Those familiar with the academic reputation of Valparaiso University may often smirk at the caricature portrayed by some of the major college sports networks of "scholar-athletes." It's easy to see how some can grow jaded when big revenue schools send their teams across two time zones in the middle of the week during mid-terms.
That's what makes Valparaiso University and other selective mid-majors different. Facing aggressive academic standards, Crusaders truly are scholars first, athletes second.
So when the men's tennis team scores a team 3.34 grade point average, it represents a very legitimate accomplishment.
"Naturally, I'm concerned with how well we do on the court, but I'm very interested in how well they do in the classroom. I'm very, very proud of our team," head coach Jim Daugherty remarked.
At the head of the class stands Eric Honert. Enrolled in one of the most difficult majors - mechanical engineering - the junior from Arvada, Colorado scored all A's en route to a perfect 4.0 GPA last fall. Honert's cumulative mark surged to a tidy 3.89.
"For Eric going into his junior year to continue to carry one of the highest GPAs is admirable. He's one of our captains and is leading with a great example," Daugherty said of the Engineering Honors Society member.
The good marks come two weeks before the Crusaders 2013 opener. The Western Illinois Leathernecks come to town Monday, January 21st at the Courts of NWI for a non-conference match at 12:00pm. Valpo will then host Grace and Chicago State Saturday, January 26th before taking to the road for much of February.