July 23, 2008
Proving hard work in the classroom pays off, after posting a 3.66 grade point average for the year, the Santa Clara women's golf team has been recognized by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) for posting the fourth-highest team GPA in the country, tying with Illinois Wesleyan University. The Broncos had the highest GPA in the West Coast Conference and joined Stanford as the only two teams from the West Coast in the top 25 nationally.
"I congratulate Head Coach Polly Schulze and the entire women's golf team for this remarkable achievement," said Santa Clara athletics director Dan Coonan. "They clearly take a great deal of pride in their academic success, and it certainly shows. They led the way as our student-athletes posted a term GPA of 3.08, matching our previous all-time high. The University is very proud of our athletes' continuing record of success in the classroom."
Goals were set and progress has been made by head coach Polly Schulze and her team. Prior to three years ago the SCU women's golf team had no All-Scholar recipients and the team's GPA in 2004-05 was below 3.0. In the past three years the team has had 14 individual All-Scholar recipients, including a record five on the list this year. To receive this award a student-athlete must maintain a CUM GPA of 3.5 or higher for the entirety of their collegiate career and have played in at least 50% of the team's competitions on the year.
"This was a goal for our team - finish in the top five nationally academically," said Schulze, in her ninth year at the Bronco helm. "Our team GPA for the entire year is a 3.66! Once our first All-Scholar student-athlete was named in 2006, it stirred the team's competitive juices. They all believed they could achieve the same and wanted to achieve that status. Success breeds success and I think that is what happened here. Our academic success bred on itself and now we find ourselves in this impressive place and it's a prideful and fun place to be.
"I cannot fully express the pride I feel in what the team accomplished and I hope the Santa Clara community will congratulate the team when they return to campus in September," said Schulze.
"As freshman we go to study hall and that forces you to study," said rising sophomore Miki Ueoka, the team's No. 1 player and a NGCA All-Scholar honoree. "It helps prepare you for when you don't have study hall. When the new library opened this spring, I was there for two hours every night the first three weeks. It's fantastic! Our progress in the classroom is a combination of good facilities, good structure and people who generally want to help us do well. Polly talked a lot about the team GPA and she takes pride in it. We understand that it's a goal that we all have to contribute to. It's really cool to have something like that because it's a big goal to accomplish. When people ask me about my GPA at home and I tell them they are amazed and then I say `you should see what my teammates are doing!'"
"Since my freshman year it's something that was talked about on the team. It was important to us," said rising junior Erin Sullivan, who in the winter and spring quarters this year earned a 4.0 GPA. She is a two time All-Scholar recipient. "We have been the No. 1 team in our athletics department a number of times and it's something that we take pride in. It's something we are competitive about. It's difficult with golf because you are gone six hours a day and then come home and study. Our school work comes before anything social. We take a lot of pride of it. Athletes in general sometimes get a bad rap so we keep in touch with our professors and that helps us with professors as well. It's rewarding to see how we match up with teams all over the country. The hard work was worth it."