BENNINGTON, Vt. – The 2017 Southern Vermont College baseball team set a new bar for itself in the classroom through the 2016-17 school year as the Mountaineer squad earned the grades to receive the program's first-ever American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Award as announced by the organization on Thursday.
To qualify for the accolade, teams must post a collective grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale through the entire academic calendar; every player who uses a year of eligibility must factor into the GPA submitted by the school. In 2016-17, SVC Baseball earned a record-setting 3.13 for the program's highest-ever mark through both the fall and spring semesters.
"I am extremely proud of our group of guys who worked hard to achieve excellence not only on the field—but in the classroom," said SVC head coach Dave Gage '10; coaches must be current members of the ABCA for their teams to be eligible for the honor. "This is the highest-achieving award our program has received over the last five years because—to me—it shows we are building people who will succeed in life after their collegiate playing career is over."
The Mountaineers averaged a 3.18 in the fall and a 3.09 in the spring semester for the team's third-straight term above a 3.0; that mark in the fall was the highest GPA the team has ever posted in a single semester.
20 of the 26 players on the 2017 SVC roster achieved at least a 3.0 in either the fall or the spring. Helping Southern Vermont earn the ABCA recognition were three players who made their way to the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Spring All-Academic Team—that being the most in one year for the Mountaineers since 2011 when Coach Gage was one of four team members to do so.
"Now that we have achieved this award and the GPA we have, it will be a program standard to continue to reach this level each year," Gage added.
A total of 212 high school and collegiate programs were recognized with this year's ABCA academic laurel. Southern Vermont was the only squad from the NECC and one of 56 teams from NCAA Division III to garner the honor.
The ABCA has a long tradition of recognizing the achievements of baseball coaches and student-athletes. The ABCA/Rawlings All-America Teams are the nation's oldest, founded in 1949, and the ABCA's awards program also includes the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Awards, the ABCA/Diamond Regional & National Coaches of the Year and several other major awards such as the ABCA Hall of Fame and the Ethics in Coaching Award. Visit http://www.abca.org/news/2017/team_academic_excellence_071317 to see the full list of the 2016-17 academic award winners.
– #LetsGoSVC –