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July 13, 2014

NAU Athletics Wins Back-to-Back Big Sky Presidents’ Cup

OGDEN, Utah – For the second straight year, Northern Arizona Athletics has captured the Big Sky Presidents’ Cup presented by Red Lion Hotels. NAU finished first in overall in athletic points for the second consecutive year, in addition to claiming the Big Sky Men’s and Women’s All-Sports Trophies in May.

The Big Sky Presidents’ Cup, now in its 12th year, reinforces the Big Sky’s dedication to the academic side of the student-athlete. Overall athletic success is combined with team grade point averages, Academic Progress Rates (APR), and All-Conference performers with grade point averages of at least 3.0.

Northern Arizona’s first Presidents’ Cup victory came in 2005-06. The Lumberjacks join Weber State as the only institution to win the honor in consecutive years; the Wildcats have done it twice. NAU’s three Presidents’ Cups trails only Weber State’s four.

“We are so excited to receive the news about the Presidents’ Cup,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos. “Our student-athletes have worked tirelessly in the classroom, in the community and in competition to help keep the Cup here in Flagstaff.  The Big Sky Conference schools continue to prioritize and bolster their respective athletic departments, which makes winning the Cup for the second year in a row such an outstanding achievement.  The support we have received from President John Haeger, ABOR and the community has been impactful and is realized with this recognition.  I challenge our current student-athletes, coaches and staff to press on, inspiring Northern Arizona with Lumberjack Pride.”

On the women’s side, NAU captured the indoor and outdoor track & field Big Sky Championships, finished second in soccer and tennis standings, and finished third at the cross country championship. The NAU men won Big Sky cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field titles, finished second in football and basketball, and tied for third in tennis.  

"Sustained excellence is difficult to achieve in collegiate athletics, but NAU has now reached that level. To win the Big Sky President’s Cup two years running, and for the third time in the past eight years, is a tribute to the hard work of our student athletes, our coaches and the staff,” said NAU President John Haeger. "Under the leadership of Vice President Lisa Campos, NAU Athletics has re-established itself as a point of pride for the institution."

The Lumberjacks led the league with 33 All-Conference student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 grade point average. NAU’s athletic teams finished with a 3.17 grade point average. Eight of NAU’s teams had at least a 3.1 GPA, led by soccer at 3.44, women’s tennis at 3.40, and the women’s cross country team at 3.34.

A total of 254 First, Second, or Third-Team All-Conference athletes compiled a minimum GPA of at least 3.0. The Lumberjacks had a league-high 33.

“As the president of SAAC, I've seen my fellow student-athletes really step it up this year, on the playing field, in the classroom and in the community,” said Laura Jabczenski. “I'm proud to see that all of the determination guiding the practices and actions of our athletes has paid off. It's a great honor to be a part of such a cohesive, hardworking group of student-athletes. This year we have done things we had never tried before and they became a huge success. I look forward to another year moving forward.”

Red Lion Hotels is a proud supporter of the Big Sky Conference and the Presidents’ Cup. With more than 50 locations in the western United State, Red Lion Hotels is there to serve the teams, fans, and alumni of the Big Sky Conference schools.