ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis University softball team registered the third-highest grade point average among NCAA Division I programs for the 2015-16 academic year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced Thursday.
The Billikens, who tied for 13th in team GPA in 2014-15, registered a 3.641 team GPA last year. They trailed only Grand Canyon (3.670) and Omaha (3.643) in Division I.
Every Billiken achieved a GPA above 3.0 in the fall 2015 semester. SLU softball student-athletes earned 70 A’s, 40 B’s and no C’s in 110 courses taken during that term.
“I am extremely proud of our team’s accomplishment in garnering the No. 3 grade point average in the nation,” head coach Christy Connoyer said. “Our student-athletes’ ability to sustain academic and athletic balance throughout the rigors of college athletics was outstanding last year.
“Making the accomplishment especially impressive is the difficulty of our student-athletes’ majors – biomedical engineering, nursing, physical therapy, accounting, education, speech pathology, emergency management and mechanical engineering,” Connoyer said. “These young women will graduate to become nurses, educators, engineers and accountants, or even continue in graduate school.”
Connoyer also recognized how strongly the academic and athletic balance is supported throughout the Saint Louis Department of Athletics, noting in particular the contributions of senior academic coordinator Heather Freehill and sports performance coach Alicia Watson.
“Heather is excellent with academic arrangements when we travel, schedule classes and obtain tutors,” Connoyer said. “Her support is invaluable. Alicia trains our athletes in the weight room to be quicker, faster and stronger while also diligently and selflessly working within their academic schedules. She, along with our coaching staff, allows them an opportunity to get the degree of their choice and still train and compete at the highest level.
“These outstanding student-athletes represent themselves, our softball program, our athletics department and Saint Louis University on and off the field exceptionally well,” Connoyer said. “They compete day in and day out to raise the standard of excellence, and I am inspired by their commitment.”
Following Saint Louis in the top 10 were Southern Illinois (3.627), Western Carolina (3.607), Georgia State (3.595), DePaul (3.591), Harvard (3.590), Fairfield (3.589) and Missouri State (3.569). Other Atlantic 10 Conference programs making the top 100 were No. 53 Dayton (3.377) and No. 93 Massachusetts (3.090).