Friday, January 25, 2013

FGCU's Megan Van Etten Is On Par With SAAC

Megan Van Etten is looking forward to her FGCU women’s golf team being back on the course next week.

And why not? FGCU finished in the top half of three of the four tournaments in which it played in the fall, including a second-place finish in the 14-team field of the LPGA/Xavier Invitational and fourth in the 10-team field at the Courtyard Invitational. In each of those three events, the Eagles led or were in the top three after the first rounds.

“Our team did really well in the fall, and certainly we are looking for things to go nowhere but up in the spring. For us the key to being successful this spring is just to keep working hard and to not steer away from that focus. We have a solid ‘team,’ and if you look at our results there is not one standout, but everyone contributes.”

Along with contributing to the Eagles on the course, Van Etten is plugged in as a valuable member of FGCU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

“I joined SAAC because I feel that student-athletes should be more involved in what is going on, on campus and in the community,” said Van Etten. “We do a lot of community service, and I think my favorite has been working at the food bank. In doing those types of projects, the focus is on giving back, not about us.”

Van Etten also says that SAAC provides a valuable life lesson for student-athletes as they endure the ups and downs of competition. In doing for others and being involved in activities that are outside of yourself, she says, that often helps provide an important perspective on what is truly important.

“Being involved in SAAC is important for student-athletes because it helps to keep things in perspective, and many of the activities that we are involved with are very humbling,” says Van Etten. “It helps keeps us grounded in our own lives as well. If you go out and have a bad tournament or a bad game or whatever, it is easier to see that there are much more important things going on out there and helps you refocus.”

As SAAC representatives prepare to descend upon Ft. Myers for the January conference-wide SAAC meeting this weekend, Van Etten recalls how valuable the last such meeting was to her and her peers.

“I was very impressed with the last A-Sun SAAC meeting that I attended,” said Van Etten. “It was good to see what other schools are doing on their campuses and in their communities. I definitely saw some ideas that we can implement to get more student-athletes involved.

“I think student-athletes bring a heightened level of dedication, focus and determination to whatever it is that we are doing. We are always out showing support for our other teams, as well as for our school and our community. I think that can serve as an example that if we can do that, then the entire student body can do that as well.”

Van Etten shot her low round of the fall (75) in the final round of the Courtyard Classic that helped the Eagles finish fourth. She finished 31st in the 59-member field in that event and posted a stroke average of 79.67 at the completion of the fall season.

“I feel good about my game going into the spring,” said Van Etten. “I worked a lot with my dad over the break, who has been my coach outside of FGCU, and we worked really hard. Coach is big on being strong mentally and that has translated into my being ready and confident as the season gets ready to begin.”

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