Point Loma student-athletes set the PacWest Conference record by posting a 3.499 cumulative grade point average for the 2019-20 academic year. As a result of this significant achievement, PLNU has been honored with the PacWest's Academic Achievement Award, which is annually given to the school with the highest grade point average for its student-athletes.
During the 2019-20 academic year, all 11 of Point Loma's teams posted GPA's of at least 3.236 or higher. Women's basketball led the way with a 3.701 team GPA. The collective effort by all 11 teams allowed the Sea Lions to finally overcome nine-time award-winner Dominican, (3.479 GPA), which would have broken the Penguins' own record before Point Loma turned in its record-setting 3.499 GPA.
"I am so proud of the efforts by our student-athletes to stay focused on academics during a very unique year," said Point Loma athletic director Ethan Hamilton. "Their dedication in the classroom is something I have always admired about the student-athletes at Point Loma, and I am proud that they have achieved this impressive milestone.
“Since becoming athletic director it has always been a dream of mine to see PLNU earn the PacWest's Academic Achievement Award, and I want to thank the student-athletes, faculty, staff and coaches for their collective efforts to help bring this prestigious honor to Point Loma," Hamilton said.
PLNU had 152 of its student-athletes earn Academic All-PacWest recognition, and six of those student-athletes went on to be named the PacWest Student-Athlete of the Year for their sport. Among some of the standout performances in the classroom were Seth Ryberg, who had a 4.0 as a freshman physics major, Madi Bucci with a 4.0 GPA while majoring in writing & Spanish, and Tressa Buckland and Rahel Rudel, who each have a 4.0 as graduate students.
Overall, it was a banner year in the classroom for the PacWest as the conference recorded a 3.304 GPA, which is a new conference record. All 12 PacWest institutions raised their grade-point averages from the previous academic year and 11 of the schools recorded their best GPA since joining the PacWest. For the first time in conference history, every school's student-athletes averaged a GPA above 3.1 this year.
Four of the 10 highest GPAs recorded in conference history were set this year. Azusa Pacific had the largest jump from last year to this year as the Cougars notched a 3.428 GPA, which ranks sixth in conference history. Chaminade recorded the 10th-highest GPA in conference history at 3.408. Hawai`i Pacific and Biola also topped 3.3 for the first time since joining the conference.
"I am so proud of our PacWest student-athletes and their extraordinary academic work this year," Commissioner Bob Hogue said. "Congratulations to Point Loma Nazarene University on winning its first Academic Achievement Award. Since joining the PacWest, the Sea Lions have consistently been one of the top-performing athletic departments in academics, and this year they rose to a new level amid unprecedented circumstances."
"During a time when we were all forced into the most challenging of circumstances, our student-athletes rose up in record-breaking fashion to score one of their biggest collegiate victories ever," Commissioner Hogue added.