It was a great week for student athletes at the University of Montana, as they closed the 2018-19 spring semester by winning the Big Sky Conference.

Senior Associate Athletic Director for the University of Montana Jean Gee said the Griz were first in the conference academically.

“We just had a record semester for our student athletes,” said Gee. “We led the Big Sky Conference with 74 athletes in our spring sports that met the academic all conference standards, so we were number one in the league for our spring sports.”

Spring sports at the University of Montana include track and field, both indoor and outdoor, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s golf, and softball.

According to the UM Athletic department the breakout performance came from Coach Melanie Meuchel’s softball program, which had 11 players honored, the most in the five years of the program and tied for the second most in the league. Meuchel’s Grizzlies, who finished third in the league last season, had a program-record GPA of 3.49 for the spring semester.

“I spoke with Mel and she’s so incredibly proud of their academic performance,” she said. “They’ve made that a priority and for them to come through like they have and their quick success on the field since we added softball, that was definitely a no-brainer as far as a sport to add, especially when they’re contributing not only on the field but definitely in the classroom.”

Gee said many athletes in spring sports spend an extraordinary amount of time traveling to games out of state, and for them to have maintained such a high GPA is a testament to their commitment to academics.

“They’re on the road a lot to get to those competitions and get ready for conference play,” she said. “So, to be out of the classroom for as much as they are and to have these kids of achievements is even more special.”

Montana collected 169 Academic All-Big Sky Conference awards between the fall, winter and spring teams.