Smoky Hill senior Kelly Saindon earned Academic All-American honors from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for the 2018-19 season and also helped the Buffaloes to a Gold Scholar team award with a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.903. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | Colorado girls swimmers as a whole ranked among the most accomplished in the classroom during the 2018-19 season and Aurora programs at Grandview and Smoky Hill contributed largely to that distinction.

The National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association’s list of Academic All-Americans put Colorado in the top half of the 40 states that submitted applications for recognition, ranking 16th in the total number of Academic All-Americans (41, boys and girls), but local girls led the way with 29 of the accolades, which go to graduating seniors with a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.750 on a 4-point scale or 93.7500% of the grade scale for a school that uses 7 semesters/11 trimesters.

Among those 29 NISCA/Swimoutlet.com Academic All-American honorees were four from Aurora programs in Grandview’s Avery Ancell and Olivia Young, along with Smoky Hill’s Kelly Saindon and Maya Vazquez. Colorado’s list also included swimmers from Arapahoe, Fairview, Fossil Ridge, Monarch and Mountain Vista.

None of the four earned their way individually into the Class 5A girls state swim meet, but Saindon swam a leg in prelims on Smoky Hill’s 200 yard freestyle relay.

The Buffaloes and Wolves also excelled academically as teams, which has become a tradition for both programs.

NISCA annually recognizes the teams across the country that feature average cumulative Grade Point Averages over 3.200 for teams of 12 or more athletes with its Scholar Awards.

Both coach Scott Cohen’s Smoky Hill team and coach Karen Ammon’s Grandview team earned the highest distinction, the Gold Award.

The Buffaloes achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.903, which ranked an impressive 16th in the country and marked a rise for the second straight season as they were at 3.880 in 2016-17 and 3.897 in 2017-18.

The Wolves’ GPA of 3.819 put them 41st overall and returned them to Gold Scholar status after they won a Silver award last year at 3.683. Overall, Grandview has now captured a NISCA team academic award (Gold or Silver) for eight straight seasons.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2018-19 NISCA/SWIMOUTLET.COM GIRLS SCHOOL TEAM SCHOLAR AWARDS

Gold Award: Smoky Hill, 3.903 GPA; Grandview, 3.819

2018-19 NISCA/SWIMOUTLET.COM COLORADO GIRLS ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS

Emily Abernathy, Arapahoe; Zara Alkaff, Fossil Ridge; AVERY ANCELL, GRANDVIEW; Alexis Beggan, Fairview; Ashleigh Bol, Arapahoe; Natalie Brent, Fairview; Morganne Coberly, Mountain Vista; Caelyn DeCesare, Mountain Vista; Alexia Dellinger, Fossil Ridge; Julianna Haensly, Fairview; Brittany Hanna, Arapahoe; Parker Henry, Mountain Vista; Aditi Iyer, Mountain Vista; Morgan MacLean, Mountain Vista; Haley McBride, Fossil Ridge; Rya Muller, Fairview; Aditi Narwaney, Mountain Vista; Hadley Nelson, Fossil Ridge; Kaia Reznicek, Fairview; Kylee Rinker, Fossil Ridge; KELLY SAINDON, SMOKY HILL; Morgan Scherrer, Mountain Vista; Lauren Schlageter, Fairview; Kara Trombley, Fossil Ridge; Ainsley Tyree, Fossil Ridge; MAYA VAZQUEZ, SMOKY HILL; OLIVIA YOUNG, GRANDVIEW; Laura Zhang, Monarch