Westminster College’s athletic teams are leading the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in Brechler Awards for two years in a row, receiving eight awards this past season.
The Brechler Award recognizes the teams with the highest grade point averages in each of the 23 sports in the conference, according to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The Brechler Award is the most important award their team can receive, according to Dan Quinn, head coach of men and women’s cross country and track athletics at Westminster College.
“For me I know we are recruiting the right student-athlete to Westminster College when we are awarded the Brechler award,” said Quinn in an email.
For the second year that Westminster has been eligible to receive the Brechler Awards, Westminster has led the conference with the most awards, according to the RMAC official website.
To qualify to compete in NCAA sports at a Division II school, you must maintain a minimum GPA cumulative of 2.0, according to NCAA Eligibility for Continuing Students.
Kyle Williams, a junior aviation major and Men’s Lacrosse athlete, feels that the Brechler Award is a big deal.
“Usually people think that you are either athletic or you are smart,” Williams said. “This just proves that athletes can crack down and do also care about their grades just as much as being competitive in sports.”
When student-athletes miss classes, their coaches put the responsibility on them to meet with their professors before hand and make sure they have a clear understanding of their makeup work and what they will be missing, according to Williams.
Coaches put a big emphasis on academics and the importance of the academic portion of college, said Audrey Green, a junior accounting major and Westminster volleyball athlete.
“They prioritize our class schedules and make sure they can maximize our team’s practice times around each of our class times,” said Green.
Coach Quinn makes it clear to athletes when he is recruiting that academics is the main priority at Westminster, according to Quinn.
“They pay a lot to come here and we feel it is important to emphasize class time and study time,” Quinn said. “I know most of the coaches adjust practice, lifting, and travel to accommodations to fit the student-athletes schedule.”
Each team received a plaque at the RMAC Hall of Fame, Class of 2019, on Friday, July 12 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“The success Westminster has with academic awards just shows how committed all of our coaches are to the balanced life the NCAA desires,” Quinn said. “It is difficult to have everyone on a team at practice the same time due to our academic and facility restraints so we all make adjustments and work with the individuals the best we can.”