The Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s soccer team was honored for their academic success with the College Team Academic Award for 2008 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America earlier this month.
This marks the second consecutive year the ThunderWolves have earned this recognition.
We felt this award was a very attainable goal and are pleased we attained it,” second- year ThunderWolves head coach Dave Morris said.
Winning this award is nothing new for Morris.
Dating back to his previous head coaching position at Division III Wisconsin-Stout, Morris has been at the helm for nine straight team academic awards. Yet Morris takes no credit for these accomplishments but gives all the credit to his players.
“This award has nothing to do with me,” Morris said.
Morris went on to say that he coaches a really good group of girls who work hard in the classroom and on the field.
For a team to be nominated for the academic award, it team must possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. The ThunderWolves finished the 2007-2008 academic year with a team GPA of 3.23.
“Our team works very hard both on and off the field, so it feels good to see our accomplishments recognized with this award,” junior defender Felicia Gilbreath said.
Gilbreath is a business major who carries a 3.6 GPA.
Morris developed a new strategy to achieve academic success last year by eliminating team study halls. Instead he employed what he called “constructive nagging.”
“The idea was that the team was responsible for our actions,” junior midfielder Sarah Gross, a biology major with a 4.0 GPA, said. “If a teammate fails, it is like the team fails. If a teammate is struggling in a subject, we as teammates know before our coach does, and since that is the case it was our job to try and help the teammate.”
In addition to the team academic award, several individual players were honored for their achievements in the classroom. Last fall, junior midfielder Rikki Warmack was named to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s all-academic first team as a unanimous choice.
“I am honored because I can represent my team and what we stand for in such a positive way,” Warmack said.
Gilbreath, Gross and sophomore midfielder Sarah Deziel were each selected to the RMAC’s all-academic second team.
“It is an honor to be selected for the all-academic team,” Gross said.
The players agree it is much more difficult to succeed in the classroom rather than on the soccer field.
“Soccer is something that I enjoy and have fun with, which I cannot say about all of my classes,” Gilbreath said.
Sophomore Kiley Draper, sophomore Kara Morton and sophomore Aubrielle Williams were named to the RMAC academic honor roll.