University of Hawai‘i soccer player Mari Punzal was named to the Western Athletic Conference’s All-Academic Freshmen and Transfer team, WAC officials announced yesterday.
The 18-year-old Kamehameha School graduate, of Kapa‘a, was the sole UH athlete from Kaua‘i and sole soccer player to receive the honor.
“I’m glad that I have more than just sports (to show for myself),” Punzal said.
Punzal said that her first year at Hawai‘i was fun and that it wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be. For that she credited her Kamehameha education.
“My grades were as good at Kamehameha, so this year I wanted to focus on my grades more,” she said.
To be named to the academic teams, athletes must have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average and have participated in at least half of all the team’s games.
Punzal’s GPA is 3.5 and she was a key player in Hawai‘i’s WAC championship win.
She received WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors last September for leading the Wahine to a 4-0 season-opening win over nationally ranked Kansas in the OHANA Hotels and Resorts No Ka ‘Oi Tournament.
There, she scored her goal and registered an assist in her first-ever collegiate start.
She also traveled with the team as it went to Boulder, Colo., for its first appearance in the NCAA Soccer Championships.
Punzal signed to play soccer for Hawai‘i in February 2007.
Overall, 45 UH students were honored.