The Sam Houston men’s cross country team received a recognition from the NCAA that no other Bearkat team has received. The squad was awarded the NCAA’s APR Public Recognition Award on Thursday.

The NCAA annually honors teams earning multiyear Academic Progress Rates in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport. The men’s cross country team had a perfect four-year APR score of 1.000 for the 2010-2011 school year, which is also a first for a Sam Houston team.

The NCAA started recognizing the top teams in each sport based on APR numbers starting with the 2004-2005 school year.

The cross country team was one of six Southland Conference teams to be recognized and the only men’s teams in the league. McNeese State, Central Arkansas and Texas State-San Marcos won for women’s tennis, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for women’s golf and Texas State-San Marcos for softball.

Just 27 teams in the state of Texas earned the recognition of the 954 that were honored nationally. University of Texas led all in-state schools with seven teams honored, followed by Rice with six.  

The 954 teams publicly recognized this year for high achievement represent 560 women’s teams and 394 men’s or mixed squads.

Top performing APRs this year ranged from 978 to a perfect 1,000, with the majority of teams earning a perfect APR. The number of teams in some sports may exceed 10 percent depending on the number of perfect scores.

“These teams prove that it is possible to not only balance academic and athletic commitment, as most student-athletes do; but to exceed standards and post outstanding academic scores,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “The drive and determination shown in the classroom and on the field by these men and women represent what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete.”

A total of 263 schools, out of 347 Division I colleges and universities, placed at least one team on the top APR list. Additionally, 8 schools that offer athletics in more than one division, out of 49 overall within the NCAA, placed Division I teams on the list.

Dartmouth College had the most teams (23) recognized, followed by Brown University (20) and Harvard University (18).

In 2011, 909 teams were recognized.