By Chelsea Underwood |Staff Writer|
CSUSB golfer Todd Sakamoto was named to the Capital One® Academic All-District VIII at-large team by the members of College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The Capital One® Academic All-District VIII at-large team recognizes college athletes for their performances in school and in the sport they participate in.
The athlete must meet certain criteria before being nominated: He or she must obtain a 3.30 grade point average, be a starter or an important reserve, complete a full calender year at their institution, have sophomore athletic eligibility and had to have participated in at least 50 percent of the games.
Sakamoto, a senior in athletic eligibility and a junior academically, was able to be nominated for meeting these criteria.
As a student athlete he managed to juggle playing golf, going to school and working a side job at a local golf course while obtaining a 3.67 GPA.
He knows that golf takes valuable time and focus away from school due to traveling Sunday through Tuesday in order to attend tournaments but that doesn’t stop him from exceeding in the classroom.
“The biggest thing is time management,” said Sakamoto. “It’s tough because we miss so much class.” Sakamoto made sure to stay in tempo with his classes and tried to stay on top of his assignments. His efforts show not only in school but also when he steps on the links.
Sakamoto was introduced to the game of golf by his dad and has played the game since he was eight years old. He played at Fresno City College after high school for two years and then later transferred to CSUSB as a junior. The transition from a city college to a university was a big change because the competition is greater and the greens are tougher, according to Sakamoto.
Golf head coach Tom Mainez Jr. was helpful in improving his game and providing guidance on course management. “A lot of the courses you got to hit it in the right spot,” said Sakamoto. “[Coach Mainez] has gone to these courses and seen them before.”
Sakamoto understands that in order to have a good game it is important to read the course but also to follow the keys he has set up for himself.
According to Sakamoto, the keys to hitting a good game consist of staying focused on the game, have striking strength when hitting off the tee and making putts.
“Playing here I really realized you have to focus for every single shot,” said Sakamoto. Coach Mainez has noticed the improvement in his game and mental attitude, but there is one area of improvement that Mainez has really been impressed by.
“He has stepped up as a leader,” said Mainez. “Outside of the golf course he kind of developed a practice routine that we do. He was always making sure they did their proper sequence of things.”
Sakamoto is honored to be named into the Capital One® Academic All-District VIII at-large team. He can certainly be considered a role model for student athletes here on campus.
The nominated athletes in the Capital One® Academic All-District VIII at-large team will be announced on June 6.