NAIA Honors Grace for Academic Prowess

For the first time in Grace College history, every Lancer team received recognition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for academic success. 

Every varsity team on campus was named to the prestigious NAIA Scholar-Teams’ list. Grace had the 12th-most Scholar-Teams for the 2016-17 academic year, breaking the school’s record set a year ago. To be included on the list, an athletic program must record a GPA of 3.00 or higher. 

Eleven of the athletic programs finished in the top 25 for their specific sport and seven concluded the academic year in the top three in the Crossroads League per sport. As a whole, the Grace College athletic department ended the year with a 3.35 GPA.

The Lady Lancers’ volleyball squad led the way inside the classroom, finishing the year with a GPA of 3.75. Out of every NAIA varsity team, coach Katie Van Hofwegen’s squad had the 19th-best GPA nationally and fourth highest in the sport.

“The academic excellence that our athletic programs achieve can be credited to the commitment and dedication of our coaches and student-athletes,” said Grace Athletic Director Chad Briscoe. “Our programs strive for Christian excellence in all areas, which includes both the academic and athletic realms. The Scholar-Team distinction for our programs is a tremendous reflection on Grace College. Our faculty play an integral role in the academic and spiritual growth of our student-athletes, and we are incredibly thankful for their work.”

Coach Jim Kessler’s men’s basketball team beat every other school in the Crossroads League. The 3.49 GPA-wielding team climbed 12 spots from a year ago to finish third overall in their sport and claim the conference academic championship. 

Three additional programs clipped the 3.50 GPA mark. Under coach Jeff Raymond’s guidance, women’s indoor (3.53 GPA) and outdoor (3.56 GPA) track and field had a successful academic campaign. Women’s soccer, coached by Michael Voss, earned a 3.54 GPA. Those three teams finished in the top 25 of their sport and second in the Crossroads League. 

Men’s indoor and outdoor track tallied a 3.24 GPA and ended the year in the top 25 for their sport. The Lancers’ indoor unit was second in the Crossroads League, while outdoor was third. 

Coach Cam Screeton’s baseball team rounded off the year with a 3.24 GPA, finishing No. 11 among NAIA baseball teams. 

Three additional teams finished in the top 25 respectively for their sport: softball (3.46 GPA), men’s tennis (3.34 GPA) and men’s soccer (3.26 GPA).

Remaining Scholar-Teams for the Lancers include: women’s tennis (3.44 GPA), women’s cross country (3.36 GPA), men’s golf (3.25 GPA), women’s basketball (3.15 GPA), women’s golf (3.06 GPA) and men’s cross country (3.06 GPA).

To view the complete listing of NAIA Scholar-Teams sorted by GPA and school, click here. Overall, 1,658 teams earned the Scholar-Team distinction from the NAIA.

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