The University of New Mexico (Division I), Newberry College (Division II), Augsburg College (Division III), SCAD - Atlanta (NAIA), Dodge City Community College (NJCAA DI), and North Central Missouri College (NJCAA DII) were all named Academic National Champions for finishing with the top GPA in their respective divisions, announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
A total of 202 schools submitted GPA's of 3.0 or above, with 34 of those schools earning Presidents Special Recognition Honors, finishing with a team GPA of 3.5 and above. To be eligible for GCAA Outstanding Team Academic honors a college or university must submit GPAs for each player on their official squad list for the academic year.
A proud NCMC Head Coach Craig Sager had the following comments about his team's award. "I think it's great that the Golf Coaches Association of America put a high value on our academic achievements. It is one thing to go out and play good golf, but it is another to do it while attending school fulltime. College golf is very time consuming and leaves very few hours in the day for course work. Success requires a formula of time management, proper planning, and holding each other accountable."
"I've said it a million times, this is going to be a very tough group to replace. On the course and in the classroom, these guys handled their business. Luckily we have three (Van Barr, Pirmin Kamm, and Colton Barnes) coming back this year to pass those traits onto the incoming class. That's how you build a successful program; the good stuff gets passed down and the bad finds a way of weeding itself out," Sager added.
In addition to the team award, Hopkinson was named an All-American Scholar by the GCAA.
Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars for Divisions I, II, NAIA, and NJCAA have been announced by the GCAA. It was a record setting year for the award as 540 student-athletes earned the title of All-America Scholar, the most since the awards inception in 1982. Out of the 540 honorees, 266 players were Division I selections, 112 in Division II, 23 NAIA recipients, and 18 NJCAA award winners. 2019 marks the first year in which NJCAA players are eligible for the award.
To be eligible for Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically in Division I, II, III, and NAIA, or receiving their Associate's Degree and in there last year of athletic eligibility in the NJCAA. In addition, they participate in 50-percent of his team's competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 76.0 in Division I, 78.0 in Division II, 78.0 in NAIA and 79.0 in Division III, 77.0 in NJCAA, and maintain a minimum cumulative career grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.
Hopkinson ended the season with 74.88 scoring average and a GPA of 3.62, exceeding the minimum criterion for the honor.
"Lewis would be the first to tell you that this year didn't end the way he'd hoped. With an ankle injury before the start of the spring season, he wasn't quite able to reach some of his lofty goals. That said, I feel like he did what he could and ended his two years at NCMC with a list of great accomplishments," commented Craig Sager.
Sager again commended his entire team for their attention to academic and athletic success. "It's an individual award, but it truly is a team effort. As I've said before, the guys do a great job of holding each other accountable on and off the golf course. The standards for this award is very hard to meet; not only did Lewis achieve those criteria, he really far exceeded the required average score, rounds played, and the GPA benchmarks."
With the program still in its early stages, excitement continues to build for current and future success. "I think he played a key role in getting this program off the ground. There is little doubt that he led a team of great guys that set new bars inside our golf program. Players like Lewis tend to make everyone better in the long-run. He, as well as our other five graduating players, will definitely be missed next season. They've left behind several stories that'll be told for years to come. Most importantly, they helped solidify our reputation within NJCAA Men's Golf."