Written by Ed Osborn
WILLIMANTIC, CT (07/06/2017) For the first time, student-athletes at Eastern Connecticut State University have won the Little East Conference’s (LEC) two top honors – the Presidents’ Cup and the Commissioner’s Cup – in the same year.
For the third year in a row, Eastern was awarded the LEC Presidents’ Cup for overall academic performance during the 2016-17 academic year. In addition, for the first time in its 17-year existence, the LEC’s Commissioner’s Cup, awarded for the most successful athletic program in the conference, was won by Eastern.
The LEC Presidents’ Cup measures the highest cumulative grade point average of all eight institutions in the conference. Each institution calculates the cumulative grade point average for all its student-athletes who competed in the league’s 19 championship-sponsored sports. The Eastern Warriors registered a cumulative grade point average of 3.12, narrowly beating out Keene State College and Plymouth State University. The women’s cross country and soccer teams performed the best among all Eastern teams with 3.43 cumulative GPAs.
During the year, Eastern athletes achieved LEC All-Academic recognition (minimum GPA of 3.30) a total of 118 times – 47 in six fall programs, 36 in six spring programs, and 35 in five winter programs. Additionally, a record 68 Eastern student-athletes earned an E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award, 38 of them receiving an Outstanding (cumulative 3.50+) Scholar-Athlete Award.
The Little East Conference began awarding the Presidents’ Cup following the 2009-10 academic year, and this year Eastern became the first school to win four LEC Presidents’ Cups (2010, 2015-17).
“I congratulate the scholar-athletes of Eastern Connecticut State University for earning three consecutive Little East Conference Presidents’ Cups, the LEC’s highest academic award, as well as earning the institution’s first-ever Commissioner’s Cup in the same academic year,” said LEC Commissioner Cora H. Crumley. “This prestigious award clearly demonstrates intercollegiate athletics’ ability to enhance the academic mission of our member institutions. The Warriors’ staff is to be commended for their role in facilitating their student-athletes’ achievements.”
Eastern is the first program since 2012-13 to win the Little East Conference’s top honors in the same year. “It is gratifying to win both the Commissioner’s Cup and the President’s Cup for the performances of our student-athletes,” said Lori Runksmeier, Eastern’s director of athletics. “Division III is all about balance, and I am so proud that Eastern could achieve these results on the field and in the classroom.”
In winning its first Commissioner’s Cup, Eastern won five LEC regular-season titles and one LEC tournament championship in 2016-17, with 9 Eastern teams in the ten LEC sports that keep regular season standings finishing fourth or higher and two teams going undefeated in LEC regular-season play. Moreover, nine individuals won a major LEC award (Player, Rookie or Coach-of-the-Year) and 114 were named to All-LEC teams.