University Park, IL,
14:01 PM

Two Jaguars Honored as Student-Athletes

Two members of the women’s volleyball team at Governors State University (GSU) have been honored for their coursework as well as for their participation in athletics.

Savik Salgado, a senior majoring in Social Work who plays as a setter, and Hayley Wacker, a senior Chemistry major who is an outside hitter, have been named NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athletes for the 2016 season. NAIA is the National Association of Collegiate Athletics, which oversees intercollegiate competition for 65,000 students at more than 250 colleges and universities. While Salgado and Wacker are GSU’s first-ever selections for volleyball, they join women’s basketball player Kanitral Averhart, a 2015 selection, as GSU’s student-athlete honorees.

The award recognizes student-athletes who are juniors or above in academic standing and have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or higher. They also must have attended two full years at their respective institution or a full year as a transfer.

“It’s a great honor for Savik and Hayley to be honored for their work in the classroom,” said GSU Head Coach Pedro Gonzalez. “We’re proud of the commitment they have made to their academics and the contributions they brought to our program.”

As Salgado makes clear, being a successful student-athlete is a challenge that calls for dedication and teamwork, on the court and off, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.

“I was very surprised but extremely proud that Hayley and I were both honored as GSU’s first Women’s Volleyball NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athletes,” she said. “It was difficult to balance practices, games, schoolwork, and the completion of my internship hours, but it was done. Yes, as my teammates may also agree, it was hard to balance all of that but if it wasn’t for them and the amazing support system I have, I am not sure what I would have done. It feels great when someone notices how hard you work to be able to succeed. I hope this helps other student-athletes to know that, yes, you will struggle, stress out, and maybe even become a zombie, but you will push through and thrive. Don’t sweat it—too much. Your personal life will never go away, it’s just paused while you’re preparing for your future and playing the sport of your life.”

Both Salgado and Wacker expect to graduate this spring, both are considering returning to GSU for post-graduate studies, and Salgado—who has one year of eligibility remaining—is even considering playing another season of volleyball. After that? Watch out, world. These are two women who know how to get things done and thrive on competition.

With thanks to Dan Jankowski, GSU Sports Information Director.