Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Summer Bales, a 2018 co-captain, speaks to her Tritons after last September's home win over Western Washington.

Outgoing Captain Summer Bales Earns Prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

UC San Diego

INDIANAPOLIS - University of California San Diego women's soccer captain Summer Bales was recently awarded a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Bales captained UC San Diego to yet another supremely successful season last fall, as the Tritons went 19-3-2 overall en route to the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular-season crown, CCAA Tournament championship, and West Region title. UC San Diego ultimately fell to eventual national champion Bridgeport (Conn.), 2-0, in the national semifinals in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 29.

Bales helped lead UC San Diego to a remarkable nine trophies in her four years, matching the program record for an individual. The Tritons swept all four CCAA Tournament banners, won each of the past three CCAA regular-season titles, with the first two in unbeaten fashion, and lifted back-to-back West Region trophies in 2017 and 2018. Bales' Tritons earned four trips to the NCAA Championship, and posted records of 70-14-6 (.811) overall and 39-6-2 (.851) in league play.

Bales, out of Temecula (Great Oak HS), is an international studies-political science major with an international migration studies minor and a 3.73 grade-point average at UC San Diego's Eleanor Roosevelt College. She will graduate in June, and has already been accepted into the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS). Bales will begin her Master of Public Policy there in the fall.

"I did not know that this scholarship existed until (Academic Success & Student Development Coordinator) Mary Angell contacted me and helped me apply," remarked Bales via email from Egypt, her mother Salma's native country, where the family went on vacation during Spring Break. "A month or two later, I found out I had both been accepted into UC San Diego's public policy program, and (received) the postgraduate scholarship. I couldn't believe it, and was so grateful for Mary reaching out to me to apply and also for Jonesy (head coach Kristin Jones) and (Deputy Director of Athletics) Wendy (Taylor May), and my professors for providing letters of recommendation for the scholarship on short notice.

"I'm really excited to be staying in San Diego and getting to watch our home games for the next two seasons!," added Bales about her graduate school acceptance. "It's a two-year program, and hopefully it will help prepare me for a career in an NGO (non-governmental organization) or local government. If I could do anything, it would be working in immigration and/or refugee policy, or immigration case management. San Diego has a lot of refugee and immigrant communities, and its position on the border makes it the ideal place to be for what I want to do!"

Bales has volunteered previously at the International Rescue Committee on immigration matters. She says she applied for her graduate studies a day after returning from Pittsburgh, and did not expect to get into GPS. Bales completed the honors program in her major during the winter quarter, and will find out this spring if she has attained departmental honors on her thesis or not.

Bales, a left-sided wing midfielder, was one of nine Tritons to start all 24 games in 2018, leading them with a career-high 10 assists and pacing the CCAA for a second successive season. The second-year starter added two goals to total 14 points. For her four-year Triton career, Bales started in 48 of 88 games played, including each of the last 47, with 35 points from five goals and 25 assists. She missed just two matches that UC San Diego played during her time on campus.

As a highly-decorated senior, Bales earned Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-America Third Team, United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America Second Team, D2CCA All-West Region First Team, United Soccer Coaches All-West Region First Team, All-CCAA First Team, and United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-West Region First Team distinction. She had picked up second-team All-CCAA and second-team United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-West Region honors as a junior, and is a two-time CCAA All-Tournament Team, three-time CCAA All-Academic and three-time CCAA Fall All-Academic honoree for an impressive career.

The NCAA awards up to 126 postgraduate scholarships annually. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically, and who are at least in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.

The one-time, non-renewable scholarships of $10,000 are awarded three times a year corresponding to each sport season (fall, winter and spring). Each sports season there are 21 scholarships available for men and 21 scholarships available for women for use in an accredited graduate program.

A total of 37 student-athletes have now earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship at UC San Diego, which has a rich tradition of both academic and athletic excellence.

Bales is the fifth UC San Diego women's soccer standout to garner an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, joining Ele Johnson (1996), Lauren Johnson (1997), Megan Mendoza (2003) and Cassie Callahan (2014).

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage graduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership are evaluated. An equitable approach is employed in reviewing an applicant's nomination form to provide all student-athlete nominees an opportunity to receive the graduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through graduate study.

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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