SPARTANBURG, S.C. – A school record 42 Western Carolina University student-athletes were among the 354 who earned spots on the Fall 2018 Academic All-Southern Conference Team, the league office announced Tuesday. The Catamounts had the third-most on the team behind ETSU (51) and Mercer (45).
Each of the SoCon’s 10 full member institutions had at least 17 honorees, representing the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. Belmont, which competed as an associate member in men’s soccer for the first time this fall, had 10 selections.
Western Carolina women’s soccer led the way for the Catamounts with 19 members on the Fall All-Academic team. Football was second with nine.
The Catamounts had two players with a cumulative 4.0 GPA on the list in Emily Zipay (women’s soccer) and Jamie Blaylock (women’s cross country). A total of 19 student-athletes from the SoCon’s member institutions maintained a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA.
To be eligible for the academic all-conference team, student-athletes must carry at least a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average at the conclusion of the fall semester and were required to compete in at least one-half of their teams’ competitions during the recently concluded campaign. In addition, the student-athletes must have successfully completed at least three semesters at their institutions, making true freshmen and first-year transfers ineligible for inclusion.
The league’s 10 women’s soccer teams led the way with 102 academic all-conference selections, while the nine football schools were second with 84 and the nine volleyball programs were third with 52.
The 2018 Fall semester was a highly successful one for WCU’s student-athletes in the classroom. Collectively, 59-percent (202 of 340) of WCU’s student-athletes recorded a term GPA above a 3.0 while 30-percent landed on either the Dean’s (3.5 or higher) or Chancellor’s (3.8 or higher) lists including a record 63 individuals on the latter – three more than the previous record of 60 set back in the Fall of 2017. Women’s soccer put 15 players on the Chancellor’s list, followed by women’s track & field with 10 student-athletes, and eight apiece from both WCU women’s tennis and Catamount football.
WCU’s collective team GPA averaged out to 3.213 – a third-consecutive semester that Catamount teams were above the 3.2 demarcations. Nine of Western Carolina’s 12 sports – which factors cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field as one men’s and one women’s sport – posted a term 3.0 GPA or better. Individually, WCU’s 340 student-athletes combined for a 3.105 term GPA, the high-water mark for the department.
Also, during the fall semester, Catamount volleyball junior Abigail Veit collected Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District honors while football’s Ian Berryman and Zach Weeks were both named to the FCS ADA Academic All-Star team while Weeks was also named a semifinalist for the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy.