Achieving a degree at a liberal arts college takes a lot of hard work, but imagine being dedicated to a sports team on top of that. Pacific’s Women softball team doesn’t seem to have a problem balancing the two.

“The first thing I look for when recruiting a player is their GPA,” said Head Coach Tim Hill.

“It is important to look closely at what my recruit wants to study and set them up for success,” said Hill. He also said it benefits the athlete if they have better grades because they receive a better financial aid package from the university.

According to Hill, he wants to make sure that Pacific will be a right fit his recruits, so it can benefit them and the university. Hill believes that it is not about the next four years, it’s about the next 40.

Having seven Academic All-Americans in the 2009-2010 season, five in the ’08-’09 and three in ’07-‘08, Hill is not the least bit worried that his players are struggling off the field, because academics come first.

“This past season we were ranked thirty first in academics with a cumulative 3.36 GPA, which was the highest in the Northwest Conference,” said Hill.

When asked about study halls, Hills said that he is not there to babysit his players, this is college and they are mature enough to get it done on their own time. If someone had a big paper or exam the next day, he would let them miss practice to go handle their acadenucs without penalty.

This season the softball team has three returning Academic All-Americans, Stephanie Vanoudenhaegen, Ashley Billingsly and K’rene Delplanche.

“Time management is big, but studying for me comes natural. I pressure myself enough to get the grades I am pleased with,” said Billingsly.

The players seem to have a good grasp of how they need to handle their business outside of softball and are there to help out teammates that need assistance.

“Having Academic All-Americans is a good spotlight for the team. We are all here to get our degrees and graduate, so we do what it takes,” said returning pitcher Chelsey Chamberlain.

Entering into his ninth season as head coach, Hill is happy with the core of girls they have on the team this upcoming season. Having eight freshmen coming in will make them a young team, but he believes they will be adding some good talent to the field.

“Our strategy is to recruit good students with good talent, that is what gives our program such success,” said Hill.

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