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Benefits to being a fall athlete

With the help of their fellow teammates, athletes are successfully integrating into the Cobber community

Over the years, Concordia has been lucky enough to have had many talented freshmen athletes attend the school and play for the Cobbers. This year is no exception. According to Concordia’s athletic director, Richard Glas 39% of this year’s freshman class are playing for various teams at Concordia.

Playing a fall sport in particular can be challenging for freshmen on top of orientation, starting classes for the first time and developing a social life. Which poses the question: is being a fall student athlete worth the effort?

In the past few weeks, center midfielder Rachel Osmundson has learned that playing soccer at a collegiate level is very different than it was in high school.

“It is definitely a lot more time consuming than playing a high school sport, the speed of play is more intense, the physicality of the game is more intense and whole game in general is more physical and fast,” Osmundson said. “If you’re not good at managing your time, it’s going to be really tough.”

Although balancing everything can be difficult, golfer Mark Huneke feels that playing in high school encouraged him to become part of Concordia’s golf family.

“I was expecting it to be more, but high school helped me prepare for this pretty well,” Huneke said.

Soccer player Kayla Dostal attributes her daily schedule to her ability to successfully balance her classes and practice.

“For me, it’s been easier balancing my classes and social life in college than in high school,” Dostal said. “In high school it was class, class, class, practice. Here we have breaks and more time between classes.”

Dostal also acknowledges that a student’s class load and major definitely have an effect on the balancing act. A communications and Spanish major, she finds that it’s been easier for her to make time for homework than she had expected.

“It really depends on your major,” Dostal said. “In high school I had soccer for an average of about 15 hours per week. Here it’s around 20.”

While the students admit that it can be stressful balancing schoolwork on top of their sport, they agree that Concordia staff [both coaches and teachers] have been very helpful making the workload as stress-free as possible.

“We had to miss two days of classes for two away games in Wisconsin, and the coaches really helped us through it,” Osmundson said. “They told us to email [our] professors, helped us with what to say and made sure we all felt comfortable leaving and felt comfortable going to class on Monday.”

As a biology major, Osmundson’s work flow can get a little heavy. Despite this, she has successfully maintained a social life while completing her studies.

“Social time is much different in college than in high school,” Osmundson said. “You do have more free time, but the time management has changed. I’ve turned study time into social time.”

While learning how to balance school can pose a challenge for these athletes, there is no question that being a part of a sport has helped their transition.

“One of the best parts about soccer is that preseason I was moved into dorms first and already knew the campus and had a better feel before all the other freshmen got on board,” Osmundson said. “I felt more comfortable with the campus because I knew where to eat and knew where all of the facilities were.”

Dostal and Huneke also agree that being a part of a team and getting to campus earlier than other freshman made the transition much easier.

Aside from helping him become part of the Cobber community, Hueke believes joining Concordia’s golf team has enabled him to grow as a person.

“I’m very glad I chose to play a college sport,” Huneke said. “It helps with meeting new people, [learning] new skills not only as an athlete, [but also] as a person, and gets my mind off of school.”

All three students stand behind their choice to play a college fall sport. Like the rest of the athletes, if Osmundson is able to successfully juggle her classes and practice, she will continue to play for the remainder of her time at Concordia.

“As long as I can balance my life, I will definitely continue to do it,” Osmundson said. “I was so close to not doing soccer, but everyone’s been so welcoming that I’m so grateful I did.”

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