Freshman athletes: Making the jump
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 13:03
Transitioning from high school to college can be a big deal. Freshmen learn to adjust to being on their own, having free time and managing more difficult classes, to name a few differences.
Athletes have to deal with these and a host of other differences both on and off the court.
“I could just coast in high school,” said freshman basketball player Marcel Davis. “Now the game speed and intensity is so much higher.”
“Every player on every team was the best on their high school team,” said freshman lacrosse player Colin Maxfield.
It can be much more difficult to play in college then high school. It almost has to be easy for athletes in high school to be able to excel at the next level. Collegiate sports are faster, hits are harder and the overall margin for error is lower.
In addition to having to be an athletic specimen, these guys and girls have to be able to handle stress, time and mental strain.
“It’s like a full-time job,” said freshman football player Nico Bronzati. “It may sound cliche, but there’s no days off.”
USU athletes have to be full-time athletes and full-time students, even in the offseason. Year-round athletes at Utah State are expected to maintain good grades and maintain their physical level.
“The system here is more complex, much harder to grasp then our system in high school,” Davis said.
Not all adjustments are unpleasant, however. Some are rewarding to the players.
“Everything’s a competition,” Bronzati said. “The competition made me better, mentally and physically. I have learned a lot about my character from the changes.”
“The skill level is also a good thing,” Maxfield said. “People couldn’t pass and catch like they do here.”
Playing sports at this level makes the athletes better and make them gel together. Statistically, athletes have better grades and succeed more in college.
There is some nostalgia for many of these athletes for their high school games.
“I miss the high school rivalries and having friends and family there at every game,” Davis said.
“I miss my teammates and having every game close,” Maxfield said.
Regardless of any difficulties of the transition or any longing for high school sports, none of these players would trade their college athletic experience. The transition for athletes at USU is difficult and time consuming for the most part, but they find ways to excel, both athletically and academically.
“As ready as you think you are, you’re not until you experience it every day,” Bronzati said. “You can’t grasp it until you’re here, and I’m better for it.”