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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CMU Chippewas win national championship

(Grabbed your attention, didn't it?)

While the football team at Central Michigan University grabbed the lion's share of the attention in the fall — and rightfully so, with its third Mid-American Conference title in four years, and the conference's first bowl win in years — the Dan LeFevour-led gridders weren't the only ones doing the unthinkable.

In addition to its own on-the-field history (earning the program's first-ever MAC title, by winning both the regular-season and tournament crowns), the women's soccer team grabbed the national academic championship for the fifth year in a row by posting the highest team GPA of any Division I team.

"Obviously, this fall soccer season we did really well, but we always thought as coaches that we could do both, while maintaining the high level and standard in the classroom," said second-year CMU coach Tom Anagnost, a one-time USISL all-star with the Michigan Bucks.

And it's not like the girls have been slacking, as the pressure to repeat has mounted: Since capturing the first academic national title in 2005 with a GPA of 3.62, the Chippewas have barely done worse than that, posting GPAs of 3.73, 3.61, 3.70 the next three years, before posting a 3.73 this fall. No player on the team had less than a 3.0 this fall.

It's a high standard to maintain.

"There was a lot of stress put on academics when we committed, and when you hear that, you have pressure to get good grades. Everyone that’s been recruited has always been a top GPA person — but when you hear that, it’s just a ton of extra stress and pressure," Lake Orion junior defender Jenna Hill said in a video posted to CMUSportsZone that you can watch here.
"Obviously, it’s important to us to keep the streak going. ... It’s always in the back of your mind for all the girls, like ‘Were you the one that broke the streak?’ It’s been five years now, and we want to graduate being all four years the best GPA in the nation. You don’t want to look back and see that one year — your last year or your third year — that you broke that streak. It’s tough, but it gives you even a little bit more incentive to do even better."

Over that five-year span, the Chippewas have led the conference with 18 academic All-MAC selections, including a league-high seven in the fall. Goalkeeper Shay Mannino became the program's first National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American, earning third-team honors. Royal Oak grad Claire Horton, a sophomore, is the only other player with Oakland County ties on CMU's roster.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome--way to represent the Chippewas girls!

February 12, 2010 at 2:59 PM 

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