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Faith Casola and Tyler Smerz take home Student-Athlete of the Month for October

November 1, 2019

By: Garrett Osterode and Taylor Browne/GCU Staff

New to campus, but already household names.

Faith Casola of GCU Women’s Ice Hockey and Tylerh Smerz ofh GCU Club Golf are the GCU Club Sports October Student-Athletes of the Month for their impact in the classroom and as a part of their respective club sports. Both students are new to GCU and have each found ways to stand out among the rest. 

Faith Casola: Women’s Ice Hockey

You don’t need to be a returner to leave an impact.

Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey freshman forward Faith Casola has already left a big impression on her team, having this being her first year skating onto the GCU ice. Casola’s impact is not only noticed by coaches, but also her teammates.

“The role Faith plays on the ice is important because her determination and optimism is contagious and uplifts our team,” says Lopes Junior Tuesday Chavez. “Faith is easy to get along with because she is a genuine and elated person. Our team is drawn to her good character.”

Casola has not only has been recognized for her positive character, but her skill on the ice.

“Faith has impacted the team by proving her skill and talent as a freshman,” said Chavez. “Faith puts the puck in the back of the net, which has helped us put points on the board and compete with competitive teams.”

Casola leads the Lopes with four goals on the season. She also has one assist for a total of five points, tied for second on the team.

Off the ice and into the classroom, Faith is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in finance while maintaining a 3.7 GPA.

While her GCU career is just beginning, Casola is motivated to continue making the most of her years at GCU.

“My coaches and everyone on my team at GCU is always so positively uplifting,” said Casola. “It motivates me to work as hard as I can – not only for them but for myself.”

Tyler Smerz: Club Golf

Lopes’ freshman men’s golfer Tyler Smerz has been a student at GCU for less than four months, and is already making a name for himself.

Hailing from Las Vegas, Smerz has participated in just two tournaments for the GCU Club Golf ‘A’ team, finishing sixth on the team with a pedestrian 166 back at the National Collegiate Club Golf Association’s Desert Regional 1 in September, but taking home the individual title in the Desert Regional 2 two weeks ago – four strokes ahead of the field with a 143 (-1).

Tyler’s confidence has been the key to his success, and has helped him on the big stage – even early in his career.

“I believed I was the best out there, plain and simple,” Smerz said.  “I had that stone-cold, killer mentality that led me to win by four shots.”

Despite the Lopes falling short in winning the Desert Regional title for the first time in over three semesters, Smerz not only took home the individual title, but also took home NCCGA National Golfer of the Week honors for his performance. 

Having had a club in his hand since the age of 7, Smerz is no stranger to competitive golf, and GCU was one place he kept his eye on ever since he visited campus last year.

“I chose GCU because I love the golf opportunities it presents,” said Smerz. “I really like Arizona and the campus is beautiful.”

What comes next for Smerz and the Lopes? Nationals. GCU will head to Thackerville, Oklahoma to participate in the NCCGA National Championships in mid-November in the hopes of bettering their seventh-place finish from a year ago.

“I can’t wait for nationals in Oklahoma, and I know the team is looking forward to it as well,” said Smerz. “We believe we will come out on top as a team, and I believe I will come out on top as an individual.”