Two area soccer teams have been recognized nationally for players' academic achievement.
Beaufort High School's girls soccer team and the Hilton Head Island High School boys soccer team each earned National Team Academic Awards for the 2011-12 school year from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The awards recognize teams that post a 3.25 grade point average or higher during the school year.
Beaufort High's girls, who earned the award for a second consecutive year, finished with a 3.43 GPA. Hilton Head High's boys posted a 3.52 to earn the award for the first time under coach Wayne Quinlan.
The recognition for the Seahawks was the icing to a season in which they finished 17-4 and made the program's first appearance in the state championship game.
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"This has been a difficult goal to attain," Quinlan said. "We have been trying to get there since I took over. It is a testament to the emphasis our district places on academics in athletics and, especially, the effort that our great faculty puts into our tutoring program. The players take it seriously as well, and now all of those involved are being rewarded."
Quinlan said the school district's tutoring requirement for athletes not making a 'C,' or higher has helped. The fifth-year coach said the Seahawks listed the national academic honor as a coach each season before finally reaching it in Year 4.
"I have a lot of kids that are in tutoring not because they have to, but because they want to make good grades, they want to be ahead," Quinlan said.
The awards will be presented during a banquet in Indianapolis during the NSCAA national convention in January. Eleven girls teams from South Carolina and nine boys teams made the national list.
Beaufort High coach Terry Rawlins said the Eagles would forego the trip and wait for certificates in the mail. He credited parents for making sure his players stayed on their studies, that coaches don't have to do any more than re-emphasize the importance.
"At the end of the day, you don't get credit for playing soccer," Rawlins said. "You take care of business in the classroom, that way you're more relaxed and comfortable. And a student doing well academically, they're a lot easier to coach."