CANTON  The Malone Pioneers, with local athletes playing a big role, announced earlier this month that they once again met their target of attaining a combined student-athlete grade point average above 3.00, logging a 3.111 GPA for the spring semester.

That figure represents the athletic department’s highest cumulative GPA for a semester since Malone completed its transition to NCAA Division II membership during the summer of 2013. 

The previous top mark was a 3.064 in the spring of 2015, with a total 416 student-athletes compiling the new high-water mark.

"We are extremely proud of our student-athletes at Malone,” Malone athletic director Charlie Grimes said. “They continue to do an outstanding job of balancing academics and athletics.”

Women’s teams led the way with a combined 3.340 GPA, while the combined average for all men’s teams was a 2.956.

The team with the best academic semester was volleyball, which led the way with a team GPA of 3.606, while the men’s teams were paced by the golf program, which finished the semester with an average of 3.382.  The men’s team includes former Canton Central Catholic standout Jarrod Kasunick.

Malone teams also have members from Manchester, Green, Jackson, Hoover, Lake, Lake Center Christian and Coventry.

Overall, 13 of the Pioneers’ 16 athletic programs achieved a 3.0 or above.

“I am very pleased to once again surpass our GPA goal,” Grimes added.  “It is truly a testament of the high priority that our coaching staff and students have placed on excelling academically and being leaders in the classrooms on campus.”