By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Sarah Kurtz compiled a full resume as a student-athlete at Herndon (Virginia) High School, northwest of Washington, D.C.
She was a member of the National Honor Society, editor of the school newspaper, an academic excellence award-winner, and four-time member of the honor roll. She was a pretty proficient softball player as well.
Not much has changed for Kurtz during her time as a student-athlete at the University of Iowa. On the field, she has started 112 games from 2015-17; in the classroom, she has a 3.91 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) while majoring in sport and recreational management with a minor in education.
“We are set up to succeed in every way as student-athletes,” Kurtz said. “It is one of the things that inspired me to go into athletic administration, just how much they provide for us, like structured tutoring.
“They go above and beyond — administration is willing to hear our input and do things to make our experience better; we have everything we need to succeed in the classroom and on the field.”
Kurtz, who plays third base, will begin her final season with the Hawkeyes when the calendar flips to 2018. Upon graduation, she wants to attend graduate school with a goal of working in collegiate athletic administration.
“I enjoyed my experience as a student-athlete and want to give back that way,” Kurtz said. “I would love to stay around student-athletes to use my experience to help theirs.”
Kurtz is not an isolated example of a successful student-athlete at the University of Iowa. Student-athletes at the University of Iowa tied a school record and outperformed their peers nationally in the classroom, according to data released Nov. 8 by the NCAA.
According to the NCAA’s annual report on the academic successes across the country, student-athletes who entered the University of Iowa in the fall of 2010 graduated at a rate of 90 percent, when the rate was calculated using the criteria for the NCAA’s “Graduation Success Rate” or “GSR.” (To read the GSR release on hawkeyesports.com, click HERE).
Most athletic seasons at the Division I level can be long and demanding. Iowa played six softball games during its fall nontraditional season. The spring season extends from February to May. Some might be surprised to discover that during the competitive season is when the team GPA rises.
“When you are traveling, you pretty-much have nothing to do but a movie here or there,” Kurtz said. “You are studying. You have scheduled study breaks and when you are on the bus, a lot of times it is dedicated to getting your work done for the days you are missing; we stay more focused and our grades show it.”
Kurtz is competitive on the diamond and in the classroom. She credits that competitiveness for allowing her to be a three-year starter with such a lofty GPA.
“My work ethic was instilled in me growing up — give 100 percent whether it be on the field or in the classroom,” Kurtz said. “I am doing all I can to get ahead and it is important to developing as an all-around person.”
Kurtz takes pride in being a representative of the University of Iowa and its athletic department. She gleams over relationships she has forged with professors and classmates.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Kurtz said. “My experience at Iowa has prepared me more than I could imagine. The people are amazing and I have been able to get experiences outside the classroom. I know I would not be this prepared if I had gone somewhere else.”