Lafayette student-athletes receive an average 3.28 GPA for fall 2021

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The Lafayette cross country teams led the athletic programs in team GPA for fall of 2021. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Caroline McParland, Sports editor

Being a Division I athlete and a student can be even more difficult at a prestigious college. According to the 2021 Fall semester report, the overall student-athlete GPA at Lafayette was 3.28, with the men’s and women’s cross country teams being the top academic performers.

Released on the GoLeopards Instagram, 229 student-athletes made the Dean’s List. Additionally, 44 student-athletes had a perfect 4.0 GPA, and 446 GPAs were over a 3.0.

Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman wrote in an email that the fall 2021 GPA results were in line with Lafayette’s pre-Covid trends.

“We saw a slight increase in overall semester GPAs during spring 2020 and fall 2020,” Freeman wrote.

Junior cross country runner Dannah Javens is on the pre-med track. She is involved in the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, the Lafayette Fashion Society, did two semesters of research in the Integrative and Translational Laboratory with Biology Professor Khadijah Mitchell and recently has been involved in a nonprofit tutoring program where she tutors Ukrainian students to help them gain efficiency and their English speaking skills.

Javens explained that coming in freshman year, it can be intimidating having to manage both academics and athletics, but many athletes believe practice adds a sense of structure to an academic day.

“The first week of the semester is always hard to like figure out when you can get the most work done and finding those little gaps in your schedule, but after that, you kind of, like, are adapted to it,” Javens said. “Practice kind of becomes a stress reliever where you don’t have to think about your work. You can enjoy the endorphins of working out and being pushed by your teammates.”

“We recognize that our student-athletes are challenged to balance their academic and athletics schedules, as well as other factors such as a global pandemic,” Freeman wrote. “We commend them for their strong performance overall and their continued focus on academic success.”

Javens explained that the student-athletes are encouraged to spend time studying as a team with resources provided by the athletic department like the peer mentoring program and structured study hours.

According to Javens, the peer mentor program helped with scheduling around practices during freshman year. She also said that it is common for teammates to go to the library or to the Rockwell Integrated Science Center to study together.

She added that Head Coach Michele Curcio is also involved in keeping the team’s grades in check.

The athlete’s one-on-one meetings with Curcio at the end of the season always start with a conversation about the classroom.

“That’s the first topic to address and then you move on to your athletics. It’s definitely emphasized a lot,” Javens said. “She always says you’re a student first and then you’re an athlete.”

Freeman added that they are “extremely proud of all of our Leopards and their commitment to academic excellence.”

“Kudos to Carly Riepenhoff, our faculty mentors, peer mentors and coaches for their support and guidance of all of our teams,” Freeman wrote.