VILLANOVA, Pa. - The elite academic status of Villanova student-athletes continues to exceed even the loftiest of standards, as shown by newly updated data released at the end of the Spring 2018 semester. More than 550 student-athletes from 24 varsity sports programs combined for a 3.322 spring semester grade point average, a new athletics record and also the 30th straight semester spanning the last 15 academic years in which student-athletes have had a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
While the streak of 30 consecutive semesters above a 3.0 GPA effectively demonstrates the Wildcats longstanding culture of academic achievement, the latest data highlights the ways in which Villanova student-athletes are establishing ever more ambitious benchmarks for across-the-board success in the classroom. The overall GPA of student-athletes for the Spring 2018 semester not only set a new record, but it also marked seven straight marking periods beginning with the Spring 2015 semester in which their GPA was a 3.2 or higher.
On a team level, there were 23 sports programs who earned a team GPA of 3.0 or higher for the spring semester. The highest overall semester GPA belonged to the women’s soccer team, who had a 3.604 GPA for the semester. Women’s soccer was also one of five sports programs who broke their previous semester GPA records. The others included volleyball (3.567), rowing (3.546), field hockey (3.493) and men’s lacrosse (3.282).
Athletic Department awards are given out at the end of each academic year to the teams with the highest GPA and the most improved GPA from the previous year. The women’s cross country team was named the winner of the Nnenna Lynch Award for highest team GPA with a mark of 3.615 for the full 2017-18 academic year. Women’s tennis earned the Dr. Dan Regan Award for having the most improved GPA from 2016-17.
From an individual standpoint, the Spring 2018 academic data is perhaps even more impressive. More than 79 percent of student-athletes achieved a semester GPA of 3.0 or higher, while another record was set with 375 student-athletes being named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for achieving a GPA above a 3.2. There were incredibly 23 student-athletes representing a dozen sports who had a perfect 4.0 GPA for the spring semester.
The women’s soccer and women’s track & field teams had five and four student-athletes, respectively, with a 4.0 GPA. Achieving that standard for women’s soccer were Jessica Andrade, Kristin Barbour, Claire Fell, Siobhan O’Toole and Amanda Vocelka. The group from women’s track & field included Samantha Bragen, Bella Burda, Rebecca Del Rossi and Katie Fisher. The latter three also competed in cross country during the fall season.
Women’s rowing had three student-athletes with a 4.0 spring GPA, including seniors Briggs Mroz and Morgan Mroz along with freshman Cecilia Spesia. The women’s swimming & diving and men’s track & field squads also had multiple 4.0 student-athletes. Olivia Cacciatore and Micaela Grassi represented swimming & diving, while Konrad Bayer and Casey Comber made the list from the men’s track & field program.
Six other student-athletes had a 4.0 semester GPA, including Claudia Althans (women’s tennis), Paul Egloff (men’s lacrosse), Matt Kennedy (men’s basketball), Allie Loitz (volleyball), Jack Schetelich (football) and Lydia Sydnor (field hockey).
The teams and student-athletes with the highest levels of academic achievement also had a great deal of success in athletic competition. Matt Kennedy was named the winner of the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 award for men’s basketball for having the highest cumulative GPA among the student-athletes that participated in this year’s Final Four. He was then part of the Wildcats second national championship in the past three seasons just a few nights later.
Along the way to winning the Nnenna Lynch Award for the highest team GPA of the academic year, the women’s cross country team won a BIG EAST title and went on to finish 12th at the NCAA Championships in its best national finish in six years. In addition to having four student-athletes with a 4.0 spring GPA, the women’s track & field program also celebrated BIG EAST titles both indoors and outdoors. Combined with the cross country conference championship in the fall, it marked a Villanova “triple crown” at the three BIG EAST meets.
Among the teams that broke their previous semester GPA records in the spring were two in-season sports. The rowing team had Briggs Mroz and Morgan Mroz combine a 4.0 GPA with earning All-CAA honors, while the men’s lacrosse team went on a run that included 10 wins, the highest national ranking in program history and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament where the Wildcats only succumbed to eventual national champion Duke.