LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College has long been known for is excellence in the arenas of athletic competition, but Moccasin student-athletes are also shining in the classroom as well as Florida Southern boasts three NCAA Division II Elite 90 award recipients this year. The Elite 90 program honors the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average at each of the NCAA's 90 championship events, and the Mocs have claimed three Elite 90 awards this year.
The run of success began in the fall when sophomore volleyball student-athlete Courtney Charneco earned the honor and has continued into the spring as Julia Couch (women's lacrosse) and J.J. Niekro (baseball) also were named as Elite 90 recipients. Charneco, a business major, carried a 4.0 GPA into the fall when she earned the honor at the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championships while Couch (communications) and Niekro (sports communication and marketing) also carried a perfect 4.0 into the spring.
"I could not be more proud of our student-athletes," said Pete Meyer, Director of Athletics at Florida Southern College. "This year has been one of the most successful years ever in the history of our athletic programs, but winning three Elite 90 awards proves that our teams are also turning out some of the best students in the nation. Their excellence in their sport and in the classroom is the true definition of what it means to be a 'student-athlete'".
With three Elite 90 recipients this year, Florida Southern becomes just the second NCAA Division II program in the country to have three Elite 90 winners in the same academic year, a feat also accomplished this year by Rockhurst. In addition, the Moccasins now have a total of seven Elite 90 winners since the program began during the 2009-10 academic year, a number that is also tied for the most all-time with Southwest Missouri State.
Not only did individual student-athletes shine in the classroom this year, but Florida Southern's entire athletic department also performed well academically. Ten different teams finished the year with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or better and each of the Moccasins' 20 NCAA sponsored sports, plus water ski, eSports, JV baseball, equestrian, and cheerleading, all ended the 2017-18 academic year with a combined GPA of 3.1 or higher, with a department-wide GPA of 3.42.
A total of 76 student-athletes earned a spot on the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll in the fall, while many more will earn a place on the Spring Honor Roll. The Moccasins have advanced out of regional play and competed in the NCAA Championships in six different sports this year (volleyball, men's swimming, women's swimming, baseball, men's golf, women's lacrosse), and have won an Elite 90 award at half of those championships.