LEXINGTON, Ky. — The volleyball teams of Mount Airy and East Surry have been recognized for their academic achievements.
On Monday, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced that 822 teams from high school through all levels of college have earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2016-2017 season.
The 822 number breaks the previous year’s total of 764 to set an all-time high.
The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year.
The team must average at least a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average per player on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
East Surry head coach Caleb Gilley said his squad averaged 4.357 on a 5.0 scale.
The AVCA Team Academic Award, celebrating its 25th year, is the single largest award offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honored. The number of recipients has gone up every year since 2005.
Of 822 schools, the majority named were colleges: 145 from NCAA Div. I, 119 from Div. II and 150 from Div. III. There were also teams named from the NAIA.
For high school girls, 277 teams earned the recognition, an average of less than six per state.
Gilley pointed out that in North Carolina there were seven schools on the list — five public schools and two private.
For two of those five public schools to come from the same county and conference is amazing.
Strong scholar-athletes aren’t unusual for Surry County. Surry Central’s girls basketball team has been honored in the past as one of the best academically in the state.
Four years ago, East Surry’s top 10 in class ranking was filled with athletes. Basketball teammates Keri Fulp and Lauren Thompson earned valedictorian and salutatorian, while softball standouts Jessica Barker and Brooke Bowman also made the list.
The AVCA also noted that many teams on the list hold Dig Pink games to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. The 2016-2017 season saw Dig Pink participants and AVCA Team Academic Award winners raise $91,671.
More than 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program’s 25-year history, with exactly 8,461 awards been given out in total.
Prior to this list, only 29 teams in 24 years had attained the pinnacle of volleyball success in both earning the AVCA Team Academic Award and winning their respective collegiate national championship in the same academic year.
This year, the AVCA recognized five programs that excelled in the classroom and on the court: Stanford University (NCAA Division I), Concordia University, St. Paul (NCAA Division II), Calvin College (NCAA Division III), Hastings College (NAIA), and Ohio State University (NCAA Division I-II Men).
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.