Classes, practices, games and social lives.
Add exams to that list during four o’clocks period.
Lehigh’s rigorous academics and Division I programs keep student athletes busy, but many Mountain Hawks have proved they can balance both responsibilities.
The women’s basketball team has consistently ranked in the top 25 nationally among Division I basketball programs for team GPA over the last 10 years. This past semester, the team posted a 3.43 team GPA and landed six members on the dean’s list. Last year, the team had a GPA of 3.61.
Sophomore guard Hannah Hedstrom has proved to be a standout athlete and student. She’s majoring in biology and health, medicine and society and has accumulated a 3.93 GPA.
Hailing from Minnetonka, Minnesota, Hedstrom learned the importance of academic success at a young age.
“My mom is a teacher, and my dad is an administrator,” she said. “I never felt pressured to achieve because it has just always been a part of my upbringing.”
Hedstrom was named a national AP scholar in high school and graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Minnetonka High School.
As a consistent contributor to the women’s basketball team, Hedstrom is also part of a culture of high-achieving students.
Coach Sue Troyan expects both athletic and academic success from her team and has made it a point to focus on academics during the recruiting process.
“When we recruit, we make sure that they know they’re coming into a high-achieving program,” Troyan said. “The freshmen know right away that they have to keep up the high success because they are surrounded by high achievers.”
The three expectations for the basketball players are that they attend every class, sit in the front row and maintain 3.2 GPAs throughout the school year.
Troyan said the program also requires first-year athletes to attend mandatory study halls but has high rates of students who come to study voluntarily.
“We have had a consistent culture since I arrived at Lehigh,” Troyan said.
Bringing in more than 625 athletes to the university, athletics director Joe Sterrett said the Mountain Hawks have maintained a consistently high level of academic success throughout his 29 years at Lehigh.
“Last semester was our best aggregate GPA year for the entire athletics department,” Sterrett said. “We always try to raise the bar, like in anything in life. Our athletes are a group of compelled people who always strive for the best.”
The athletics department helps make its athletes’ academic success possible by providing several resources, including a full-time staff and graduate assistants that help athletes with their courses.
The student athletes also play an important role in each other’s success.
“As student athletes, we want everyone to do well,” Hedstrom said. “We are very supportive of each other and want to hold each other to a high standard.”
Lehigh’s fall athletes found similar success in the classroom.
The women’s soccer team set a new school record last semester, placing 23 members on the Patriot League academic honor roll.
Seniors Amanda Stratton, Lexi Chang and Grace Correll were all named to the list for the fourth season in a row.
Members of men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, volleyball and football also earned places on the league honor roll during the fall 2017 semester.