Sara DeSmet named ‘All-Academic with Distinction’

Sara DeSmet is one of five student-athletes from SMSU to have earned the distinguished Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award, it was recently announced.

DeSmet, a 2015 Minneota graduate, is the daughter of Dave and Monica DeSmet of Minneota. The award, now in its 10th year, is presented to senior student-athletes who have amassed a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.75 or higher, and are on track to graduate.

“The Myles Brand award sets the bar high for student-athletes in the NSIC, which makes receiving this award that much more of an honor,” said DeSmet.

“But honestly, I’ve tried to keep my focus off the (GPA) number while I’ve been at SMSU. At the end of the day, it’s a number that I worked extremely hard for, but it’s not everything to me.”

A record total of 156 student-athletes from the 16 institutions of the NSIC earned the Myles Brand award. Each of the student-athletes will be recognized by the NSIC with a certificate of achievement, as well as a new wristwatch.

DeSmet is majoring in Communications Arts and Secondary Education. She is set to earn NSIC All-Academic honors for the third straight year.

DeSmet has her sights set on becoming a middle and high school English teacher after graduating from SMSU. “I’m not sure where in the state of Minnesota I’ll end up,” she said. “But I’m excited to start this new adventure. I’d also love to stay involved with softball and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in any way possible.”

DeSmet was informed that she earned the Myles Brand award from graduate assistant softball coach Jordin Novak last Friday (Jan. 18). "I had no idea what she was talking about at first,” admitted DeSmet. “But then I received a couple of texts and notifications on social media about the (SMSU press release).”

DeSmet is a softball player for the Mustangs. She begins her senior season having played in 79 games; the first two seasons mainly as a pinch-runner and a reserve catcher. She switched to the outfield last year and started 42 of the Mustangs’ 44 games.

Five of her 20 hits last season went for extra bases. The Mustangs were 18-26 last season. “Last year was a huge year for me as a player on this team,” DeSmet told.

“And I attribute a great deal of that transition to the trust my teammates and, ultimately, my coaching staff had in me.”

“In the fall, I was offered the opportunity to make a position switch to the outfield, so with the help of my teammates and coaches, I was able to successfully transition and help my team in a different role than I had in years past. This year, I am also fully in the outfield, and I love every part of it. I’m looking forward to what this season will bring.”

SMSU recently began full-season softball practices.

“We pretty much practice year round with our non-championship fall season and our winter off-season,” DeSmet explained. “But we officially started our in-season practices Jan. 14. It feels good to be back as a full team.”

SMSU’s first games are on Feb. 12 at the West St. Paul Dome against Moorhead State. Besides DeSmet, other SMSU student-athletes earning the Myles Brand All-Academic honor is football player Jon Dicke, an Exercise Science major from Rochester; baseball player Jayden Fleck, an Accounting and Finance Major from Hutchinson; soccer player Macy Violett, an Exercise Science major from Prior Lake; and softball player Athena Golling, a Hospitality Management major from Antioch, CA.

“I am filled with pride on how our student-athletes in the NSIC continue to excel in the classroom, in the community and on the playing field,” said NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind.

“We continue to increase the number of student-athletes that have earned the Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award, which is a testament to the dedication of the student-athletes, coaches and administrators in our league.”

Dr. Myles Brand, who died of cancer in 2009 at age 67, was a visionary leader, educator and reformer, served as the President of the National Collegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA) from 2003-2009. Dr. Brand changed the national dialogue on college sports to emphasize the educational value of athletic participation and the integration of intercollegiate athletics with the academic mission of higher education.

“Receiving this award means a lot to me, and I feel extremely blessed,” DeSmet said.

“There are few aspects of school that come naturally to me, so I had to take those extra steps to get where I’ve always dreamed of being at the end of my time at SMSU.”

But DeSmet deflects a lot of her achievement to the assistance of others. “I’m grateful for the journey that academics has been for me, but I could not have stayed as focused as I did was it not for the support of my family who has always encouraged and never pressured me in school,” she said.

“And my teammates and coaches who have shown me that I could lead through this type of example and has always pushed me to be my best. And the countless professors, librarians, and other staff members at SMSU who had been beyond supportive."

“Ultimately, this award just continues to prove that there are few tasks that are unattainable when you have people in our corner to support you every step of the way.”

Sara DeSmet

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