FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the second straight year, the FGCU men’s tennis team carried over its hard work on the court into the classroom, earning an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team award for its 3.44 cumulative grade-point average (GPA).
Needing a 3.2 cumulative team grade-point average (GPA) to qualify for the ITA’s annual academic honor, FGCU’s 2011-12 roster was able to put together a collective 3.44 GPA due to having eight student-athletes with a cumulative 3.0 or higher.
The ITA also handed out its Scholar-Athlete awards for those student-athletes that finished the academic year with a cumulative 3.5 GPA or higher and have been enrolled at their current school for at least two semesters. Freshman Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS), senior Steve Binninger (St. Augustine, Fla./Saint Joseph Academy), junior Gabriel Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) and sophomore Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) all sport above a 3.5 GPA and earn the ITA Scholar-Athlete status.
“What an honor for our team to be named to the ITA All-Academic list and to also have nearly half of the team be named as ITA Scholar-Athletes,” said C.J. Weber, who guided FGCU to its first-ever A-Sun Championships appearance in his first season in 2011-12. “A huge part of the success of FGCU athletics is done in the classroom, and I'm very proud to be part of that. Our guys made big improvements on the court this last year, and it's great for them to be recognized for their efforts in the classroom as well.”
Five programs from the Atlantic Sun Conference earned the team award with a total of 25 student-athletes earning ITA Scholar-Athlete awards.
Binninger, who graduated in May with a degree in bioengineering, was honored as the first-ever FGCU student-athlete to be named to the FGCU Hall of Fame in the spring. Adding to his list of academic awards, Binninger was one of FGCU’s 2012 A-Sun Commissioner’s Award winners that graduated with a 3.60-3.79 cumulative GPA and was also an A-Sun Conference Scholar due to achieving at least a 3.4 GPA over the last two years. Echeverry also earned A-Sun Conference Scholar status.
In the spring of 2012 under Weber’s direction, the Green and Blue doubled their win total from a season ago with seven victories. Freshman Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) became the first Eagle to be honored as the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and was joined by Beiler as the program’s first A-Sun All-Freshmen team selections. FGCU returns five of its six starters in the singles lineup while ushering in talented freshmen Chris Perrigan (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay College Prep. School) and Dylan Gunning (Boca Raton, Fla./Olympics Heights HS) along with USC transfer Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada HS/USC).