Record number of student-athletes rewarded for academic achievements

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This Fall, U Sports Canada announced its 2018-2019 Academic All-Canadians list, a distinction awarded to student athletes who achieve a graded average of 80 per cent or higher while playing on one of their university’s varsity teams.

In late November, Laurier Athletics hosted the first ever annual reception, honouring the 82 Laurier student-athletes who were named Academic All-Canadians.

This marks the highest number of students awarded in Laurier’s history.

“It’s really nice to get that recognition and know that the school is also behind you and your ambition,” said Zach Savlov.

Savlov, a fourth year cross country and middle distance runner on Laurier’s varsity team is no stranger to this award, as he was named an Academic All-Canadian for the third time in as many years.

With 82 student athletes being honoured in the 2018-2019 season, this figure has increased by 22 per cent since the previous season alone.

In 1988, U Sports introduced the first ever Academic-All Canadians.

Although the figure was small in the earlier years, Laurier’s Academic All-Canadian numbers have steadily grown since then.

“The athletics department really does offer a lot of great resources to not only first year athletes, but athletes of all years,” said Savlov.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes in that program and really great initiatives they’ve undertaken to make sure that their varsity athletes really are prepared, not only for life on the field and off the field, but also in the classroom as well, and I really think that shows in the number of Academic All-Canadians.”

Laurier athletics runs the Athlete Academic Success Program (AASP) which offers resources for student-athletes such as a study hall mentoring program, and various other study aids that help students prioritize their work.

“They do say that you’re a student athlete, so the student part comes first,” said Savlov.

Various workshops that are offered allow student athletes to learn skills that they can apply both on the field and in the classroom.

“The time management skills are one thing for me that really stand out [that I’ve]been able to develop the most throughout my time on the varsity program. So, being able to juggle a variety of different practices, gym sessions.

“They could be, you know, 6:30 in the morning, 6:30 at night – it can be all times of the day. You really have to be able to juggle that around your class schedule,” Savlov added.

“These are really those soft skills that really can take you far, not only in the classroom but also in the workforce or whatever you may do after graduation. I think these are the skills I’m always going to remember and bring with me.”

The 2018-2019 season saw a total of 20 per cent of Laurier’s student athletes be awarded with the Academic All-Canadian distinction.

“I commit probably around 10-15 hours a week just for my sport alone. You throw in class, you throw in other commitments, and it really does take a portion out of your time. So being not only able to succeed in your varsity sport but also in class where you’re recognized for that — that’s something that is really special to me, and it’s really great that U Sports takes time to really honour it now,” Savlov said.

Laurier director of athletics and recreation, Peter Baxter was thrilled with the announcement.

“Today’s recognition event in celebration of student athletes success highlights Laurier’s collaborative approach to partnering with academic departments, faculty members, coaches and staff along with the teaching, learning and retention department for being champions of the Academic Success Program (AASP),” Baxter stated.

From cheerleading to swimming, 82 student athletes were honoured over 20 different varsity teams in the athletic deparment.

The cheerleading team had nine students recieve the honour, while the mens baseball team honoured seven students.

The upward trend of Academic All-Canadians is a promising trend for the outlook of Laurier’s athletic department as well as the hundreds of varsity student athletes who continue to strive towards that excellence.

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