Jul 062010
Authors: Kevin Lytle

CSU’s athletes proved that they have brains and brawns when the Mountain West Conference awarded 72 Scholar-Athlete awards for their work during the 2009-2010 academic year.

The awards, released last Wednesday, honor 63 Rams who collectively represent 15 of CSU’s 16 varsity athletics programs.

To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must have completed at least two academic terms at an institution, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or better and have participated in varsity competition in an NCAA-sponsored event.

There are many facets that go into the success of a student-athlete in the classroom. The main attribute necessary is a strong work ethic.

“I try to work hard in all parts of life,” said sophomore volleyball player Dana Cranston, who was one of the recipients of the award.

Redshirt sophomore basketball player Jesse Carr agreed that it takes hard work to succeed in the classroom, as well as in the athletic arena.
“It shows that I’m a hard worker,” Carr said. “Whatever you throw at me, I can handle it.”

During a season, student-athletes have to handle an extremely condensed schedule. They often start their day early in the morning and don’t finish with a day’s work until more than 12 hours later.

Between classes, homework, studying and team-related activities, it’s often difficult to juggle all responsibilities. Yet the student-athletes who won this award show that it can be done to a high degree of success.

Despite the fact that it takes a high level of personal effort to achieve this success, it’s not done alone.

“Our support system makes it so much easier to succeed,” said Cranston, a business administration major. “The coaches make sure that we get time to do school work when we’re on the road. We have a lot of extra opportunities for help with tutors and teachers.”

An athlete’s specific season is the hardest time for them to succeed in the classroom.

“During the season, I have a lot on my plate. Things get pretty hectic,” Carr said.

Scholar-Athletes were happy to be recognized for their effort in the classroom in addition to their work on the court and field. The idea of leading by example was evident to the award-winning athletes.
“I hope I set a good example, especially for younger kids,” Carr said. “They see that if you work hard, you can succeed in the classroom as well as on the court.”

Cranston was also happy to show what athletes are capable of.

“It’s a very big honor. Athletes can achieve high honors in school as well as in their sport,” Cranston said. “I hope young girls coming into the program can see that if you manage your time and work hard, you can succeed.”

Of the 63 Rams that won the Scholar-Athlete award, nine student-athletes — Colin Anderson, Ryan Friese, Kendra Gerk, Kristin Hemphill, Brittany Lee, Nicole Peters, Ellie Rastall, Aliese Willard and Margaret Wood — were recognized twice for their efforts as part of part of the CSU cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field programs.

CSU had five individuals, Aliese Willard, Stephanie Greer, Myla Kilchrist and Tara and Tasia DeMuth, who were part of the 42 student-athletes in the MWC to post perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point averages.

Sports reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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