LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Over 8,000 student-athletes (8,161), a first in NFCA history, were named 2019 Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes, the Association announced on Wednesday afternoon. Missouri Baptist University (NAIA) captured the top team GPA amongst college programs, while West Frankfort High School (Ill.) and Santa Gertrudis Academy (Texas) posted the top marks in the weighted and unweighted high school categories in the Easton/NFCA Top 10 Academic Team rankings for the 2018-19 school year.
Under the guidance of Kenneth Messer-Brooks, the Spartans posted a 3.79 GPA in the classroom. Last year's top NAIA program, Spring Arbor, posted another strong showing in second with a 3.73 GPA. Jim Piersol's Redbirds and Thomas De Los Santos' Lions led the way with 4.60 and 3.986 GPAs, respectively. Byron Nelson, which had owned the highest weighted GPA the last five seasons, came in at No. 2 with a 4.486 in 2018-19.
Ann Pierson's Grand Canyon University (3.76) squad is your top NCAA Division I program for the second straight year and third time in the last five. Dawn Stearns' University of Bridgeport program bested NCAA Division II with a 3.776 GPA, while Greenville University (Buddy Foster) and Johnson & Wales University (Kim Camara Harvey) shared the honors with a 3.78 GPA in NCAA Division III. College of the Sequoias (Cal JC), under the direction of Michelle Bolt, led all two-year institutions with a 3.76 GPA.
The rankings and honors recognize the academic prowess of softball teams across the Association's membership categories. NCAA Division III led the way with 1,928 student-athletes earning a 3.5 grade-point average or higher for 2018-19. NCAA Division I and Division II followed with 1,769 and 1,306 honorees. High School weighted and High School unweighted earned 1,225 and 793 distinctions. NAIA and two-year programs each amassed 570 recipients.
The Saints were one of 32 NAIA teams to be honored, slotting in 15th on the list with a 3.452 grade point average. Ashley Bearden, Ashley Helmink, Erika Schwartz, Kayla Boland, Lauren Valdez, Lily Guerra, Milah Loose, Racquel Ward, Sam Hill, and Taylor Mowery were the individuals honored.
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For the complete list of NAIA Scholar Teams click here
For the complete list of NAIA Scholar Athletes click here