Two Seattle University athletic teams are among the 976 NCAA Division I squads honored by the NCAA with Public Recognition Awards for earning multi-year Academic Progress Rates (APRs) in the top 10 percent of their sport, announced Wednesday by the national organization.

The Seattle U men’s cross country team and women’s outdoor track and field team placed in the top 10 percent among NCAA Division I schools within their sport with APRs between 978 and a perfect 1000. Both Redhawk squads honored for the 2011-12 academic campaign are receiving the Public Recognition Award for the third straight year.

“Congratulations to Coach (Trisha) Steidl and her teams for their outstanding academic success,” Bill Hogan, Seattle U Director of Athletics, said. “The Seattle University community is very proud of their accomplishments.”

The Redhawk men’s cross country team, one of 49 squads honored in its sport, was the only team from the Western Athletic Conference recognized. The women’s outdoor track and field squad was one of 32 honorees and the only one from the Western Athletic Conference.

“Our program prides itself on its concurrent focus on academics and athletics and doing so at a high level. This recognition is a testament to our academic staff, my coaching staff, and particularly the student-athletes for doing such an incredible job balancing their commitments so successfully,” Trisha Steidl, head coach of the Seattle U cross country and track and field teams, said.

Each year, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I team through the annual scorecard of academic achievement, known as APR. The rate measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or quarter and provides a clear picture of the academic performance in each sport. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-2012 academic years.

“The NCAA’s quintessential student-athlete exhibits dedication and commitment both on the playing field and in the classroom,” remarked NCAA President Mark Emmert in the press release from the organization. “These teams and programs truly embody the overall values of the NCAA, and have exceeded standards to post fantastic academic scores. We are delighted by such a clear example of our membership’s commitment to providing well-rounded experiences to student-athletes.”

With the Western Athletic Conference sponsoring men’s soccer and men’s swimming starting in 2013-14, 19 of Seattle U’s 20 sports will be housed within the WAC next season. Seattle U, along with Idaho and New Mexico State, will remain in the WAC and will be joined by CSU Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, UMKC, UT Pan American, and Utah Valley in the next academic year.

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