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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA men’s diver Sheedy wins prestigious award

    For the first time ever, the Arizona Wildcats have material proof that their athletes are more than just athletes – they’re student athletes.

    Arizona men’s diver Craig Sheedy, along with USC’s women’s soccer player Ann Massey, won the NCAA’s Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship yesterday after being chosen from a group of six finalists.

    “”I thought it was a tremendous honor,”” Sheedy said. “”I was really excited that I was the first finalist from the University of Arizona.

    “”That was a huge honor for me to bring that back to my school and the athletic department here,”” he added. “”It was really great to show (people in the athletic department) how they helped me along the way.””

    The honor is the most prestigious academic award the NCAA hands out and also the largest sum of money the NCAA grants to postgraduates, said UA head diving coach Dr. Michele Mitchell.

    “”It’s just a gigantic tribute to a guy who is deserving of every way based on the criteria of that award,”” Mitchell said. “”We could not be prouder, and he just exemplifies everything that any parent would want their child to be and it’s nice to be recognized for that.””

    Sheedy – a senior who is expected to graduate in May – earned the Byers Scholarship of $24,000 after his near completion of a double major in biochemistry and molecular biophysics and physiology that he’s earning with a flawless 4.0 GPA.

    He has also been involved in the community, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club and in a pediatrics unit at the Tucson Medical Center, and he does this not for that golden star on his resume but for the love he has in everything he does.

    “”He’s just one of those really rare people that is completely absorbed in the journey and not worried about the outcome,”” Mitchell said.

    Next school year, Sheedy will begin working on his doctorate of medicine at Vanderbilt University, hoping to work in pediatrics one day.

    But while the classwork he’s gone through has prepared him for a future career in medicine, Mitchell believes he’s taken away a big amount as an integral part of the diving team.

    “”When I first met him he was kind of a shy, very quiet guy,”” Mitchell said. “”I think he had self-confidence but I think diving and being part of the athletic program here at the university helped him with his self-confidence in terms of speaking in front of people, and being a part of a team and performing in front of people.””

    Sheedy agreed with his coach’s thoughts, adding that being a part of the swimming and diving team gave him the opportunity to travel across the country, meeting people and learning about their perspectives.

    “”I was pretty shy, I didn’t really like a lot of attention,”” Sheedy said. “”Certainly diving changed that. You learn how to handle the intense pressures because it’s an individual sport, you’re out there all by yourself.

    “”It helped me be a little more outgoing, especially with traveling and competitions,”” he added. “”You meet new people on a constant basis.””

    Behind that quiet exterior is a person who is driven to succeed in all aspects of his college life, whether that be on the springboard or in the laboratory.

    How many hours does a member of the diving team with a double major – not to mention a Spanish minor – a research job and several volunteering positions sleep? Surprisingly, more than most students.

    “”I probably got six to nine hours of sleep a night,”” Sheedy said. “”It’s trying to find a balance between everything.””

    During the summer, Sheedy will have a little more time to relax, but plans on continuing his research work and volunteering at the Tucson Medical Center after his upcoming graduation.

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