This week is NCAA Division III Week and member institutions across the country are celebrating the fifth-year event.
Division III Week, which runs from Monday through Sunday, is intended to recognize the academic and athletic accomplishments as well as the campus leadership and community service efforts of Division III student-athletes.
As part of Huntingdon College's participation in Division III Week, six student-athletes will be featured this week. Huntingdon senior Fabien Gutierrez is today's featured student-athlete.
By Chuck Tidmore
Sports Information Assistant
Name: Fabien Gutierrez
Hometown: Oceanside, Calif.
Major: Exercise Science
Career Goals: Plans on going to graduate school to become a physical therapist
Sport: Men's Lacrosse
Athletic Accomplishments: Gutierrez has appeared in 64 games in four seasons. He has set the Huntingdon single-game record with 27 saves, single-season record with 190 saves and has a record 581 career saves. He has 143 saves this season and 26 ground balls.
What made you feel like Huntingdon was the right place for you? "I like how the school is smaller. It's a community here and you get to know everyone on a personal level. I had planned to play junior college for my first two year years of college but I got impatient and decided to look for schools to play at. Coach Andrew Carey was relentless trying to get me here and he was one of the only coaches that gave me a legitimate shot at college lacrosse, so I took it and it ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made."
What has made your Huntingdon experience unique? "Being from Southern California, I didn't know what to think about coming to the Deep South. It's a completely different culture than what I am used to. It's been fun meeting people from this area and seeing how they were brought up compared to me. Meshing with people I thought I'd never meet has been unique."
How has Huntingdon challenged you academically and athletically? "I knew college was going to be difficult from the get-go. I feel that playing a sport, there's some pressure because you have to be accountable for yourself. You're not just representing yourself; you're representing your coach and your school. Not wanting to disappoint those people is what has pushed me to be better in the classroom and on the field."
What has been your biggest highlight as a Huntingdon student-athlete? "I would have to say my sophomore year. It was the first winning record for the lacrosse team and we had some big wins that season. The makeup of the team was awesome because we had two older guys, and the rest of the team was fairly young, so everyone had to step up. The freshmen and sophomores were asked to do a lot, and everyone played for each other, so that's what made it special."
As a student-athlete, what is your impression of Division III now compared to your first season? "I never gave Division III athletics a thought growing up. In high school, all you see on television is Division I sports and recruiting, and I had friends that went Division I, but they ended up leaving because it wasn't the right fit. Division III lets you focus on athletics and getting better at your sport, but it also lets you really focus on what is important, and that's academics. Athletically, there's a lot of talent and it's a different atmosphere."