By Randy Whetstone Jr.–

Several members of the women’s basketball team were named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for the fall 2012 semester. 355 student athletes made the list this past fall, a record for the University of Louisville.

The University of Louisville Athletic Department has grown enormously in the recent years. Each program has operated to excel in every aspect of its sport. The recognition towards these athletes has elevated substantially to new heights. Not only have student athletes at U of L worked hard in their desired sport, but they also have been able to transition that hard working disposition into the classroom setting; 16 of 19 U of L teams had a 3.0 or higher in the fall 2012 semester.

A new school record was set for the school as 355 student athletes were named to the Honor Roll this past fall. Student athletes were able to manage athletics and academics in an effective manner, hopefully evolving a trend to continue in the future. To add to the major accomplishment by the department, 231 student athletes have obtained a 3.25 cumulative GPA or higher.

The total semester GPA of all sport programs for fall 2012 was 3.115; this also was a record for a semester. Four years in a row, the total semester GPA has been a 3.0 or higher. This achievement by athletics can be used as a platform to recruit future prospects. Louisville’s athletes have made a statement to say “knowledge is power.” A professional career is not guaranteed to all, but to have substantial knowledge and insight will empower an individual in any facet of life.

Men’s basketball was one of six teams to have a record number of players on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for a single semester. One of the 15 players is freshman Montrezl Harrell. He gave his perspective on academics and how it relates to his athletic experience.

“My perspective of academics is that I stay ahead of the GPA I have to maintain,” Harrell said. “Without academics, I can’t play ball.”

Harrell earned a 4.0 grade point average in his first semester of college on a team that ranked No. 2 in the beginning of the season.

“When we had study hall, I took advantage of it,” Harrell added. “When I had a test, I studied days in advance. I would get with my tutor and know the information in advance.”

Women’s golf earned the highest GPA of any program for the fall semester. It was the fourth semester in a row they reached this pinnacle. Softball was third on this list behind men’s basketball. Jenn Esteban, a senior on the softball team, expressed how she has been able to manage softball and academics.

“I’ve been able to learn to balance time over the years,” she explained. “I’ve been able to set time out for hitting, throwing, and extra conditioning, as well as setting apart time for homework.”

Student athletes have also incorporated their studies into their field of sport. Hillary Bushway, a junior on the Lacrosse team, said, “Teammates, tutors, and advisors played a major role in academics. Stuff we learn in Principles of Sport transitioned into me being a leader on the field.”

Colleen O’Malley is one of Bushway’s teammates. Both athletes are juniors on the lacrosse team, and each fall into the 3.0 or higher category. O’Malley’s main objective has been, “Time management. I have to stay on top of everything, not waiting until the last minute to get assignments done.”

Louisville’s Athletic Department continues to grow each year in many aspects. The department will envision setting more records in athletics and academics to strive even higher to new fulfillments in the record books.

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Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal