Athletics sometimes get recognized more than academics do in high school.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association sees it differently as they hand a team academic award to all levels of collegiate and high school volleyball.

The 2018 Heartland Lutheran was one of the volleyball teams to receive the 2019 AVCA Team Academic Award after finishing with an grade point average average of a 3.89 last year. The Red Hornets received a plaque during the Nebraska Coaches Association clinic for their hard work in the class room.

“I’m proud of our girls because they work hard in their studies and this proves it,” Red Hornet coach Connie Hiegel said.

This award honors teams who have displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

There were over 400 high schools from across the country to receive the honor, 30 of which were Nebraska schools.

The 2018 Red Hornets had two seniors on its roster in Calie Hiegel, Connie’s daughter, and Trinity Blase.

Hiegel said this is a good honor to achieve.

“It shows how committed the girls are in their studies,” she said. “There’s been nights where the girls get home late from games and they still have to get their studies done. It’s worth it in the long run.

“Athletics are just a small part of your life. Academics will get you so far in life. If you go on to play sports in college, they will tell you that you are a student first.”

A few area schools also earned the honor.

Aurora received the honor for the third-straight year. Huskie coach Lois Hixson said she believed their overall GPA average was around 3.8.

Hastings and Hastings St. Cecilia were also honored.

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Sports writer, mostly in volleyball, cross country, wrestling and track and field, for the Grand Island Independent for seven years.

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