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Eastern Warriors dominate LEC on and off the field

Published on June 04, 2020

Eastern Warriors dominate LEC on and off the field

Presidents' Cup

Despite a spring athletics season cut short by COVID-19, the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors continued their dominance — on and off the field — in the Little East Conference (LEC) this 2019-20 academic year. Eastern’s student-athletes won the LEC’s Presidents’ Cup for top academic performance, the Commissioner’s Cup for top overall athletic performance and captured seven of 19 Team Academic Awards for the academic accomplishments of individual teams.

Eastern claimed the Presidents’ Cup for a league-record fifth time in the award’s 11-year history, with a conference-best 3.20 average GPA among its 17 NCAA programs. For the fourth year in a row, Eastern claimed the Commissioner's Cup for top overall athletic performance among the LEC’s nine primary member institutions. This marks the second time in program history the Warriors have won both the Commissioner's Cup and Presidents' Cup in the same year, the first coming in 2016-17.

“I am so proud that our Warriors are serious students who are hard at work preparing for rewarding professional careers,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Despite losing our spring season to COVID-19, Eastern’s athletes have again brought honor and recognition to the University while achieving greatness on the playing field. To perform at such a consistently high level across 17 varsity sports in the conference is a tribute to them, their coaches and our entire Athletic Department.”

“This has been a difficult year in many ways, but it is gratifying to have been awarded both the Presidents' Cup and the Commissioner's Cup," said Director of Athletics Lori Runksmeier. “Winning the Presidents’ Cup for the fifth time speaks to a tradition of strong academic excellence within the department. Winning the Commissioner’s Cup for the fourth year in a row certainly makes me proud, but it’s bittersweet this year as it reminds me that our spring student-athletes and coaches didn’t get a chance to compete in the sports they love. Every Warrior has a part in sustaining our tradition of excellence, and winning this award reminds us that the hard work is always worth it.”

For the Presidents’ Cup, 15 of Eastern’s 17 teams earned an average cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 — 10 of which had an average cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 and seven of which had an average cumulative GPA of at least 3.30. The women’s cross country program posted a 3.52 GPA, tops among Eastern teams, closely followed by the women’s track and field program (3.45). The top men’s team was cross country with a 3.37 GPA.

Commissioner's Cup

The Warriors captured the 2019-20 Commissioner’s Cup after accumulating a point average of 6.59 among their 11 programs’ seasons; due to COVID-19, the Commissioner’s Cup was based on fall and winter sports performance only.

Eastern got off to a strong start in the fall, winning the women’s cross country championship for the second time in three years, and repeated as the men’s soccer and women’s volleyball regular season champions. The Warriors then claimed the women’s basketball regular season and tournament titles and finished second at the women’s indoor track and field championships during the winter season.

"All members of Warriors Athletics continue to produce quality programs in which student-athletes achieve at a high level," said LEC Commissioner Pamela Samuelson. "My congratulations to the student-athletes at Eastern for their outstanding work in the classroom… Their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom represent the ideals of Division III athletics."

For the Team Academic Awards, seven Eastern teams had league-high average GPAs, four more than the next closest institution. Eastern’s 2019-20 academic award-winning teams include baseball, women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field and men’s soccer. Due to COVID-19, Team Academic Awards were based on fall 2019 semester grades only.

Eastern’s Division III athletic program features 17 NCAA teams, including baseball, softball, golf, volleyball, field hockey, and men’s and women’s teams in soccer, basketball, cross country, track and field, lacrosse and swimming. By placing emphasis on the values of equity, diversity, sportsmanship, health and wellbeing, Eastern’s athletic program encourages students to contribute more effectively to society and live richer, fuller lives.

The LEC is composed of public institutions throughout New England that compete in 19 championship-eligible teams. It’s nine primary members include Eastern, Castleton University, Keene State College, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, Plymouth State University, Rhode Island College, University of Southern Maine and Western Connecticut State University.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Academics, Athletics