Athletes succeed on and off field

By Ali Napoli

Contributing Writer


During the 2011 fall semester, 252 University student-athletes earned Dean’s List honors, achieving GPAs equal to or higher than 3.50. Of those honored, 141 were accepted to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll, which requires a GPA of 3.2 or better during the team’s competitive season.
“One of the special qualities of Bison Athletics is that our student-athletes are truly students, first and foremost. They take tremendous pride in their class-work, just as all Bucknell students do, and it is great that the Patriot League finds several different ways to recognize the academic achievements of its student-athletes,” said John Hardt, director of athletics and recreation.
Twenty-five of the University’s 27 varsity sports teams have a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. The men’s cross-country team recorded the highest GPA out of all the male sports with a 3.32 average. The women’s swimming and diving team and the women’s golf team share the highest team GPA of all sports with an impressive average of 3.40.
A number of the student-athletes who achieved Dean’s List honors are team captains, representing various teams, from men’s basketball to women’s track and field.
“Being a captain on the team makes you want to do your best to set an example, especially for the younger guys on the team. I try to do my best in the classroom just so they know what to do, and just be there if anyone else on the team needs anything,” said Bryson Johnson ’13, captain and guard of the men’s basketball team.
Spencer Richley ’12, captain of men’s water polo, expressed similar feelings.
“[I’ve] found that being a captain of the water polo team actually helped [me] achieve a higher GPA because the two go hand in hand. Both require an increased amount of responsibility and forced me to effectively manage my time,” Richley said.
Leadership and encouragement to succeed on and off the field is not only fostered by team captains.
“The four members of our senior class are all tremendous examples of what it means to be a true scholar-athlete at Bucknell while pursuing excellence in their chosen fields in the classroom and on the field.  They represent what we want from all of our leaders, titled as captains or otherwise, and I’m extremely honored to have coached them all,” said Ben Landis, head coach of women’s soccer.
All in all, the athletics department is very proud of these numbers, and it believes that statistics like these are integral to the student-athlete experience at the University.
“Balancing Bucknell’s exacting academic demands with the rigors of being a Division I athlete is very difficult and takes determination and excellent time-management skills. They deserve all the recognition that comes with their accomplishments both on and off the playing fields,” Hardt said.
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