Oklahoma junior Emma LaPinta was recognized for her commitment in the classroom as the 2021 Big 12 Gymnastics Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year, the conference office announced Wednesday.
A native of Frisco, TX, LaPinta is the first Sooner in program history to receive the award, which was created by the Big 12 prior to the 2012-13 academic year. LaPinta shared the honor with junior Alexis Vasquez of Denver.
LaPinta, a communications major, boasts a 4.0 GPA and 90 percent participation in 2021. She is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree (2020, 2021) and a 2019 Academic All-Rookie selection. LaPinta is also a two-time WCGA Scholastic All-American.
LaPinta has competed in all but one meet for the Sooners in 2021, appearing on floor in 13 of the team’s 14 meets and competed in vault in six meets. She owns a career high 9.925 on floor and has tallied five marks of 9.9 or higher this season on the event. The junior also notched a career high 9.825 on vault this season.
LaPinta becomes the 14th Sooner to receive the Scholar Athlete of the Year award from the Big 12.
Other Sooners to receive the honor are Kaylee Dao (soccer, 2019-20), Louise Kuehster (rowing, 2018-19) Jake Irvin (baseball, 2017-18), Everette Favor (track and field, 2016-17), Alex Ghilea (men's tennis, 2016-17), Lily Miyazaki (women's tennis, 2016-17), Paige Welch (soccer, 2017-18) Rachel Ressler (soccer, 2015-16), Marissa Beene (rowing, 2015-16), Ty Darlington (football, 2014-15), Sallie McLauren (volleyball, 2013-14), Gabe Ikard (football, 2013-14) and Kevin Williams (outdoor track and field, 2012-13).
The Big 12 Conference established its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012-13. A recipient is named in each conference-sponsored sport. Every Big 12 institution nominates one individual per sport with the winners selected by a vote of the league head coaches for that sport, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year nominees must be a junior or senior (athletic and academic standing), have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher, participate in at least 20 percent of the team's scheduled contests and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.