Superior, Wis. - Gustavus Adolphus sophomore women’s hockey player Carolyn Draayer (Deephaven, Minn.) is the recipient of the Elite 89 award for the 2013 NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Championship. Draayer, majoring in communication studies, currently carries a 3.972 cumulative grade point average. She was presented with the award during the 2013 NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship Banquet held on Thursday night in Superior.
The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.
“I just try to work hard,” said a humble and still smitten Carolyn Draayer following tonight’s banquet. “It’s a tremendous honor to earn such a prestigious award and be the fourth in a line of three former Gusties to win it. I have to thank all my professors at Gustavus because they’ve given me so much support over the past two years.”
Talking about Draayer’s prowess in the classroom, Pamela Conners, Draayer’s academic advisor in the communication studies department, remarked, “Carolyn is an insightful and conscientious student. She demonstrates a genuine passion for learning and a desire to challenge herself. This award aptly recognizes and honors her well-earned academic success.”
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
Whether it’s her competitiveness on the ice that fuels her work in the classroom, or the other way around, Draayer has proven to be a standout in the both the arenas of athletics and academics. It comes as no surprise that the winner of the Elite 89 award demonstrates a strong work ethic and superior multitasking skills.
“Knowing the drive and determination she brings to the classroom, it’s no surprise that she’s such a fierce competitor on the ice,” continued Conners on the parallel between Draayer’s coursework prowess in both arenas. “What’s so impressive is how well she balances her academic and athletic pursuits, bringing the same level of intensity to both.
In the communication studies department at Gustavus, students study the social, political, and cultural functions of communication in diverse environments ranging from interpersonal and public settings to mediated and global contexts. Communication Studies course offerings reflect an emphasis on theory, research, and practice. Students learn the theories and principles of communication as they sharpen their communication and critical thinking skills in the collection, evaluation, synthesis, and presentation of information. Draayer put her communication studies skills on display earlier this year with the creation of the Be The Difference video series that was released on the Gustavus Athletics Youtube account at the end of January.
The sophomore Deephaven, Minn. native ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 20 points off 13 goals and seven assists. She heads into tomorrow’s NCAA Semifinal game against Elmira ranked sixth in nation in game-winning goals with six.
Now in its fourth year of existence, Gustavus has claimed the Elite 89 Award at all four NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Championship sites. Draayer follows in the footsteps of past Gustie winners Nara Higano (2010), Sarah Yungner (2011), and Marah Sobczak (2012).
For more information on the Elite 89 award winners, log on to NCAA.com/elite89.