Last spring, the Palomar College softball team had an historic season that led to being runner-up in the state championship. This year, they received an honor that their coaches value even more: selection as a Scholar Team recognizing the academic achievements of the entire group.

The Palomar College softball team was one of 23 athletic programs recognized as a Scholar Team by the California Community College Athletic Association. With a teamwide 3.54 GPA average, the team was well above the required 3.0 team GPA to be considered for the award.

Team member India Caldwell, with a 3.78 GPA, was also honored as a Scholar-Athlete. All 23 of the California community college Scholar Teams will be recognized March 27 during the Association’s convention in Sacramento.

Softball coach Lacey Craft said the coaching staff emphasizes the importance of academics to Palomar College athletes.

“We really take pride in the philosophy and belief that we can have student-athletes at Palomar who are great ball players and great students and have a great character all around,” she said. “The award was proof that we could be one of the top teams in the state of California out on the field, but we’re also one of the top teams in the classroom as well.”

The 18-member team in spring 2023 included five All-Americans and had a 43-3 overall record. The team made it to the state championship, losing to Cypress College.

Craft said the softball players and other athletes receive extensive support to keep up their grades. With 40 games in a season, more than any other sport in the state, softball players must learn time management and working with their professors to keep up with their studies. Two counselors work with athletes, and softball players must participate in a regular study hall.

All of the 11 sophomores on the team completed their degrees and transferred to four-year universities, including UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, and San Diego State University.

“We really emphasize that softball doesn’t last forever,” Craft said. “Your degree is going to be what has the long-lasting impact.”

“When I see our student athletes honored at this level for their commitment in reaching their goals both athletically and academically, it feels incredible.  Palomar College is dedicated to the success of our students and this award exemplifies our commitment,” said Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey, Superintendent/President of Palomar College.