Seventeen Tarleton State University undergraduate and graduate kinesiology students attended the annual meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (TACSM) March 1-2, and three brought home honors.

Jacob Fletcher, a senior on the exercise and allied health professions track, received the Undergraduate Scholar Award, which includes $1,000 cash. He intends to enroll in a physician assistant program next fall.

Fletcher, Hayden McPherson and Josh Katuri took third place among 29 teams in the “Jeopardy”-style Student Bowl exercise physiology competition. Tarleton vied against students from TCU, Baylor and UT Austin; third place is the university’s highest finish at the conference. Texas A&M students took first place and will advance to the ACSM national meeting.

“As with most years, we had a really strong team. It was so much fun to watch them love the sheer joy of the challenge,” said kinesiology Associate Professor Jennifer Blevins-McNaughton. “They dedicated copious amounts of time outside the classroom without much reward, but they placed third. I think the smiles on their faces and conversations even a week later tell the story!”

McPherson has been accepted to the master’s in athletic training program at Tarleton, while Katuri is headed to the UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine.

More than 700 students and faculty sponsors from universities and colleges across Texas attended the meeting, hosted by UT Austin. Tarleton’s team sponsor was graduate student Patrick Freehill.

Participants from Tarleton were heavily involved.

Chandler Stage, a kinesiology graduate assistant in Tarleton’s Clinical Exercise Research Facility (CERF), applied for a TACSM Student Research Development Grant. She will be working on her thesis next year.

“Chandler is the first student in Tarleton history to apply for this grant, and I’m so proud of her for accepting the challenge. She is a repeat attendee from her undergraduate experience,” Blevins-McNaughton said.

In addition to the students’ achievements, Blevins-McNaughton began a three-year term as president of TACSM’s board of directors. She is CERF director and active in research and service-oriented activities through the center.