For the average student, a 3.50 grade point average can be a lot to ask. For the average student-athlete, performing at that high level for seven months a year can be almost impossible.
But for Megan Chapman and Stefanie Ferguson, top grades aren’t just possible, but expected.
The two CSU women’s golfers were awarded one of the most prestigious honors in college sports last week when they were named to the National Golf Coaches Association’s 2006-2007 All-America Scholar Team.
This is the second consecutive year each has earned the award, which requires a player to maintain a cumulative 3.50 GPA and also compete in at least 50 percent of their team’s events for the season. Chapman also made the NGCA Scholar Team in 2004-2005.
Considering golf is one of the few collegiate sports that compete year-round, Ferguson said the accomplishment is one that was not easily earned. “I think especially with golf, people don’t realize what we have to do playing in both the fall and the spring,” she said. “It’s very challenging.”
Ferguson, who enters her junior season this fall, capped off an impressive sophomore run in 2006-2007 with a 21st place finish at the Mountain West Conference Championships in April.
But Ferguson, who is majoring in finance, says she’s as proud of this award as anything she’s done on the course.
“Academics are just as important as athletics to me,” she said. “This ranks as high as any honor I’ve had in golf.”
Chapman, who graduated with a degree in natural resources in May, also posted impressive numbers in her senior season.
Along with an 11th place finish at the MWC Championships, Chapman shot a 68 at the Ptarmigan/Ram Fall Classic in September, which is tied for the second-lowest single-round score in school history.
Chapman was not available for comment due to a backpacking trip, an opportunity that Ferguson says doesn’t come around very often while juggling school and sport.
“I know I don’t go out as much as most college kids, you just don’t have the time,” she said.
Head coach Angie Hopkins said the award came as no surprise.
“They are both such good students,” she said. “At the start of the season they all set their own goals, and this was one of them (for Chapman and Ferguson).”
Hopkins has now coached seven Academic All-Americans in her four years at CSU, which she says she is “more proud of” than any other accomplishment.
“When you’re out on the road as much as we are, you have to have students that really commit themselves to their studies,” Hopkins said. “That is definitely something we look for in recruits.”
Though she said Chapman, her first recruit at CSU, will be greatly missed, Hopkins believes players like Ferguson will continue to thrive on the course and in the classroom.
Ferguson said doing such simply requires the right attitude.
“I think it just takes wanting to do it,” she said. “It’s something you have to work for.”
Staff writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at email@example.com.