Cowgirl spikers tops in classroom

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By Dave Kavanaugh

When the New Mexico Highlands University volleyball team opens the season later this month, the Cowgirls will not only look to make improvements from last year’s record, they’ll also be looking to match the academic excellence demonstrated in 2008-09.

Highlands volleyball was among 46 NCAA Division II programs to earn the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Team Academic Award for the 2008-09 season. The Cowgirls led all of NMHU’s athletic teams in team grade point average with a 3.38, according to the school’s sports information office.

The award was announced July 23 by the AVCA.

“I am very proud of my team,” NMHU head coach Jim Deisler said in a news release. “They have shown great maturity and dedication by being true student-athletes. They not only excelled on the court but in the classroom as well. Receiving this award is huge for our program and for entire NMHU athletic department.”

Of the 14 volleyball programs in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, only NMHU and Colorado Christian (based in Lakewood, Colo., near Denver) were honored with the AVCA award. Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, which competes in the Lone Star Conference, was also recognized.

The University of New Mexico was one of the NCAA Division I honorees. UNM featured libero Gayle Tripp, daughter of former Las Vegan Gary Tripp.