Tricia Mallory of the Bearkat women's soccer team is typical of the Sam Houston State student-athletes who have helped lead the University's sports programs to success this fall.

Mallory is the top scorer for the soccer team and has received All-Southland Conference honors the past two years for squads that made consecutive Southland post-season tournament appearances and reached the semifinals in 2011.

The sophomore accounting major from Klein High School also has been a leader in the classroom.

Mallory is one of 11 student-athletes from fall semester sports to earn Academic All-Southland Conference honors in 2011. She holds a 3.88 overall grade point average and posted a 3.97 GPA during the semester just complete.

Performances like this have paved the way for the more than 400 student-athletes who represent Sam Houston in 17 intercollegiate sports to produce a department GPA of 2.90 this fall.

The 2.90 average, a mark higher than the overall GPA for the university's 17,618 students, marks the seventh time in the past 11 semesters athletics has produced 2.90 or higher GPA.

The athletic department set an academic record this fall with six sports squads compiling team GPAs higher than 3.0.

These performances highlight the SHSU Department of Athletics Fall 2011 Academic Report released this week by associate athletic director for student services Chris Thompson and her staff.

"Six of our sports teams produced team grade point averages higher than 3.0. We've never had a semester with that many of our sports teams over 3.0 before," Sam Houston director of athletics Bobby Williams said. "We are extremely proud of our student-athlete's achievements in the classroom and commend our coaching staff for the job they do in recruiting quality student-athletes. The number one goal for each of our sports teams is to have our young men and women earn the Sam Houston degrees."

During the 2011 fall semester, 156 student-athletes produced 3.0 or higher semester GPAs. A total of 136 Bearkats own overall GPAs of 3.0 or higher for their college career.

The 17 student-athletes who posted 4.0 fall GPAs included Mallory Garthwaite (soccer); Lauren Bohlen, Tayler Gray, Courtney Kimutis, Courtney Laskowski and Deveney Wells-Gibson (volleyball); Britni Martin (women's basketball); Sheridan Currie (tennis), Kim Damian and Calli Wood (softball); Joshua Reynolds (football); Jake Arrington and Greg Olson (baseball); Haleigh Ceballos and Jenny Zoch (women's track and field) and Oliver Dubiel and Karl Schreiber (men's track and field).

The Bearkat volleyball team that compiled an 11-5 Southland Conference won-loss record and reached the semifinals of the league post-season tournament led the academic success parade with a 3.47 team semester GPA. Other sports with 3.0 plus GPAs were women's golf 3.31, bowling 3.18, softball 3.09, women's track and field 3.06 and soccer 3.03.

Highlighting fall academic awards for the Bearkats was the selection of senior offensive lineman Travis Watson as the Southland Conference Football "Student-Athlete of the year. Watson's award marked the 12th time since 2007 a Sam Houston student-athlete has won the league's "Student-Athlete of the Year" honor for his or her individual sport.

Eleven Bearkats in three fall sports earned Academic All-Southland Conference honors, a selection that recognizes both academic and athletic excellence.

Watson, quarterback Brian Bell, running back Tim Flanders, wide receiver Brandon Closner, offensive lineman Matt Boyles, defensive lineman E. J. Nduka and safety Randy Stewart were Academic All-Southland as members of Sam Houston's 14-1 conference champion and NCAA national playoff finalist football team.

Middle blocker Kim Black and setter Kym Loving were 2011 Academic All-Southland volleyball honorees.

Kim Black and Kym Loving of Sam Houston State have been named to the 2011 Academic All-Southland Conference honor squad.

Mallory, a forward, and defender Hailey Shelpuk were Academic All-League selections for the Bearkat soccer team that reached the league's post-season tournament semifinals.

"It's really fun winning with young student-athletes who work hard in the class room as well as on the field," Sam Houston head football coach Willie Fritz said.

Sam Houston athletics' success in the classroom is no flash in the pan. Since the 1994-95 school year, SHSU student-athletes have combined to produce semester GPAs of 2.4 or higher. The Bearkat athletic GPA has 2.89 or higher for 11 consecutive semesters.