UNB's Varsity Reds women's volleyball team is not just acing it out on the court. They're winning titles in the classroom, too.
This year, they're the smartest team in Canada. Every single member of the squad received straight A's in the 2013-14 academic year – the only Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) team to do so. Collectively, they had a team GPA of 3.9 out of 4.3.
CIS has a term for this – Academic All-Canadian. It's awarded to any student-athlete who receives straight A's (a GPA of 3.5 or higher) while competing for a varsity team.
It's a massive achievement for student-athletes who balance full-time studies with heavy practice and competition schedules.
Paige Nelmes is a third-year Kinesiology student and a member of the Varsity Red squad. She says she's proud to be a part of a team that shows it's possible to be a competitive athlete and a great student.
"I think I wouldn't know what to do with myself with all that free time, so I'm glad I play sport," Nelmes said "And it's really my life, as well."
UNB prides itself on having a large portion of its student-athletes achieve Academic All-Canadian status each year. But this is the first time an entire team has met the challenge.
"We're continually striving to be champions of academic and athletic excellence," said UNB Director of Athletics John Richard. "We never cease to be blown away by our student-athletes' achievements. I have no doubt that the dedication and determination they show in these two areas of their lives will play a strong role in their future successes."
When it comes to sharing their strategies for success while juggling such busy schedules, second-year Biochemistry student and volleyball player Taylor Hutchison says there's no real secret. She does have a few tricks, though.
"An afternoon nap can be very beneficial," Hutchison said. "As long as you make sure you watch how long you sleep."