GPA to raise her cumulative average to 3.83. As a freshman, in the pandemic shortened 2019-20 season, she turned in an average of 78.7 over 18 rounds, which went down as the fifth best average by a freshman in the OVC that season.
Samuta (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) had a breakout season for Racer football season in the 2020-21 spring season, tallying team-highs of 64 tackles and 5.0 tackles-for-loss on his was to first-team All-OVC honors.
The business administration major also tackled his course work with an equal amount of success, as he currently has a 3.63 cumulative GPA.
Despite not playing in the spring 2020-21 season, Skarupsky (Robbinsville, New Jersey) was an integral part of the Racers’ regular season championship. Academically, the Old Dominion transfer currently has a 3.53 GPA in television production major. In 2019, Skarupsky allowed just 1.4 goals per game over a nine-game stretch to end the year with a 4-3 record.