Finding Balance as a Student-Athletes


Soccer players Franklin Montoya (right) and Rafael Zuniga (left) putting time aside to study.

By Juliana Jaramillo, Staff Writer

From the outside looking in, student athletes look like a group of kids that are blessed with the talent to play sports and are lucky to constantly be missing class due to their busy game schedules. What we don’t see is everything behind the scenes. Student-athletes are trusted to balance the roles of being a full-time student and a full-time athlete. So how do they do it?

“My typical day begins with a loud 5:30 a.m. alarm and I hit my bed around midnight,” said track star Humberto Larios.

Football player, Ronaldo Marquina said, “Practicing with the team doesn’t only drain me physically, but it also leaves me mentally exhausted.” Swimmer Sasha Castellanos, couldn’t agree more. After conditioning with her swim team, she’s left drained. “You really have to search for that last bit of energy to push through and finish that homework you have left at home,” she said

Many student athletes understand that being a student comes before anything else. But where exactly do their priorities lie? Ms. Anderson, who coaches the girls’ soccer team and cross country, said, “At the end of the day grades are more important.”

“I plan my day ahead to make sure I get everything that’s important done, even if it means rain-checking practice to finish a project,” said sophomore Melissa Year, who is in Color Guard. Similarly, Carlos Cordova, a teammate in Color Guard, said that, “Practice is very important but everyone knows that to practice, you must be keeping up with your schoolwork.”

Junior soccer player Belmar Hernandez, says, “During season, time management can get tricky; nonetheless, I always put time aside for my studies.”

To many athletes, it would be hard for non-athletes to relate to their busy days. Tommy Collins, a senior basketball player, said, “It can get very stressing very fast, and it takes dedication to stay on track.” Tatiana Armas, a new junior who plays soccer, swimming, and does cross country said, “People say I don’t make time for them. What they don’t see is that I’m already having trouble finding time for anything other than sports and schoolwork.”

Victoria Hernandez, who plays water polo, explains that it takes double the endurance to be a successful student-athlete, but they must do so with half the time and energy.

Nevertheless, Junior Gabriel Chavarria who swims, pointed out, “We student-athletes choose this regime, and we choose it because we believe it’s worth it, and we damn sure enjoy it.”

When coaches see their athletes struggling to keep up academically, they proceed accordingly. Coach of the girls’ basketball team Mr. “Boozer” Baumgarten punishes when he has to. “I’ll bench them for a game, add extra cardio to their workout, or call home,” he said.

Mr. Zuniga, coach of the boys’ soccer team, checks grades all the time and mandates tutoring if his athletes’ GPA is approximating the 2.5 line. To prevent this scenario from occurring in the first place, he added, “I constantly send emails to teachers.”

Track coach Mr. Bernard took a different stance by saying, “They need to find it in their own time to work on schoolwork.”