Gatson, Westminster named No. 1 in the nation
Last year, the Lady Jays basketball team from Westminster College set a goal of being number one in the nation academically. Today, the team was notified by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) that they achieved this high honor.
The Lady Jays achieved a 3.642 combined grade point average – the highest GPA for any NCAA Division III women’s basketball team in the country – for the 2013-14 school year. This combined GPA is calculated inclusive of all student-athletes on a team’s roster. The Lady Jay’s number one ranking is a first in the Westminster College program’s history.
“On behalf of the entire Westminster community, I want to express heartfelt congratulations to Coach Braden, Team Captain Lutz, and the rest of the Lady Jays on this fabulous achievement,” says Westminster College President Dr. George B. Forsythe. “Our Lady Jays set high goals both on and off the court last year. Being the top team academically for the NCAA Division III was their goal, and they worked hard to achieve it, constantly supporting and encouraging each other. These young women epitomize the student-athlete model at Westminster College.”
The WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll annually recognizes each collegiate division’s women’s basketball teams that carry the highest combined team GPA. A team’s GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of hours attempted by all team members in the academic terms that the season spans.
“Our team set a goal in August that we wanted to be number one in the nation, but it wasn’t a goal that we just wrote down and hoped for,” states Leigh Ann Lutz, senior captain and the conference’s NCAA Woman of the Year nomination.
“We calculated the GPAs collectively to make sure we were around a 3.7 and then we all checked up on each other throughout the year to make sure we were staying on pace. It was a group effort and we would not have been able to reach it without each teammate’s contribution and our coaches’ encouragement.”
This marks the Lady Jays’ fourth appearance on the Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, gradually climbing to this first place honor. The Lady Jays earned the 24th place honor for the 2009-2010 academic year, 13th place for the 2011-12 school year and 4th place last year with a 3.566 GPA.
“I am extremely proud of this group of young women,” says Head Coach Tracey Braden. “We continually talked about being our best, not only on the court but in the classroom as well. This team continues to fully embody the mission of being a NCAA Division III student-athlete.”
Westminster College is the only team from the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to be ranked in the WBCA Academic Top 25 Poll.
“Being a student-athlete is a very challenging feat, but at the same time, it is also very rewarding and to see the GPA’s that these institutions have collected is impressive,” says WBCA Chief Operating Officer Shannon Reynolds.
“The WBCA congratulates all these student-athletes and their coaches for their hard work and dedication.