Drake Wins 2013-14 MVC All-Academic Award

Des Moines, Iowa -- Drake University has earned the 2013-14 MVC All-Academic Award. The award is given to the institution that finishes with the highest grade point average among its student-athletes that participate in The Valley.  The University of Evansville, which had won each of the past two years, finished second, while Bradley University was third.

More than 90 percent of Drake’s athletic teams that compete in the MVC achieved a 3.1 or higher GPA during the 2013-14 season with 70 percent of Drake’s student-athletes recording a 3.0 or better GPA during that span. Additionally, more than eight percent of Bulldog student-athletes maintained a sterling 4.0 GPA.

Throughout the 2013-14 season, the Bulldogs collected a league-high five MVC Elite 18 honors which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average competing at the finals site at each of the MVC’s 18 team championships. Drake’s honorees for the prestigious award included Steven Jordan (Indoor Track), Cara Lutes (Women’s Basketball), Alen Salibasic (Men’s Tennis), Maddie Johnson (Women’s Tennis), Rob McCann (Outdoor Track).

Five Bulldogs also earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors as track’s Andy Curtis, Steven Jordan and Brogan Austin combined with men’s tennis’ Alen Salibasic and men’s soccer’s Nick Marshall to give the Bulldogs a banner year on the Academic All-America lists.

Also at the completion of the 2013-14 academic year, Drake student-athletes received a total of 251 honors from the MVC with seven student-athletes – Andy Curtis (men’s track & field), Allie Heifner (women’s cross country), Hadley Jennings (women’s golf), Nick Marshall (men’s soccer), Erin Poss (women’s cross country), Kiah Swanson (women’s soccer) and Celia Venezia (women’s cross country) – earning the President’s Council Academic Excellence Award. Eighty-three Bulldogs were recipients of the Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award and 161 were named to the MVC Honor Roll.

On a team-level, nearly all of the Bulldogs’ programs enjoyed unrivaled academic success.

The Drake University women’s basketball program ranked sixth in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for the 2013-14 season. With a 3.571 team GPA in 2013-14, the Bulldogs had the highest team GPA in the MVC. The team also earned the NCAA Public Recognition Award, which is given annually to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with Academic Progress Rates. It marked the sixth consecutive season the program has garnered the prestigious accolade. Individually, Liza Heap was named an all-MVC Scholar-Athlete honorable mention selection.

Both soccer teams enjoyed academic success with each posting a team GPAs better than 3.3 and men’s senior Nick Marshall being selected as a first-team honoree to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I Men's Soccer Team. Marshall became just the third Bulldog to earn first-team accolades and the second Drake men’s soccer student-athlete to collect national honors twice. He also joined junior Thomas Schermoly as first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete selections.

The women’s soccer squad boasted a 3.479 GPA, its highest-ever mark in program history, during the 2013 campaign. Sophomore Emma Winstead was named a first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete honoree, while also being tabbed a first-team Capitol One Academic All-America All-District selection. Drake was recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for the 11th consecutive campaign as a College Team Academic Award Winner.

The track and field and cross country teams claimed two Elite 18 winners with Steven Jordan and Rob McCann sweeping the award while Jordan combined with Andy Curtis and Brogan Austin to earn Capitol One Academic All-America honors. During the fall season, the women’s cross country team recorded the 14th highest GPA in the nation at 3.66. That mark earned the prestigious Drake University Provost’s Award, given annually to the Drake program that records the highest team GPA. The team was also named a USTFCCCA Scholar Team for the seventh time in the last eight years while the men’s program earned the honor for the 15th-straight season.

En route to the NCAA Championships, the men’s tennis team also recorded a successful season in the classroom Alen Salibasic being named as the NCAA Elite 89 award winner as well as being tabbed for the second consecutive campaign as the recipient of the MVC Elite 18 award for men’s tennis. Additionally, Salibasic was chosen as a second-team honoree to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I At-Large Team, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Salibasic was the first Drake men’s tennis student-athlete to collect national honors as selected by CoSIDA. Senior Robin Goodman, junior Ben Mullis and Salibasic each were honored as first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete selections. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) recognized Drake for the second straight year as recipients of the 2014 ITA All-Academic Team Award.

The women’s tennis team collected an MVC Elite 18 award courtesy of sophomore Maddie Johnson. Additionally, she was selected to the All-MVC Scholar-Athlete first team as well as being chosen as a first-team Capital One Academic All-America All-District VI At-Large selection.

Softball was recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as it registered a 3.380 overall team grade point average. The Drake softball team has been honored by the NFCA in its annual Division I Academic Team rankings for 11 consecutive seasons. Amy Pierce and Sarah Ryan were each named an all-MVC Scholar-Athlete honorable mention selection.

The Drake University volleyball team was one of three Drake Programs to earn the coveted NCAA Public Recognition award as it collected its second-straight such honor Sarah Madden was selected to the all-MVC Scholar-Athlete first team.

The men’s golf team’s academic honors included redshirt junior Devin Leland earning MVC Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete accolades for the second consecutive year with his inclusion on the honorable-mention unit. For the women’s team, Hadley Jennings was recognized as a first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete selection for the second year in a row. Additionally, sophomore Katie Clausen and Jennings were named to the Women's Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team. Jennings received WGCA laurels for the fourth consecutive year, while Clausen collected accolades for the second time.