Two years ago, Western Maryland College softball coach George Dix named then-sophomore Claudia Henemyre as a Green Terror co-captain because of the Havre de Grace resident's athletic and academic abilities.
"She's a dedicated player," Dix said. "I knew she would serve as a strong representative for incoming players. That's why I named her to the post. It's usually given to juniors or seniors."
Dix's reasoning gives some insight into why Henemyre, a junior biology major, has been named to the GTE Academic All-America college division softball first team. Joining her on the prestigious team is Bel Air resident Kathy Mohr, who just graduated from Towson State University.
"It certainly makes the team and Towson proud of the student-athlete," said the Tigers' Elayne Lucas, who coached Mohr during her four years at Towson. "It impresses people who want to join an athletic program."
For Mohr, a speech pathology major with a 3.43 grade-point average, the GTE All-American designation comes for the second year in a row. She is the first Towson State student-athlete to earn first team Academic All-America honors in consecutive years.
Bythe way, her sister, Kerrin, a former Tigers pitcher, was named to the GTE squad two years ago.
Mohr, who finished her collegiate career with a .332 batting average, said, "I think it's really tough to play a sport and do well in school. You have to practice every day andthat takes up a lot of study time."
Her selection surprised Mohr because the Tigers ended the season 15-15, finishing fourth in the East Coast Conference.
"We usually do much better than that," the 21-year-old said.
Mohr, also honored as the ECC Scholar-Athlete, batted .342 as a senior, fifth in the conference. As a pitcher, the C. Milton Wright graduate posted a 10-7 record with a 1.18 earned run average that was second in the ECC.
"She can do it all," Lucas said. "She has a strong overhand throw. She can run. She can play outfield,infield and obviously can pitch and hit the ball. She's just an all-around good athlete."
Mohr plans to pursue a master's degree in audiology at Towson in the fall.
Henemyre, who has a 3.87 cumulativegrade-point average, is Western Maryland's first Academic All-America first team selection since 1986.
"I was surprised," said Henemyre, 21. "The season went by so fast. We beat everyone in our conference and had one of our best seasons ever. This just adds to it."
Henemyre also earned a spot on the GTE Academic All-America College Division District II at-large team for her soccer prowess.
On the softball diamond, Henemyre hit .327 with 17 hits in 52 at-bats -- with 12runs batted in, 10 runs scored, one double, one
triple and one home run.
Henemyre was the third-team catcher on last year's CollegeDivision Academic All-America team, and also earned Middle Atlantic Conference Academic Honor Roll recognition four times.
"She's a hard-nosed competitor," Dix said. "Her desire to win is contagious."
Dix said her competitiveness and athletic ability is demonstrated bythe improvement in her batting average. The Havre de Grace High School graduate batted .237 her sophomore year.
Henemyre is a dean's list student, a member of the Western Maryland Honors Program, and a cadet in the College's Army Reserve Officers Training Corps. She also has been inducted into Beta Beta Beta, the national biology honor society, and Omicron Delta Kappa, a national society recognizing leadership qualities.
Both Dix and Lucas said the GTE recognition should do a lot to dispel myths about the "dumb jock."
"A lot of people think these girls are just jocks and nothing else," Lucas said. "It's just the opposite. I haven't had any trouble with anyone on my team struggling to pass. I usually have six or seven girls receiving academic honors."
Added Dix, "Five of my 14 girls made the dean's list last semester. It just shows you what these girls can do. It's not allsports for them."