The term student-athlete is often overused to describe a participant in an organized collegiate sport, but Claire Fergusson of Black Hills State University is a true example of a student-athlete.
Fergusson is a four-time all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Academic performer. She is a two-time BHSU Academic honoree and has made the Dean's List all eight of her semesters at BHSU.
She will graduate in May with a GPA of 3.87 in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry and minor in biology.
After graduation, Fergusson has accepted a job at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She is a research scientist, studying negative bacteria (E Coli), to find a new compound in an attempt to find out what causes bacterial infections.
On the athletic side of the ledger, Fergusson is a four-year member of the Lady Yellow Jackets women's softball team. She is in the top 10 all-time in her BHSU career in five categories -- stolen bases, at-bats, hits, runs and total bases.
She started out her playing career at BHSU at second base and has spent the majority of time the last three seasons in left field.
"Her character," said BHSU manager Lane Leedy in describing Fergusson's strong point. "She is a great teammate and always gives 110 percent. Stealing bases is an asset. Claire has become a better player every game.
"I can trust her with any recruit or parent. She's done so many great things. I have so many kids who want to be a scientist like Claire,” Leedy added.
"She does an amazing job on the Leadership Council. We have six pod leaders. Claire is one of the leaders. She has three underclassmen in her pod and checks on them whether it be academically or socially,” Leedy said.
Fergusson graduated from Windermere Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia. She played five years in volleyball, four years in basketball and was also a member of club soccer and softball teams.
"On my visit to BHSU, I liked the area," said Fergusson. "I liked the players on the team.
"I like softball because it is a mental game. The team that is on as a team will come out with the win. As the only senior on the squad, my role is to bring leadership to the young team. I work with the new players on the team,” she said.
"I knew that I'd be part of building a program. It's awesome seeing the process coming together."
In her junior year at BHSU, Fergusson played in 43 games with 39 starts. She was a perfect four-for-four on stolen base attempts, tallied 13 hits on the season and totaled 31 putouts in the outfield.
In 2016 Fergusson played in all 41 games on the Yellow Jacket schedule and registered a .897 fielding percentage from the outfield.
Fergusson collected a .293 batting average (34-for-116) with three doubles and six RBI in her freshman campaign.
She played in 46 of 47 games on the Yellow Jacket schedule, compiling a .938 fielding percentage from the second base and outfield positions.
Due to the adverse late winter and early spring weather, BHSU did not play a home game in Spearfish this season.
"Normally we'll have five weekends of home games," said Fergusson. "We didn't have our regular group of home fans. We've had to find wins on the road, spending so many weekends on the road."
With eight games remaining in the regular season, the Lady Yellow Jackets are currently in seventh place in the RMAC standings.
The top eight teams qualify for the conference playoffs. Colorado Mesa, the number one rated team in the country, is 37-1 overall and 27-1 in the RMAC and likely will host the post-season event.