Behrend student athletes excel in uniform and in the classroom

Behrend wrestler

Penn State Behrend's student athletes have a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average.

Credit: Penn State

ERIE, Pa. — Student athletes at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College are running up the score — on their grade-point averages.

Since the fall of 2011, the average cumulative GPA for student athletes who played on Behrend’s 22 varsity sports teams jumped from 2.90 to its current 3.20, an increase of .06 points each year. Additionally, in the past academic year 63 percent of Behrend student athletes maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.

“Division III athletes know how important an education is — that’s why we’re in college in the first place,” said Troy Valkusky, a driver on the men’s water polo team who said that he believes the discipline needed to excel on the court, field or pool carries over to the classroom. “Sports take up a lot of what could be our free time, so that means that time management is a number-one priority for us. If we fail at prioritizing tasks and fall behind, we risk losing the right to play the sport we love.”

Valkusky, a senior majoring in project and supply chain management, said that playing water polo also has scored him points in professional interviews, most recently for his summer internship at Alcon’s U.S. headquarters in Ft. Worth, Texas. “Time management is a valuable skill employers are looking for. I have found that when interviewers ask a question regarding prioritizing, I bring up that I am able to compete at the collegiate level and still maintain good grades.”

This fall, Penn State Behrend expanded the athletic opportunities it offers to its students — the college now fields 24 NCAA varsity teams after adding women’s bowling and reestablishing wrestling, a sport it had competed in from 1967 until 1978. For more information about Penn State Behrend’s athletic programs, visit