ST. LOUIS -- The Saint Louis University softball team registered the sixth-highest grade point average among NCAA Division I programs for the 2016-17 academic year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced this week.

This marks a second consecutive top-10 finish for the Billikens, who registered a 3.594 team GPA last year. The 2015-16 team placed third in the nation after the 2014-15 squad tied for 13th.

“The NFCA Academic Top 10 honor is an incredible accomplishment for our softball student-athletes,” head coach Christy Connoyer said. “To be one of the top academic teams in the country while managing majors in engineering, nursing, physical therapy, business, education, speech pathology, accounting and emergency management is quite a remarkable achievement. I am very proud of our student-athletes’ ability to balance the academic demands while competing at a high level, and I am inspired by their commitment.

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.

“We are very grateful for the support throughout the department which allows our student-athletes an opportunity to get the degree of their choice and still train and compete at the highest level,” Connoyer said.  “Heather helps our student-athletes with class scheduling, academic arrangements on the road and obtaining tutors. She is outstanding in aiding the college transition for our newcomers. Alicia supports our academic endeavors and works selflessly to accommodate training for our student-athletes around their class schedules.

“Academic excellence is a standard held high by our softball student-athletes,” Connoyer said. “They represent themselves, our softball program, our athletics department and our University in the classroom and on the softball diamond exceptionally well. Congratulations to them on an awesome achievement.”

“We push each other on and off the field and support everyone’s different majors,” said senior third baseman Allie Macfarlane, a mechanical engineering major. “At home, we study in the library after practice. While on the road, we study in the hotel lobby, on the bus and in the airport. We genuinely want everyone to succeed.”