Laura Knutson and Traci Johnson have been named to the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) All-American Scholar Team, continuing a long tradition of academic excellence by Carleton women golfers. In the last seven years, eight different players have earned this prestigious award a total of 19 times.
It marks the second time in her two years on the Carleton campus that Laura has earned the award, and Traci is one of only of only three players to earn the award during her rookie campaign. To win the award, a player must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.50 and student-athletes must have competed in at least 66 percent of the team’s regularly scheduled competitive rounds. A total of 410 women's collegiate golfers (all divisions) were recognized with the prestigious honor, but only 67 from Division III were named to the team, including 10 from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). Carleton was one of only 18 Division III programs to place multiple student-athletes on the All-American Scholar Team. The Knights won the Team All-American Scholar award three straight years from 2004-07
To put that in perspective, a player has to have the talent to hold down a starting spot on a college golf team for the majority of the season while maintaining an outstanding grade-point average. Reaching that 3.50 minimum isn't easy at any school, but at a school as academically rigorous at Carleton, this is a major achievement and takes a lot of hard work, time and sacrifice on the part of our student-athletes.
This success, though, isn't by accident. We set up our program so that players can have success in the classroom, the most important area, and on the golf course. We're very fortunate that our home course is mere blocks from campus, meaning we can be at practice in a few minutes, get our work done and then return so our players can hit the books and basically be regular college students. We don't practice for six or eight hours a day, as this wouldn't be conducive to academic success for our players.
Of course, this environment isn't made for players trying to make it to the next level in golf. Our players are seeking to get to the next level academically, as Carleton will prepare them for medical school, law school, graduate school or a career. But our players also enjoy a competitive, rich and fun golf experience, and I feel very fortunate that Carleton has allowed us to build that here and that we've been able to attract players like Laura, Traci and others that have flourished in this balanced setting.