July 27, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
The BIG EAST Conference has announced the 26 teams that have been recognized with 2010-11 Team Academic Excellence Awards recognizing the highest collective grade-point averages in each conference sport.
The Villanova's men's cross country and men's lacrosse teams both earned distinction as having the top GPA's in their respective sports after highly successful seasons both on the field and in the classroom.
The men's cross country team earned their third straight team selection to the NCAA Championship after finishing fourth at the BIG EAST Championship and second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. On the individual level, three student-athletes were named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team while Matthew Gibney was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Third Team for both cross country and track and field. As a team, the squad also claimed the highest GPA of all 24 Villanova varsity sports for the Fall 2010 semester.
Men's lacrosse was equally successful, earning their first at-large berth to the NCAA postseason after finishing the year with an 11-5 record and earning their highest ranking in program history at No. 7 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse and USILA polls. Long-stick midfielder Brian Karalunas was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team and also joined classmate Chris Ficke on the USILA Scholar All-America Team. Additionally, Karalunas was also honored as Villanova's first Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner, given annually to the most outstanding student-athlete in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse.
Eleven BIG EAST schools had at least one team honored as DePaul finished with a conference-best five teams recognized. Notre Dame and Syracuse had four teams recognized, while Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville and St. John's had two each. Rutgers, Seton Hall and West Virginia were represented by one team each.
The winners were chosen based on the 2010-11 grade-point average of each student-athlete who appeared on an institution's roster as of the last contest of the championship segment in each conference-sponsored sport.