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Duo Earns Top University Senior Honor

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (May 4, 2020) – 
Senior Abby Kaufman of the West Virginia University gymnastics team has been honored with the 2020 Order of Augusta award, announced by the University on Monday.

Kaufman is the first gymnast in program history to receive the award, WVU’s most prestigious student honor.

Additionally, David Koenders of the Mountaineer rifle program was named to the WVU Foundation’s Outstanding Seniors list. Koenders and Kaufman were among 49 students who received the honor.

Established in 1995 to signify the 40th anniversary of the WVU Foundation, the Outstanding Seniors award recognizes students for their contributions and achievements in scholarship, leadership and service.

The Order of Augusta further recognizes the students’ superior scholarship, demonstrated leadership and record of community and public service. The award is named for its historical significance in the state. Augusta was among the original names considered by Legislature when the state seceded from Virginia in 1863.

Kaufman, a native of York, Pennsylvania, has maintained a 3.97 grade point average (GPA) while excelling athletically and academically. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and a minor in medical humanities and health sciences. Most recently, Kaufman completed an internship at WVU’s Division of Exercise Physiology’s Human Performance Lab, where she gained both administrative and direct patient experience.

Kaufman is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and serves as a leader with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization. She also dedicates her time with Stepping Stones, WVU’s Children’s Hospital, local nursing homes and community kitchens. In the summers, she helps coach and mentor local youth gymnastics camps.

“I believe Abby is truly worthy of this incredible honor, and I thank the University for providing an opportunity to honor Abby and the other 49 Outstanding Seniors on campus,” gymnastics coach Jason Butts said. “Abby has consistently displayed the true embodiment of what it means to be a Mountaineer. She is selfless, dedicated, extremely hardworking, loyal and not afraid to rise to any challenge in her life. Abby embraces that Mountaineers climb higher in every aspect of their lives. I am very proud of her, and I know she has an incredibly bright future ahead, one that will always shine Gold and Blue.”

Kaufman surpassed the 1,000-career point mark as a junior and ended her career with 22 podium finishes and three event wins. She shows career highs of 9.9 on balance beam, 9.875 on floor exercise, 9.85 on vault and uneven bars and 39.225 in the all-around.

Kaufman was most recently awarded the Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award by the Big 12 Conference, the league’s highest academic honor. In 2019, she was named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was recognized as a CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Third Team member.

Additionally, Kaufman was a three-time recipient of the NACGC/W Scholastic All-America honor and a three-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. She also was a member of the President’s and Dean’s Lists, as well as the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.

Koenders, a native of Mossautal, Germany, maintained a 4.00 GPA and led his teammates through his work ethic. He has been a member of SAAC since his arrival on campus and has volunteered at several organizations within the Morgantown community, including the WVU Children’s Hospital.

“David has had a great career at WVU and being named one of WVU’s Outstanding Seniors is a very fitting award for him to finish with,” WVU rifle coach Jon Hammond said. “I’m really proud of the work and effort David has put into his sport, his team and his education. He has taken advantage of all the resources available to him, and I hope his experience and education at WVU will serve him well for an exciting future.”

Koenders helped WVU qualify for its 13th straight NCAA Rifle Championships in his final season as a Mountaineer, finishing his career as a nine-time All-American and earning seven All-GARC First Team honors.

Most recently, Koenders earned GARC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for the second year in a row. He also was recognized as a CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Third Team member in 2019.

Koenders was a three-time CRCA All-Academic Team member and a two-time Academic All-Big 12 At-Large First Team honoree. He also was a member of the President’s and Dean’s Lists, as well as the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.

Photo Credit: WVU Sports

Press Release: WVU Athletics Communications

Shanna Rose
WVU Graduate with a bachelor's in journalism and multimedia journalist. Sports Fan and sports writer. Former WVU News reporter. Contact Shanna on Twitter @SMR1837
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