Saturday, July 16, 2016

XULA Gold Rush earn first-ever NAIA Scholar-Team award

NEW ORLEANS — The most successful postseason team in the history of Xavier University of Louisiana Athletics also had the department's highest GPA in 2015-16.

As a result, XU men's tennis — the 2016 NAIA national runner-up — has received an NAIA Scholar-Team Award because of a collective 3.03 GPA for the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters. The NAIA announced the award Friday.

"I'm really proud of my guys for this accomplishment," 13th-year XU coach Alan Green said. "It really shows the hard work they have put in off the court in addition to being national runner-up on the court. I've always wanted a team that could contend for a national championship but also have good team GPAs. These guys deserve it."

For a team to be considered for the NAIA Scholar-Team award, it must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale as defined by the institution. The team GPA includes all eligible varsity student-athletes.

This is the third consecutive year that Xavier produced an NAIA Scholar-Team. Tennis is the first XU men's sport to be honored. Volleyball was a Scholar-Team in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Narrowly missing NAIA Scholar-Team status for 2015-16 was XU women's tennis, which compiled a 2.97 team GPA.

Men's tennis was the first XU team in any sport to reach the championship round of an NAIA national tournament. It was the first XU men's team to advance past the national quarterfinals.

The NAIA said 1,585 teams nationwide — 83 more than a year ago — achieved Scholar-Team status in 2015-16. Xavier was one of four Gulf Coast Athletic Conference schools to produce a Scholar-Team; the others were Dillard (women's basketball), Edward Waters (volleyball, women's cross country, women's outdoor track and field) and Philander Smith (volleyball). Edward Waters volleyball led all GCAC teams with a 3.42 GPA.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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