The 2006 Eastern women’s field hockey team recently received the award for the best GPA among all Division III schools in the country.
With an average GPA of 3.52, the team beat out St. Mary’s College of Maryland for the title.
This is not the first time the team has claimed the GPA crown for the program. Last year, Eastern tied for first with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with an average GPA of 3.46.
“When we first received the award last year I was incredibly excited for the girls,” Head Coach Camrin Azzarano said. “I knew they had a history of high team GPAs but thought it remained at the Eastern athletic department level. This year, when we tallied the GPAs and we were six hundredths of a point higher, I had hopes we’d win it again.”
Along with winning this award, the team also defeated Alvernia 2-0 to capture the PAC championship last November. Fifteen team members also received Academic All-PAC honors for the season.
“They were not just a bunch of mediocre players with good grades,” Eastern Athletic Director Harry Gutelius said. ” They had a great year and won a championship. What more could you want in college athletics? We have the best academic group, the best champions and wonderful people.”
One of the keys to the success in both the classroom and on the field has been time management, according to junior Ellen Hivner. Hivner elaborated on how it is important to keep up with playing hockey and also to perform well academically.
“During the season, I know that I am busier so I am able to pace myself. I am also used to it because I have been playing for a while,” Hivner said.
Hivner also commented on how Azzarano continually pushes the girls and emphasizes that class and school work always come first.
“Coach [Azzarano] is very flexible if you have to miss practice for class,” Hivner said. “She encourages us and is understanding if class comes first.”
Azzarano felt that the team deserved this award and was very pleased with being a coach for this academically and athletically focused team.
“It is a wonderful honor for the girls to be rewarded for their management of time and dedication to academics,” Azzarano said. “We also felt being the only school to be honored academically and having been on the Top 20 Coaches Poll during the season really showed the team’s commitment to excellence.”
Beyond performing well in the classroom and on the field, Gutelius said the team has developed an even deeper bond.
“They are like a family,” he said. “They are a remarkable group in that they are champions, scholars and wonderfully nice young ladies.”