After a season and school year that required some extra flexibility and fortitude, Megan Breidigan Sanchez (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone) found herself on yet another prestigious list, being selected to the Academic All-America Third Team.
The award is nominated and voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America, or CoSIDA for short, and recognizes the top academic and athletic talent across the nation. Only 33 women were selected to this year’s three Academic All-America teams.
Sanchez earns the honor after her senior season, one that caps off a career where she was a prominent figure on the pitch for the women’s soccer team and in the classroom, consistently on the dean’s list and earning a 4.0 GPA.
Sanchez has rounded out her time at EMU with a plethora of awards during her four-year stint, one that includes multiple ODAC All-Academic Awards, Academic All-District Awards, and the EMU President’s Award, EMU’s most prestigious award for a student-athlete.
“Firstly, I am beyond honored to be a member of the Academic All-America team,” Sanchez said on her selection. “Being selected to a group of just 33 scholar-athletes feels surreal. God has truly blessed me in my academic and athletic careers at EMU.”
Sanchez notes the help of her support system throughout her time at EMU.
“There are so many people who have supported me in my collegiate athletics career,” she states. “Specifically, I want to thank my parents and sisters, coaches Ted Erickson and Sheldon Rice, my amazing teammates, and most of all, my husband, John.”
While excelling in the classroom, she was also a consistent force on the pitch for the Royals as a defender, starting in 54 of her 55 games during her four-year career and attributing to 19 total shutouts. Head coach Ted Erickson considers how Sanchez’s competitive nature on the field helped her academically.
“Megan came to EMU ready to compete on the field and always pushed herself and her teammates to be physically ready,” Erickson said. “I quickly learned in Megan’s first two years here at EMU, that she was just as competitive off the field with her academics.”
During her senior season, Sanchez had different challenges to face. With the women’s soccer season moving to the spring and having to handle various aspects to finish out her degree, she had to move to a somewhat different beat to finish out her time at EMU and earn this accolade.
“It is even more meaningful to earn this accomplishment after such an unparalleled year,” she said. “From online student teaching to a shortened soccer season, the pandemic impacted the entirety of my senior year of college. Juggling my school work, soccer, the post-college job search, and planning my wedding made my final year of college the most challenging year yet.”
Sanchez finished out her time with EMU in the same fashion as years past, earning this honor to enhance that success. Coach Erickson notes the consistency of Sanchez’s success in the classroom and how it will further impact his program.
“This honor for Megan is again a tribute to her endless dedication to her academic success,” Erickson said. “In one of our early end-of-season one-on-one meetings, I complimented Megan on a successful semester and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Megan quickly let me know that she planned to keep that 4.0 for every semester. True to her word, Megan did keep a 4.0 GPA for all four years, was awarded the Teacher of Promise Award, and landed a teaching job for this coming school year in Fairfax County. Megan will be missed but I am confident with the group we have, many more student-athletes will compete for this honor as well with Megan showing that it can be done.”