Chico State student-athletes make the grade

Feb 25, 2015 10:33 PM by Ross Field

Thousands of Chico State students are making their way through the school week. Those who are also athletes have more on their plates than just homework and exams.

Action News Now's Ross Field takes a look at these student-athletes who prove they are just as competitive in academics as they are in their respective sports.

"It's a privilege to be on the softball team," says Kelli Keefe.

That's a mind-set Chico State softball player Kelli Keefe carries with her every day even though fans are probably more concerned about her 2014 batting average of .303 than her 3.67 GPA. But she says both are important aspects of her Wildcat experience.

"Getting the job done in the classroom makes softball all the worth while," said Keefe.

Keefe learned to balance athletics and academics at a young age.

"It started when I was 9. My family preaches academics and so it was always nice to make my parents happy."

Keefe's not the only Wildcat athlete hitting high marks in the classrrom.

In 2013-2014, the department's cumulative GPA was 2.95. And 51 percent of Chico State's 319 student-athletes boasted a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Chico State Director of Athletics Anita Barker says, "this last year was probably one of our best ever as far as the number of student athletes with good high quality GPA's. They're here to get their education but they're also here to participate in a quality athletic program," said Barker.

Barker said the biggest thing about being a student-athlete is knowing which word comes first.

Few people understand that more than distance runner Andrew Cobourn. He's one of 58 Chico State student-athletes who earned the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) All-Academic honor for having a GPA of 3.4 or higher as an undergraduate varsity athlete in 2013-2014.

Cobourn double-majors in Cellular Molecular Biology and Exercise Physiology with the intention of becoming a doctor.

"I really enjoy challenging myself," says Cobourn. "I did a 17-hour day of school on Tuesday. It's tricky but you have to stay on top of it."

"For some of our Wildcats, once they finish college they need to go on and be strong citizens and do something with their lives outside of sports," said Barker.

Chico State athletes - not only some of the best competitors in the country, but on their way to becoming some of the best people as well.

(Chico State Sports Information Director Luke Reid contributed to this article).


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