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Wrestling, Women's Hoops Teams Recognized

May 1, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Patrick Walker (left) and Rachel Hammond are two of the academic standouts who helped the Liberty wrestling and women's basketball teams earn recognition by the NCAA.

Patrick Walker (left) and Rachel Hammond are two of the academic standouts who helped the Liberty wrestling and women's basketball teams earn recognition by the NCAA.

Liberty's wrestling and women's basketball programs have both been honored by the NCAA with public recognition awards, as a result of their lofty Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. These awards are given each year to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in their respective sport.

Head coach Jesse Castro's wrestling squad was one of only eight NCAA Division I wrestling programs to receive this notation, while coach Carey Green's Lady Flames were among 41 national women's basketball honorees.

The wrestling and women's basketball squads were among seven total Big South Conference athletic teams to be recognized. Gardner-Webb was the only other conference member with multiple honorees, as the Bulldogs' women's cross country and women's tennis squads both met the NCAA's award criteria.

The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester or quarter by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention, and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.

The NCAA honored 761 Division I teams, or about 11.8 percent of the nation's 6,484 Division I squads. All honorees posted APR scores ranging between 976 and 1,000, based on the 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 academic years.

Both of Liberty's APR honorees found success in competition, as well as in the classroom. The Liberty wrestling team captured its third consecutive NCAA Division I East Regional championship, while the Lady Flames won their 12th Big South women's basketball crown in the last 13 seasons.