NEW ORLEANS – University of South Alabama women’s cross country / track and field student-athlete Susanna Pudner has been named the Female Sun Belt Conference Postgraduate Award winner as announced by the league office on Tuesday.

To be eligible for SBC Postgraduate Scholarships, nominees have to have (1) completed eligibility, (2) been declared or designated a varsity letter winner in a sport for at least two seasons, (3) achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale) and participated in a sport sanctioned by the Sun Belt Conference.

The scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes with stated intentions to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements and are sent directly to the graduate school of each recipient’s choice. The recipients are selected by the Sun Belt Postgraduate Scholarship Committee, which is comprised of Faculty Athletic Representatives from across the conference.

After graduating from South with a degree in biology with a minor in psychology in May with a 3.98 cumulative grade-point average, Pudner will receive $6,500 from the Sun Belt Conference toward future education as she prepares to enter the University of Utah Graduate Program in genetic counselling.  

The Auburn, Ala., native has been named to both the SBC Commissioner’s List and the Dean’s List at South Alabama each year since arriving on campus for the 2017-18 season. Pudner has been active in community service and leadership activities, as she has been a crisis counselor and patient advocate the past two years at Lifelines Counseling Rape Crisis Center, and as a volunteer fundraiser for the Huntington Disease Society of America since the spring of 2020. She has also served as a student mentor with the University of South Alabama Mentor Collective.

Over the course of her career, she has recorded 13 top-10 finishes in the two sports, as she has lettered in cross country, as well as the track & field team for the Jaguars.

Pudner has competed in 12 cross country races during her South career, and this past fall she earned third-team all-Sun Belt honors as she finished 15th at the league championship meet. The all-conference honor marked the first time in her career that Pudner has earned all-SBC honors, as she set a new personal best 5K time of 18:18.2.

During this year’s indoor track & field season, she recorded two personal bests and four top-10 finishes. Pudner’s 10:26.75 time in the 3000 meters was good enough for a fifth-place finish at the UAB Blazer Invitational, and she earned a personal best in the same event with a 10:03.53 time at the Jaguar Invitational. At the Sun Belt Indoor Championships, Pudner placed ninth in both the 3000 meters (10:12.56) and the 5000 meters with a career-best time of 18:01.43.

Pudner ran a personal best of 4:47.72 in the 1500m during the outdoor season at the USA Invitational for a seventh-place finish. She then competed in Auburn’s Tiger Track Classic, where she claimed third place in the 5000 meters with a personal best time of 17:32.68, which also ranks as the 10th-fastest time in the Sun Belt Conference this spring in the event at Auburn.

Georgia Southern’s Pascal Wagemaker was selected as the Male recipient of the $6,500 post-grad scholarship, while Alex Hannie (Louisiana), Julianne Deblieux (Louisiana), Jonathan Ifedi (Georgia State), Isaac Murdock (Coastal Carolina) and Sara Betts (Arkansas State) each received $3,000 scholarship awards.  

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