With seasonal sports underway, student-athletes have returned to their studies and college athletics.
Incoming freshmen athletes who are getting their first taste of competition at the collegiate level transition from high school to college athletics and sometimes struggle to do so, said John Wozniak, Sarah Roundtree and Jordan Peck. These three each offered insights into their own experiences with the transition process, discussing topics ranging from the challenges they have faced to the surprises they have encountered so far.
Wozniak, a member of the football team, said there are physical differences between football at the collegiate and high school levels.
“Everyone seems to be bigger and faster at this level,” Wozniak said. “It’s not as easy to stand out as it was in high school. Everybody can really play here.”
Peck, a member of the baseball team, provided a different perspective. He said it is hard to balance life while needing to figure out how to distribute adequate time and effort to both sports and studies.
“It’s been more difficult to balance athletics with academics, since there is a larger amount of coursework in addition to the other involvements of college,” Peck said. “Also, sports at this level seem to require a greater level of commitment and dedication as opposed to high school.”
Roundtree, a tennis player, said the challenge of competing as well as with building new relationships can be hard.
“I’ve noticed a higher level of competition, obviously,” Roundtree said. “I guess the most difficult part has just been finding my place within the team and getting comfortable with my teammates and coaches.”
Wozniak also noted fundamental differences in the way his teams prepare for each game.
“The practices tend to be longer and more frequent than what they were back in high school,” Wozniak said. “Another thing I noticed is that in college we spend more time with our pre-game preparation, particularly in the film room.”
“Practices are longer and more intensive,” Peck said. “Some of the drills and exercises we do are familiar, but there are some new ones as well.”
According to Wozniak, the best part of his participation in football at both levels is the close-knit community.
“Just the comradery of it. Everyone in the locker room is like family,” Wozniak said.
Peck offered a similar take.
“Playing with teammates who have your back, and who want you to do well, makes everything a whole lot easier,” Peck said. “You can tell that everybody here is passionate about the game.”
According to Roundtree, he enjoys the love of the game and the shared experience.
“Being able to play the sport you love with people you enjoy,” Roundtree said. “That’s the best part of it all.”