Year of the Pioneer?

SHU President John Petillo (left) and Deputy AD Brad Hurlbut (right) accept the Brenda Weare Commissioner's Cup

SHU President John Petillo and Deputy AD Brad Hurlbut accept the Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup

All 10 Northeast Conference core members strive for greatness in both athletic competition and academic achievement. Rarely, however, does one particular athletic department finish first in both conference-wide races.

This year, the Sacred Heart Pioneers are that rarity.

The Pioneers re-claimed the NEC Commissioner’s Cup and proceeded to add the NEC Institutional Academic Award to the Pitt Center’s trophy case.

Sacred Heart, which won the Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup for five straight years from 2007-12, racked up 210.68 points over the course of the 2015-16 academic year to end Bryant’s two-year reign as Cup champion. The Bulldogs finished second with 196.48 points, followed by Saint Francis U in third place with 190.21 points.

Sacred Heart won four NEC championships, including its second straight “Triple Crown” of women’s cross country, women’s indoor and women’s outdoor track and field. The Pioneers also captured the NEC women’s bowling title. SHU won NEC regular season championships in women’s basketball and women’s bowling, and finished in the top-three of the NEC regular season standings in five different round-robin sports (baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s bowling and football).

In the classroom, Sacred Heart student-athletes posted a combined 3.331 grade point average to set a conference record. The Pioneers edged out Saint Francis U (3.289), Robert Morris (3.270) and LIU Brooklyn (3.269) to claim the coveted academic honor.

Of the 22 Sacred Heart teams that competed in NEC sponsored sports, 20 of them compiled a 3.0 or better GPA and 18 of those teams registered at least a 3.20 GPA on the year. The Pioneers won a pair of NEC Team GPA awards in men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Bottom Line: It was a very good year to be a Pioneer.

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For a comprehensive review of what went down in the Northeast Conference this past year, read the league’s official Year-In-Review.


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