Tennis, cross country programs notch NCAA Top 10 APR honors


A trio of Northwestern State athletic programs find themselves in elite company for their academic prowess.


Both the Lady Demons tennis team and the NSU cross country program were among the top 10 percent of NCAA Division I in their respective sports’ Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. The data was based on APR scores reported in May 2019.


Both programs posted perfect 1,000 APR scores across a four-year period, beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.


“Special kudos to these three teams, which have transcended what already is a high bar as it relates to academic achievement for the NSU athletic program,” Director of Athletics Greg Burke said. “The student-athletes and coaches, along with the academic staff, deserve special commendation for the role the played in bringing this distinct level of recognition to NSU.”


The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility and retention and provides a measure of each Division I team’s performance compared to its peers.


The top 10 announcement is the second academic award bestowed upon the Lady Demons tennis program this week as Northwestern State was named to the ITA All-Academic Team for the 11th straight season Monday.


“I cannot say how proud I am of these young ladies who show the determination, discipline, and time management skills to achieve the high honors they do in the classroom while being a force in the Southland Conference year after year,” coach Patric DuBois said. “To balance what they do and achieve what they don at such a high level prepares them to have a high probability of success in their future endeavors.”


The men’s and women’s cross country teams earned national recognition while dealing with a similarly challenging schedule.


“The men’s and women’s cross country teams practice from August until May,” track and field coach Mike Heimerman said. “They compete in three seasons – indoor and outdoor track and cross country. They probably have the longest competition season of anyone who steps on campus.


“It’s a testament to those student-athletes, and they are student-athletes. Those young men and women put in the hard work in and out of the classroom, and it’s a credit to Chris Sauer, who was over the cross country program here. They did a great job, and I’m very proud of them.”