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Head Coach talks to the team before the start of the tournament. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

The 2019 spring semester proved academically productive for Weber State University athletes as students in nine participating sports tallied a 3.31 semester grade point average and seven teams reached a cumulative GPA above 3.5.

According to Ryan McGinn, Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services at Weber State, upperclassman play a big role in what the Wildcat athletic program wants to be.

“A big influence for student-athletes is the upperclassmen who are here and committed and doing well,” McGinn said. “They help the underclassmen, the freshmen and sophomores who are coming in, to understand expectations that we don’t just play a sport, we don’t just go to workouts and perform well on the field or court, but we also are committed to doing well in the classroom.”

The highest men’s GPA belonged to cross-country team members with an average of 3.51, while the highest women’s GPA went to the tennis team and its combined 3.65 GPA.

Coaches of the men’s cross-country and women’s tennis teams credit their players’ academic success to the team’s unity and focus on education.

“I know that this team is probably one of the closest teams we’ve ever had before, as far as supporting each other on and off the court and just helping each other along with everything,” WSU Director of Tennis Bradley Ferreira said. “This group that we had is just very hard-working, conscientious, and a great group of girls.”

Men’s cross-country coach Corbin Talley similarly raved about his team’s desire to do well academically.

“They want to be their best as runners and it carries over to other areas of their life, namely, the first one is their academics,” Talley said. “They really want to do well academically because, I think, it’s just about being their best in general.”

Out of the 361 athletes that took part in spring sports, 56 percent of student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.2 or above and 39 athletes earned a 4.0 GPA during the spring semester. Twenty WSU student-athletes received their diplomas and graduated on April 27.

In addition, 54 student-athletes received Big Sky Academic All-Conference Honors, compared to 69 in the 2018 Spring Semester. A total of 152 athletes earned these honors during the 2018-19 school year.

Ferreira noted that one women’s tennis team member, junior McKenna Lloyd, received a 4.0 GPA with the next highest being a 3.96 belonging to senior Emily Tanner. He also stated that no one on the team finished with a GPA lower than 3.2.

Talley similarly lauded his team’s scholastic efforts, saying that five runners, including junior Dallin Leatham and senior Jordan Cross, received 4.0s as well.

Both Ferreira and Talley attributed a majority of their teams’ success to the work of academic advisors.

“We get an update on how they’re doing every two weeks,” Ferreira said. “So if anybody’s slipping, then we can follow up on them right away instead of waiting until it’s too late.”

McGinn likewise acknowledged the coaches and their efforts.

“I think our coaches do a great job of identifying student-athletes who are prepared for school,” Mcginn said. “So either they’ve been good high school students or they’ve at least shown that they work hard and are willing to put in the effort to do well in school.”

McGinn, Ferreira and Talley also mentioned that WSU has great faculty that wants success for all of it’s students and not just students athletes.

“Get to know your professor and seek help from your professor because our professors on campus are outstanding,” McGinn said.”They’re willing to help students out and they understand that there are certain challenges that students face outside of the classroom and they’re willing to meet them and help them to understand the material I think that goes a long way.”

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