Northwestern Athletics are full of scholars. they have achieved the NAIA All-scholar Team on all varsity teams. The team with the highest average GPA, both as a women’s team and surpassing the other teams was the women’s cross country team with an average GPA of 3.74.
Coach Scott Bahrke said “The ladies on our cross country team had an academic goal at the beginning of the season to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher as a women’s team for the 2022 cross country season. We would talk about the goals throughout the season. The ladies took ownership of reminding each other of our goals.”
Bahrke believes that distance runners are goal oriented and disciplined in their lifestyle choices.
Runner Mikalya Johnson says “This helps us stay motivated and set good habits early on in the school year. Being a student athelete helped me gain effective time management skills that create a healthy balance between cross country, school work and my social life.”
Bahrke still pushes the team to keep their pace to break 19:00 in the 5K and has workouts to help them to run faster.
“The ladies do a wonderful job of encouraging and cheering for each other at practice each day. It makes it easier to work hard when others are rooting for you” says Bahrke.
The team also has discussions at the beginning and end of practice about how the little things help them to become better and more disciplined in all areas of life. It seems like the women’s cross country team has the right mindset to keep them winning both on the course and in the classroom.
Johnson says, “Our coaches do a great job pushing us not only in practice and meets, but also academically and spiritually.”
Barke goes on to say “They (the ladies) pay attention to their training for cross country and do what we ask for a workout. We are asking them to get the proper sleep, eat well and take care of their academics also.”
The requirements to obtain an acknowledgement for an NAIA Scholar Team is to have an average team GPA of or above a 3.0, including grades from the whole academic year from all team members. Eight other NW teams scored that goal last year, and all 21 varsity teams accomplished it this year. The men’s tennis team had the top average GPA over the other men’s team with a 3.50 GPA.