St. John’s Women’s Soccer Holds Impressive 3.83 Average GPA

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TORCH PHOTO/ NICK BELLO

Student-athletes play a key role in the sense of “community” across every college in the United States. These students are the ones who go out onto their fields and show off their skills while fans cheer them on to victory. A win on the field is always a great feeling for hard-working athletes. The sports teams at St. John’s know a thing or two about being on top not only on the field, but off as well. 

The 2019-20 St. John’s Women’s Soccer team has been working hard on the field and shining in the classroom — and on Zoom. Each year the United Soccer Coaches gives out academic awards for teams with the highest grade point average (GPA). The requirement for earning this award is an average team GPA of 3.0. The St. John’s Women’s Soccer team exceeded that 3.0 and were awarded for their composite GPA of 3.83.

“Finishing in the top four of Division I women’s soccer teams nationally, based on team cumulative GPA, is again a remarkable accomplishment,” Women’s Soccer Head Coach Ian Stone said in a web release. “I have to give a great deal of credit to our amazing student-athletes for successfully navigating their way academically through very different times.”

Junior Naya Lipkens experienced what life was like as a student-athlete before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, she is still adjusting to the new balance between practices and online classes. Lipkens is a biomedical science major, and she has switched from being in a lab almost every day or studying on the road to being at the team house with a fully online course load. Having the highest GPA on the team with a 4.0 average, Lipkens understands the struggle of balancing practice and schoolwork. Yet, Lipkens said that remote learning has made things slightly easier. 

“I’m spending a lot more time at home than I’m used to,” Lipkens said, “because usually I have so many labs that I’m never home.” 

In her years at St. Johns before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lipkens used every bit of time between practice and traveling for games to study for classes. Now, Lipkens says she has all the time in the world to study. 

Last year Lipkens faced some of her hardest classes at St. Johns, so studying whenever she could was really important. During the season, Lipkens said her teammates could usually find her studying or trying to do some work while on the road or in the airport on their way to games. It was very important for Lipkens to find any time she could to study while balancing her busy schedule. 

It is required that all athletes at St. John’s attend study hall each week for at least six hours. Lipkens explained that if a women’s soccer team player obtains a 3.0 GPA after their fall semester freshman year, they do not have to go to this study hall anymore. Even without the required study time each week, Lipkens said the team helped each other with homework, sometimes even tutoring each other. 

“Some of my other teammates were science majors with me so we did labs together,” Lipkens said. “It was really helpful to work together and get through some late night labs.”

The St. John’s Women’s Soccer team is fourth overall in Division I for highest GPA for this upcoming season, but they plan on getting back on top. After the struggles of losing their 2020 season and coming back to such a different version of life as student-athletes, each player has grown so much. All of these challenges make it more exciting to hopefully get back onto the field and play again in Spring 2021. These women are not only ready to keep up their place in the classroom but also make their mark on the field at Belson Stadium.