(WBNG Binghamton) One of the leaders of this year's Binghamton University softball team excels not only on the field, but in the classroom as well.
Senior Stephanie DeLuca was honored for her hard work by earning the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.
In this week's Action Sports spotlight, we look at how she's managed to balance softball and her studies, and why she's a role model for the younger players.
Stephanie DeLuca is a 3 year starter for the Binghamton University women's softball team.
But if you ask her, softball isn't the most important thing on her plate.
It's her grades.
"My parents and I discussed when I came to college that if my studies were hurt from softball that would play a role because that's the most important for my future is my academics and if it was going to hurt my academics I'd have to make a decision," says DeLuca
The senior biology major was awarded with the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.
It recognizes SUNY students who combine academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, including athletics.
The minimum GPA required for consideration is a 3.25.
DeLuca is one of 260 students out of over 500-thousand to win the award.
"I was just speechless. I didn't know what to say and how to react to it. It didn't seem real but it was a very humbling and gratifying experience to receive this award," she says.
Outside of the classroom, DeLuca has been a great role model for her softball teammates.
"Her work ethic day in and day out she's always brains, when she comes to practice she's always focused and that's what we ask out of them to give us the good, whether we're having an hour practice or two hour practice. She comes, she's focused and she leads by example," says softball coach Michelle Burrell.
And what an example she's setting.
This year, she's hitting .320 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI.