The Culver-Stockton College and Western Illinois University women's basketball players share a common bond.
They succeed on and off the floor.
Both programs landed in the top 25 on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association 2019-20 Academic Honor Roll. This is the 25th year the WBCA has recognized NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA programs for their academic success.
The Wildcats were one of three Heart of America Athletic Conference teams to earn the honor, coming in at 16th overall with a 3.59 collective grade point average. Grand View and Benedictine were the other Heart teams in the top 25.
"The WBCA applauds these head coaches and their teams for their commitment to academic excellence," WBCA executive director Danielle Donehew said in a release. "We appreciate and value the hard work and dedication the players and coaches have put forth to thrive in the classroom and on the basketball court."
This was the third consecutive year for WIU to earn the honor. The Leathernecks finished fourth among NCAA Division 1 members with a 3.751 GPA while eight student-athletes boasted a perfect 4.0 GPA and 15 had a 3.0 or higher.
"I'm so proud of this team and the fact that coming in the top five in the nation in team GPA has become almost the norm for our program," said WIU coach JD Gravina, the former Quincy University head coach. "Our players really overcame a lot of unique challenges this academic year."
Wildcats picked ninth in Heart
The C-SC women's soccer team heads into the fall season picked to finish ninth in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches.
The Wildcats had a string of five straight postseason appearances snapped last season despite finishing 10-7-1 overall. C-SC ended in a tie with Clarke for the eighth in the Heart standings with a 4-6-1 league record, but the Pride won the tie-breaker and received the final spot in the Heart Tournament.
C-SC returns junior midfielder Jody Ellis, a third-team all-conference selection last season. She has seven goals and 18 assists in 37 career games played.
Central Methodist, which won last year's regular-season and postseason championships, is the favorite to win this season's title after going undefeated in league play a year ago.
C-SC men look to surprise Heart foes
With a new head coach at the helm, the C-SC men's soccer team will have the chance to exceed expectations within the 13-team Heart of America Athletic Conference.
The Wildcats were picked to finish 10th in the Heart's preseason poll of the league coaches. C-SC finished tied for ninth last season, going 5-12-1 overall with a 3-7-1 Heart record. It finished one game from qualifying for the eight-team conference tournament.
Brian Davidson has replaced Blake Ordell as head coach with his first season scheduled to begin September 8 against Hannibal-LaGrange.
Central Methodist, the two-time defending NAIA national champion, was picked as the preseason conference favorite for the third straight season. The Eagles claimed both the regular-season conference title and the national title in 2018 and 2019.
Pirates tabbed as Heart favorite
Park University, in its first season competing in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, has been pinned as the women's volleyball preseason league favorite by a vote of the league's coaches.
The Pirates won the American Midwest Conference regular-season and conference championships last season and reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA national tournament.
C-SC is picked 13th in the 14-team league. The Wildcats went 10-19 overall and 4-14 in Heart play last season.
Grand View, the four-time defending conference champion, was picked second in the poll.