This past weekend at the Midwest Conference Softball Championship hosted at Lake Forest College, sophomore shortstop, Kat Beall, was awarded the MWC Elite 20 Award. The MWC Elite 20 Award recognizes the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA in the conference for their respective sport. Recently, we were able to sit down with Kat and ask her a few questions about this incredible honor:
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: To me, this award acknowledges the work I put in on and off of the field. Education is everything, and although the opportunity to play softball is a big part of my college experience, this award reinforces why I am at school. The award also inspires me to continue with my grades in order to hopefully win the Elite 20 Award again next year. I know there are so many great students on the softball team, so it is an honor to be recognized as one of the top students. Coach Kinsella always preaches #smartsoftball, and I hope the Elite 20 Award is an example of this.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the challenges you face with balancing both athletics and academics and how you overcome these challenges?
A: The biggest challenge is at the end of the year when I am studying for finals and on a bus for six hours while preparing for games. The team aspect of the sport helps you overcome it because everyone is going through the same struggle and everyone helps each other study and stay focused. It is especially helpful when teammates are in the same class, and then we can study in the bus, hotel, etc. It is also hard to miss class all the time, for example there is one class I missed for two consecutive weeks. This is overcome through asking other classmates for notes.
Q: How does playing a sport help you maintain focus on your studies?
A: At Lake Forest College, athletes are not expected to simply be athletes. Instead, the school pushes athletes to be leaders on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. This motivates me to keep up with my work in the classroom.
Q: What are you currently studying and what do you plan on doing with this degree after graduation? What has been your favorite class?
A: Currently, I am a math and finance double major. After graduation I plan on furthering my education in hospital administration with hopes to one day become the CFO of a hospital. My favorite class was Calculus I with Professor Richardson. I loved the class, and it was Professor Richardson who really inspired me to continue my education in mathematics.
Q: What are you looking forward to most this weekend?
A: I am looking forward to spending time with the team because the energy we bring on and off the field is special. Also, this is the final run for our current seniors, and any additional time spent with them is valuable. As a team, we are also looking forward winning and advancing into the super regionals.
Q: Can you describe any rituals the team takes part in to prepare for games?
A: During warmups, we always take five rounds of grounders. Then, after warmups while we are still on the field, we remind ourselves that although the games can be high pressure, softball is just a game. A few players will generally say something inspirational to lighten the mood and relax the others.
Q: Who is the most influential person in your life?
A: My grandmother is the most influential person in my life. When I was little, we were an inseparable duo, and my mom would have to beg me to return home. She always pushed me to go further in everything, especially education, which has allowed me to exceed my expectations. She encouraged me not to take life too seriously and to have fun with everything.