Oftentimes the athletic achievements of Bahamian student-athletes are highlighted when they go off to school abroad and not much is heard about their prowess in the classroom.
Bahamian water polo player Saequan Miller and his Salem University Tigers men’s water polo team were recognized for their collective cumulative grade point average (GPA) by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC).
As a team, they boasted a cumulative GPA of 3.49 – good enough to place them at fourth in the nation.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finished first with a cumulative GPA of 3.64. Brown University was second with a cumulative of 3.56. California Institute of Technology finished above the Tigers with a GPA of 3.53. Rounding out the top five was Harvard University with a GPA of 3.48.
“The guys work as hard in the classroom just as hard as they work in the water,” said Tigers Head Coach Robert Bullion. “I’m happy they consistently are at the top of the list.”
Miller said the team performed well in the classroom because of Coach Bullion.
“Being ranked fourth in the nation says a lot about our program here at Salem. It is not just athletics we focus on here because what is athletics without your academics. Our coach diligently pushes us to strive just as hard as we would in the pool in the classroom,” Miller stated.
In each of the previous four years, the Tigers posted the top GPA in the nation. They have also extended their streak of top four finishes to six consecutive years.
In addition to the team being honored, 11 Tigers student-athletes other than Miller earned individual academic honors.
Miller, a redshirt freshman, earned Superior recognition which is given to student-athletes who earned a cumulative GPA from 3.41 to 3.70. His average is 3.67. He is majoring in accounting and he wants to be a Certified Public accountant (CPA).
“In college, time management is crucial,” Miller said. “Once you can manage your time, maintaining an outstanding GPA would be effortless. I would definitely say that being a student-athlete is challenging because you have your time focusing on your sport which branches off into few things. For example, I am a water polo player. We have our time in the water, in the gym and our time in front of the board. It is a lot to deal with then to manage your class with homework, study time and making sure that assignments are turned in on time is a lot. Maintaining a social life also is a lot.”
Along with Miller, five of his teammates also attained Superior honors. They are Michael Rojas, Uros Jevtic, Alvaro Parra, Jacob Badough and Manuel Estela.
Six Tigers student-athletes attained the Outstanding category that is given to student-athletes who attained a cumulative GPA from 3.71 to 4.00. They included Robert Juhas, Milos Popovic, Petar Leontijevic, Mike Diaz, Austin Kephart and Julen Alonso.
The Bahamian said his advice to other student-athletes and aspiring student-athletes is to not take the opportunity for granted and to have proper time management. The Tigers finished the season with a 12-12 win-loss record. In conference play they were 4-2.
They lost to McKendree University 16-15 in sudden death in the semi-final round of the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Water Polo West Region Tournament back in November of last year.
In the Tigers’ season finale, they took down Mercyhurst University 16-9 to place third in that same tournament, ending the season on a winning note.
In 2019, Salem reached double figures in wins for the third consecutive year and posted its highest winning percentage in 15 years.
Miller played in 20 games this past season and scored 18 of his team’s 276 total goals.