Junior golfer on par with academics, athletics

by Hunter Hillygus, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Balancing school and academics is expected of a Division III student-athlete, but some athletes go above and beyond the call of duty.

And that’s exactly what junior golfer Courtney Mabeus has done.

This summer Mabeus was named a Scholar All-American by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, along with approximately 800 other women’s golfers in divisions I, II and III. The criteria used to select Scholar All-American’s is fairly simple. Golfers must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.50 and participate in at least 12 varsity golf meets during the season.

“I was surprised,” Mabeus said. “I didn’t know about the award or anything, so it was cool. And it gives me good motivation to win it again next year.”

The habits Mabeus has picked that allow her to excel in the classroom have also carried over to her golf game as well, finishing last season with a team best 92.5 18-hole average, a four-stroke improvement from her freshman year, as well as a 19th-place finish at the Iowa Conference championship, good for first on the team.

“Hard work is big for me,” Mabeus said. “Academics don’t necessarily come easily to me. I have to study for tests, spend extra time on assignments, do extra notes for readings, so that’s something when I’m struggling with golf I’ve learned to work hard and push through it.”

With all that Mabeus has accomplished on and off the course and with no seniors on this year’s team, the junior from Mount Pleasant has been thrust into a leadership role sooner than expected, but that’s something she’s OK with.

“Growing up in high school, I’ve always had a senior leader who I really looked up to, and I still value her as a golfer and as a person. So that’s just made me want to be that leader for the girls younger than me,” Mabeus said.

Her leadership hasn’t gone unnoticed either.

Women’s head golf coach Larry Shoop has seen Courtney step up and lead this year’s team from the get-go.

“Courtney is a leader in the classroom and on the golf course,” Shoop said. “Her continued improvement in her play, leadership and outreach to team members is setting her apart from her peers. Especially noteworthy is the manner in which she has welcomed and been a mentor to our new freshmen.”

When it comes to her academic and athletic goals, Mabeus keeps it simple and modest.

“I just want to do well in my classes and learn new things that apply to my future career,” she said. “As for golf, we have a really good team this year, so my goal is to do well as a leader on the course but also push the team to do better in conference.”

Shoop has a bit of a different take, and in true coach form, he sees no limit on what Mabeus can accomplish in the classroom and on the links.

“Courtney has no limits on how successful she can be in golf and in the classroom,” Shoop said. “She is driven to excellence. While an A in the classroom is the desired result, on the golf course there is no limit to her success. She has accepted the fact that there is no perfect in golf, and this has liberated her and enabled her to be the best she can be. And that’s pretty darn good.”