BUCKHANNON — The Lady Bobcat’s basketball team has the highest-grade point average out of all 22 sports at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
It’s an accolade Coach Vicky Bullett said her team had worked hard for after continually coming in second place behind the tennis team.
“This year they had the highest GPA of all the 22 sports so they were really, really happy and excited,” she said.
And it is academics that the student-athletes are at West Virginia Wesleyan College to learn.
“What brings them here is not me as a coach but the fact that the institution is providing them an education, which is priceless,” she said. “They are just wonderful individuals. I commend their parents for letting me be a part of their lives.”
Prior to coming to West Virginia Wesleyan College, Bullett was a professor and head coach at a junior college.
“I couldn’t get those kids out of the gym,” she said. “Here, I can’t get them in the gym; they are always at the library.”
Joking aside, Bullett said that is a good quality for student-athletes to have.
“They are students first,” she said. “They are coming here to get an education.”
Several players are on the president and dean’s lists for the college, and many of the freshmen are on presidential scholarships.
“These kids are just relentless,” she said. “We are losing a lot of games, but they are relentless in the classroom.”
Senior Stacy Remer from North Dakota has been accepted to Shenandoah University for physical therapy school and will be making a decision soon on where she will go.
Senior Mari Stewart is considering playing basketball overseas, Bullett said.
The team has an overall record of 5-11 and 3-7 in the Mountain East Conference, and Bullet said it has been a difficult year for her players.
One of the best players, junior guard Tyra Hughes, has been injured.
“We’re having a tough time, but it’s how you approach the next game that’s going to matter,” she said. “I always tell them, we can lose a game, but don’t get used to it. The girls have been playing really close games.”
The coach invited Rotary members and the community to come to a game.
In her second year as head coach, Bullett said she has been overwhelmed by the kindness of people in the community.
“This is beginning to feel like home,” she said.
A recent example of this was when Walmart provided free dinners for Bullett’s team over winter break when the dining facility was closed. Microtel stepped up by offering free breakfast and then Bullett said she was able to provide lunch.
The director of basketball operations, Thomas Lange, came up with a fundraiser for the team that has seen a lot of support from local businesses.
For $100, businesses can get their name on the back of a stadium chair. The chairs are then rented at different sporting events for $5.
“That’s one of our biggest fundraisers we have been doing,” she said.