By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's Schreyer Honors College is certainly preparing students for successful careers after graduation. But the Honors College is also a big draw for girls looking to come and play field hockey while receiving a top-notch education.
There are a lot of smart girls on coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss' field hockey squad. After all, the team did take home a prestigious academic distinction a year ago.
"Let's not forget that our team won the women's highest GPA last spring," said Morett-Curtiss.
Three girls on this year's team are currently in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, including Kirsten Gochnauer, Lisa Winters and Colleen Conway. All three student-athletes are reaping the benefits of being involved with such a prestigious academic institution.
Freshman goalkeeper Colleen Conway was drawn to Penn State because of the rare combination of academics and a first-rate field hockey program.
"I definitely feel like I get to represent the school for academics and athletics, and it just makes the experience so much better. That was one of the biggest reasons I came here, actually," said Conway.
Conway drew interest from a few Ivy League schools, including the Princeton Tigers, a team Penn State faced earlier in October. Yet, Conway chose Penn State, and enrolled in Schreyer's. Assistant coach Stuart Smith is proud of the education Penn State can provide his players.
"Not to say we swooped under the radar and took her from an Ivy [League school], but she came in and met with Dean Brady and the Schreyer Honors College people and made a decision not just for the hockey, she's a great goaltender, but also what we can provide with Schreyer's and beyond college. She has a 4.0 GPA. She's killing college, smashing it," said Smith.
Freshman Lisa Winters is enjoying her time in the Schreyer Honors College, as well.
"I like to focus on academics and athletics so to be able to do both is awesome," said Winters.
But Winters agreed with the other girls in the Honors College - the time management aspect of balancing a Division I sport with the Honors College is a challenge.
"It definitely teaches a lot about time management because there's a lot to do for both! That's definitely the most challenging part," said Winters.
Junior Kirsten Gochnauer thinks it is all about finding a balance.
"Knowing you have to study and you also have to get to practice, just finding that balance [helps], it's different for everyone," said Gochnauer.
Gochnauer does love the way Schreyer Honors College is set up.
"Especially with the smaller classes with such great professors here and getting the solo attention from those professors is a great thing," said Gochnauer.
Coach Morett-Curtiss is thrilled that Schreyer's is such a big draw for recruits, and with the program itself.
"Schreyer's is tremendous. First of all, Dean Brady and his staff just do an outstanding job every time we bring players in because a lot of the time, we're looking to recruit against universities like Duke, Virginia and Princeton. So that gives us an edge in recruiting."
"We're proud of our academic record at Penn State, and we really look to recruit players that are committed both academically and athletically," added Morett-Curtiss.