Academic Success Continues to Rise; Lipscomb Claims Third Straight Honor

MACON, Ga. – A record percentage of Atlantic Sun Conference student-athletes received Honor Roll accolades for the second consecutive season and Lipscomb University claimed the Presidents' Academic Trophy for the third consecutive year, the conference announced on Friday.

More than 70 percent of the league's student-athletes earned membership to the ASUN Honor Roll by posting a 3.0 grade point average or better during the 2015-16 academic year. This is the second straight year of reaching a new high in Honor Roll membership, and additionally two institutions recorded their own percentage highs during the 2015-16 academic year. The ASUN academic honors include student-athletes from the ASUN's eight current member institutions along with affiliate institutions.

"Once again we celebrate the progressive achievement of ASUN student-athletes as they consistently raise the bar academically and excel in their roles of student and athlete," said ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart. "For the second straight year the results are a conference high mark, and that is attributed to the commitment from every part of the ASUN team – student-athletes, coaches, faculty, athletic department staff – all who remain student-focused as the ASUN continues to rise."

Lipscomb snagged its third straight Presidents' Academic Trophy with 83.73 percent of its student-athletes receiving a 3.0 GPA or better during the 2015-16 academic year. The Bisons did so after setting a conference and program record for the second straight year in 2014-15. Lipscomb is the first and only school to reach 80 percent or higher, and it has done so the last two years.

Two other schools – NJIT (68.14) and North Florida (69.64) – set new program records and four schools improved their percentages from last year. Additionally, for the seventh consecutive year more than 60 percent of the ASUN's teams were honored, continuing the streak of academic excellence for the conference.

In addition to the institutional highs, a total of nine sports also recorded percentage highs including five – men's soccer, men's cross country, men's track and field, women's basketball, and women's golf  – that raised the bar from last year's record-setting marks. Men's basketball, men's cross country, men's golf, men's soccer, men's track and field, women's basketball, women's cross country and women's golf each reached new bests during the 2015-16 academic year.

Eight sports also turned in totals of at least 80 percent of the teams recording a 3.0 GPA or better – men's tennis (90.16), women's lacrosse (84.52), women's cross country (82.61), women's golf (92.12), beach volleyball (84.81), volleyball (83.78), women's soccer (80.42) and women's tennis (83.64).

A total of 125 ASUN student-athletes were Graduates with ASUN Honors by completing their eligibility with a GPA of 3.5 or better.  Women's soccer, volleyball and women's soccer led the way with double-digit totals of student-athletes graduating with honors. Academic champ Lipscomb also led the way with a total of 22 student-athletes graduating with honors.

Including many from this elite group of scholars, a total of 99 student-athletes received their undergraduate degrees while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA during the 2015-16 academic year, a total that is up seven from last year. This outstanding group includes several sport-specific Scholar-Athlete of the Year winners: Lipscomb's Kayla Ostrom (volleyball), FGCU's Stephanie Haas (women's basketball) and Mei Khuan Yong (women's golf), Jacksonville's Stormm Phillips (women's indoor track & field), Samantha Turner (women's outdoor track & field) and Victoria Brown (softball), Kennesaw State's Simon Pritchard (men's tennis), Detroit's Kylie Birney (women's lacrosse), and North Florida's Justin Bryan (men's outdoor track & field) and Eden Meyer (women's outdoor track & field).

Also the ASUN 2016 Male Student-Athlete of the Year, KSU's Pritchard heads a list of other First-Team All-Conference and All-Academic team selections with perfect GPAs this academic year. The list includes: Lipscomb's Jacob Poyner (men's cross country), Kelli Nesky (women's cross country), Tanner Sanders (softball), Kelly Young (softball) and Jewell Dobson (volleyball); North Florida's Justin Bryan (men's cross country) and Eden Meyer (women's cross country); FGCU's Sara Detlefsen (women's golf) and Jeanie Verderese (softball);  Old Dominion's Cydney Tuchton (women's lacrosse); Howard's Jasmine Wilson (women's lacrosse); USC Upstate's Lexi Shubert (softball); Kennesaw State's Kristina Piedimonte (volleyball); and Mercer's Tori Penrod (beach volleyball) and Emma Peel (beach volleyball).

The ASUN recognized 1,427 student-athletes for their work in the classroom by reaching the 3.0 mark. Women's golf led all sports with more than 92 percent of its student-athletes earning a place on the ASUN Honor Roll, and Lipscomb's total of 278 honorees was also the most in the conference.

The ASUN is an NCAA Division I league with eight member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the ASUN footprint reaches into seven of the top media markets in the Southeast. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.

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