Joliet Catholic Academy alum wins academic award at SIU-E
While most athletes are proudest of their accomplishments on the playing field, one Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville volleyball player is proud her work in the classroom has been honored.
"Winning an OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) Academic Medal of Honor means that all of my hard work and dedication has paid off," Mallory Mangun told the Will County Gazette. "I was taught to work hard in everything I do so that I wouldn't have any regrets. It feels wonderful to be acknowledged for both my efforts on the court and in the classroom."
The OVC Academic Medal of Honor is presented to students at member schools who achieve the highest GPA in sports the conference sponsors. All the winners from 2015 carried a perfect 4.0 GPA. Student athletes in the OVC who carry at least a 3.25 GPA are named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll. Two-hundred and forty-five OVC student-athletes won the Medal of Honor, while 1,335 were named to the Honor Roll. Both are conference records.
Mangun has been successful in both academics and athletics for some time. During her prep career at Joliet Catholic Academy, she reached fifth on the school's all-time assists list. She was an Honorable Mention All-State selection in 2012, as well as All-Area selection. Mangun was named PrepVolleyball.com's top player going into her senior season, following being named to the "All-America team" at the 2011 USA Junior National Tournament in Atlanta. She was part of the 2012 Mizuno Cup All-Tournament team, and part of the ESCC All-Conference team the same year.
While accomplishing all that athletically, she also was on the A-Honor Roll, a member of National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (a mathematics honor society).
Mangun said that her parents are the ones that helped her learn to balance academics and athletics. "All of my life, my parents have never let me make up an excuse for not getting my school work done," she said. "As a result I learned early on that if I wanted to play the sports I loved, I would have to manage my time well. Going from class, to practice, and home to do homework was often a challenge. It required a lot of planning and scheduling and it wasn't always easy. It often meant skipping social events. I feel that many people here at school have helped make my success in the classroom possible."
She also said she feels that athletes should strive to do well in class to be a good example. "I feel it is important for college athletes to maintain good academics because they are role models and leaders on campus and beyond," she said. "Their actions are watched and mimicked by others. Athletes must think about the future and remember that one day they will walk off the court or field and into the working world. Employers are looking for students with good grades and not just good stats."
Mangun was one of 19 SIU-E student athletes to win the OVC Academic Medal of Honor. SIU-E boasts the top NCAA student-athlete graduation rate in the state of Illinois, and the seventh-highest in the nation.