Lubbock Christian University claimed their first Heartland Conference Academic Award of Excellence, sporting an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.31 for the 2016-17 school year the conference office announced Wednesday. LCU also took home the Women's Academic Award of Excellence with a 3.49 GPA.
LCU narrowly edged out last year's Academic Award of Excellence recipient St. Mary's University. The Rattlers finished with a 3.30 program GPA. It marked the second consecutive year the award winner and runner-up were separated by .01 points.
"The Heartland Conference and our member institutions have always prided ourselves on the excellence of our student-athletes in the classroom, and this year we have more to be proud of than ever," said Heartland Commissioner Tony Stigliano. "Congratulations to Lubbock Christian for earning its first Academic Award of Excellence and for setting a record for the highest overall Women's GPA since the award's inception."
Lubbock Christian's 3.49 overall women's GPA bested the previous high mark of 3.45 set by Oklahoma Christian last year. All six of LCU's women's programs produced at least a 3.12 GPA, with women's golf (3.74) and women's basketball (3.73) leading the way. LCU's women's golf, women's basketball, women's soccer (3.67) and volleyball (3.66) were the best amongst the rest of the Heartland Conference programs per sport. On the men's side, the Chaps men's golf program led the university with a 3.45. Baseball (3.20) had the second best GPA and it was the second best, by sport, in the conference.
"We are very proud of our student-athletes because they have always competed not only on the court or on the field, but in the classroom as well," said director of athletics Paul Hise. "Winning this award is a great honor considering the outstanding academic reputations of the other institutions in the Heartland Conference."
Overall the conference had a 3.19 grade point average eclipsing last year's 3.14 conference-wide mark.