NAU Track and Field distance runners

NAU track and field athletes captured the 2013 Big Sky Championship in March, a victory that helped the Lumberjacks earn the conference’s Presidents’ Cup for the second time in university history. Pictured from left are distance runners Cody Reed, Nathan Weitz, Bahlbi Gebreyohanns and Futsum Zienasellassie. Click on the photo to view more NAU Athletics photos on Facebook.

 

Northern Arizona University’s student athletes have scored big, earning the Lumberjacks’ second Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Cup.

The conference award, now in its 11th year, recognizes overall athletic program success by combining team grade point averages, Academic Progress Rates, and All-Conference performers with grade point averages of at least 3.0.

“NAU is deeply honored to be recognized for the academic and on-field performance of its student-athletes,’’ said NAU President John Haeger. “We have committed ourselves to building an athletics program with integrity that produces results. Our student-athletes, coaches and administrators have lived up to that commitment. The Presidents’ Cup is testimony to what outstanding individuals can accomplish when working as a team and guided by the right priorities.’’

NAU finished first in overall athletic points, with the Lumberjack men earning 56 points and women’s teams achieving 59.5 points. NAU’s men won the cross-country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field Big Sky Championships. The Lumberjack football team finished fourth in the regular-season standings with a 6-2 record.

The NAU women’s golf team captured the 2013 Big Sky Conference Championship, and women’s volleyball, tennis, and outdoor track and field squads all finished the season in third.

“We are so proud of our student-athletes who continue to excel in the classroom and in competition,’’ said Lisa Campos, NAU vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics. “Capturing the Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Cup supports our mission to have NAU athletics be a vital part of the university and the greater community. I want to congratulate not only our student-athletes whose academic and athletic achievements enabled NAU to receive this award, but also our outstanding faculty, academic advisers, athletics staff and coaches who support, inspire and challenge our student-athletes to be their best in every endeavor.’’

NAU was second in APR and had 29 All-Conference student-athletes finish with a GPA of 3.0 or better and tied for second in overall academic performance. The university had an overall student athlete GPA of 3.09, with 11 of its teams that compete in the Big Sky Conference reaching a GPA of at least 3.02. The women’s soccer team recorded the top GPA at 3.49, followed by women’s tennis and volleyball at 3.43.

“Winning this honor is the result of countless hours in the classroom, on the practice field, and on the competitive stage,”  said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. “The student-athletes’ performances ultimately determine the outcome, but there are so many people, including coaches and administrators, who work tirelessly to help our student-athletes. They should all be extremely proud.’’

NAU last won the Presidents’ Cup in 2005-06. Montana State University, the 2011-12 winner, finished second and Idaho State University placed third. NAU joins Weber State University, the University of Montana and Montana State University as multiple Presidents’ Cup winners.