Lake Forest College softball player Shaye Gauthier received the Midwest Conference Elite 20 Award for the first time in her career at the MWC Tournament on Friday, May 3. Gauthier, a sophomore infielder and pitcher, follows former teammate Kat Beall ’18 who won the award the last three years.
Gauthier earned the honor by holding the highest cumulative grade point average of any player at the four-team tournament. In each of its 20 sports, the MWC recognizes the commitment of the student-athlete toward the pursuit of excellence in both the athletic and academic realms, as measured by reaching the pinnacle of competition within the league, while also achieving the highest academic standard among peers. Gauthier holds a 4.0 GPA with a challenging double major in finance and Spanish.
When asked how she handles the tough task of balancing athletics and academics, Gauthier noted time-management as the key component for achieving success. "There’s always enough time in the day to accomplish what needs to get done," she began. "It’s finding that time and ways to stay motivated that lead to success. It’s also important to remember there’s a purpose for everything that we do and for me, that is to become successful in the next part of my life," said Gauthier.
Gauthier also credits Professor Rob Lemke for her academic success, noting, "he always finds a way to push me to become the best student I can and to get to the next level of success. He’s very good at finding new opportunities to pursue and he supports students in all aspects."
Not only did Gauthier earn this prestigious award, but she also hit the walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of the championship game. Lake Forest posted a 5-4 victory over St. Norbert College and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Gauthier has been an integral part of the Foresters’ success on the field this season. She leads the team with a .375 batting average and 11 doubles while posting a .458 on-base percentage and .558 slugging percentage, racking up 39 hits, scoring 22 runs, and driving in 14. Gauthier has healped lead her team to a league mark of 14-4 and a second straaight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Lake Forest will travel to Central College to face the hosts in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament this Friday.
As Gauthier looks ahead to this weekend she plans to find a way to contribute to the team any way she can. “I am going to use the knowledge I have to make a decision, trust that decision, and swing.” She goes on to state, “I am a chronic over thinker so when I stop thinking, that’s when I have the most success.”
Gauthier is the second student-athlete at the College to earn the honor this academic year, joining women's basketball player Hannah O'Day.