Women’s Golf Receives Academic Awards
On Sept. 24, the Cameron University women’s golf team received an award for being the women’s team with the highest grade point average. The team’s collective GPA is a 3.6, a number that women’s golf coach Christi Williams said players have worked hard to achieve.
“I have a team of nine, and they’re all self-motivated,” she said. “I don’t have to force them to study. They get upset when they don’t make a great exam grade. There’s a desire there to do well and it shows in the classroom.”
Not only has the team received local awards, they’ve also been nationally recognized for their academic achievements. On July 11, the team received the Women’s Golf Coaches’ Association All-Scholar GPA Award for holding the 20th highest GPA in the nation for Division II women’s golf.
The rankings are calculated based on GPA and hours taken over the course of each player’s academic carrier.
According to Williams, these achievements didn’t come about by accident.
“They’re motivated,” she said. “They do study hall, and we do grade checks. So if someone is struggling with a class, we up our study hall hours. We’re hoping that hopefully we get those classes to A’s and B’s.”
The team doesn’t only excel collectively, but also individually. Tennis player Allison Duffin is a standing two time Academic All-American, an award she earned on the basis of both golfing skill and academic achievement.
For Duffin, doing well in class is a priority. She said any awards that come as a result of it are simply byproducts of hard work.
“I honestly don’t do it for the awards,” she said. “But it makes me happy when I get them because I feel like what I’m doing is worthwhile and is paying off.”
As a first generation college student, Duffin said she puts a personal importance on education.
“I’m doing this for myself,” she said. “I’m the only person from my family who has attended college, so it means everything to me to give it my all while I’m here.”
Duffin said she believes that the women’s golf team has a shared sense of the importance of academics.
“Me and a few other girls got academics awards,” she said. “Other people see that and they’re like ‘hey I want that too.’ Now we have a 3.7 for the whole team. That’s 20th in the nation for all of DII schools.”
Because tournaments are held during the school week on Mondays and Tuesdays, players often have to bring school work with them in order to keep up with their studies. Duffin said that the scheduling can make things difficult.
“It’s hard,” she said. “I’m not going to sit here and say that its been easy because it’s not. We’re gone a lot of days. So we know we have to stay on top of it.”
According to Williams, the players make it work.
“They’re doing homework all the time on the road,” Williams said. “I had several golfers with tests when they got back, and they were studying when they weren’t playing golf.”
Williams was proud of her players and their commitment to excellence both on and off the field. According to her, it’s been an incredible year academically.
“We have to play great golf,” she said, “but be even better students at the end of the day.”