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Breaking Stereotypes: Not another dumb jock

Burton gets to ready to run to the next base. Photo courtesy of GPC Softball.

Battle, Burton, Lyall and Poplawski earn spots on the Dean’s List for Fall 2014

By: Tuneel Speech

The Lady Jaguars are winning on the field and in the classroom.

The softball team, made up of 13 freshman and two sophomores, have achieved an accumulated grade point average of 3.21 in the fall 2014 semester.

Four of the players had their hard work recognized as they were recognized on the Dean’s List.

Chase Battle (#1), Abby Lyall (#9), Rachel Poplawski (#13), and Ashton Burton (#14) achieved a GPA of 3.50 or better to be awarded with the honor, two of whom achieved a 4.00 last semester.

Somehow, these four athletes worked around the stress of sports and school, and were rewarded for their dedication.

Ashton Burton (#14), freshman, psychology major, third-baseman

The C: How are you able to balance the busy schedule of classes and playing softball?

AB: “The hour and a half tutor sessions after practice every day are a big help. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices, stay up late and get the work done. Put work before other things.”

The C: What motivates you to fight through the fatigue?

AB: “I keep my grades up so that I can eventually transfer.”

The C: How do you believe your performance in the classroom and on the field are related?

AB: “The work ethic of wanting to succeed at everything.”

The C: How does your academic performance impact your future plans?

AB: “It gives me more options with good grades.”

The C: Any words of advice for other college students?

AB: “Put work before everything else; eventually, you’ll have time to do other things.”

Rachel Poplawski (#13), freshman, biology major, left-fielder

The C: How are you able to balance a busy schedule with classes and playing softball?

RP: “When I was in high school, I had to figure out how to use my time wisely, and that prepared me for college.

The C: What challenges have you faced?

RP: “Having to give up free time and learning how to pick and choose whats important, accepting the reality of things.”

The C: What motivates you through the stress?

RP: “My team. We all want to be successful and I really want to play my part in the team as we all do.”

The C: How does your performance in class relate to your performance on the field?

RP: “It boosts your confidence, making you work harder.”

The C: How does success on the field impact success for your future?

RP: “There are personal qualities you learn playing on the team that will take you anywhere you want to go.”

The C: Any advice for those trying to balance school and other life issues at the same time?

RP: “Learn how to manage your time well, it is difficult. Staying on top of what’s important in life will help you battle what’s coming at you.

Ken Deyton, Softball manager

The C: What have you done to help the players as far as them succeeding academically?

CKD:“Building relationships ourselves with the professors. Five years ago, we implemented a mandatory two hour team study hall after class and practice, I put their academics before athletics. My priority is for them to graduate and be successful.”

The C: What are some challenges you have faced to create this culture of learning?

CKD: “It all starts with recruiting individual athletes. The ones I recruit have already shown their academic commitment. When a student gets to GPC and begins to struggle, then if necessary, we suspend them from softball until the grade is made up. We’ve never had a situation where a player hasn’t improved a grade.”

The C: Have you ever had trouble keeping the players motivated?

CKD: “My philosophy on that is ‘open line on communication’, I typically know they’re struggling before they do.”

The C: Any relations between success in class and on the field?

CKD: “It all comes back to the individual person and personal determination. If you get a student committed to her academics, typically, they are a very determined individual.”

The C: Are there any words of advice you would like to share?

CKD: “Communication is important, if you’re struggling, let somebody know and never procrastinate.”

These girls will continue to work hard for further success in their academic and athletic lifestyles. Coach Deyton will continue to support all of his players giving them the motivation they need to achieve their goals for their future.


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