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Recent graduates say athletics prepared them for success

Photo by Julia Fischer
Photo by Julia Fischer

The final week of school and exams have come and gone for students at Concordia Wisconsin and a number of student-athletes have walked away for the final time, but with their degree in hand. The stress of studying, hours of practice and excitement of competitions have better prepared our student-athletes for life in the professional world, especially for those that just graduated.

Students have said their goodbyes to friends, classmates, professors, teammates and coaches as they return to their hometown for the summer or head off to start a full-time job. A fraction of the graduating class of 2017 is not only leaving behind friends and classmates but also a family they have grown to love on the CUW campus. Senior student-athletes have passed the torch to the juniors and lowerclassmen of their respective sport, as they take the next step towards their futures.

Leaving behind what they have known for years is difficult, but leaving behind a family they known and grown into can be even harder. The responsibilities will change from worrying about and studying their academics to now managing money, a family and other areas outside of school.

Below are four short stories graduated seniors who talked about what it was like to be a student-athlete at CUW...

Skating through the years

Brooklin, Ontario native Tanner Bull was a member of the Men's Hockey team for four years and had the honor of being an assistant captain his junior year and team captain his senior year. Bull graduated with a degree in Sports and Entertainment Management. With his major, Bull hopes to continue in the hockey industry after he leaves CUW.

Being a student-athlete, the forward realized how important time management was, with balancing practice and games to assignments and tests, which led to limited free time. Bull developed relationships on and off the ice and through a connection with a former coach, he currently works for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. After graduation, Bull plans to work for a junior hockey team, as well as continuing to work for the Maple Leafs.

Thanks to the support from his family and his team, he hopes to accomplish and grow within his professional career. Although leaving CUW feels weird, Bull is excited to get out into the professional world and start creating new relationships and opportunities.

Double Teamed

Performing in one sport can be stressful enough for some student-athletes, but for the multi-talented Veronika Metanova, it was a walk in the park. She was a starting forward on the Women's Hockey team and the starting goalkeeper on the Women's Lacrosse team. At one point in her career, Metanova was a three-sport student-athlete because she participated in Women's Golf for a season but soon decided that hockey and lacrosse had her heart.

The Palatine, Ill., native had to learn the importance of time management more than others. She rarely had time off to relax, but this allowed her to mature faster and understand that some things deemed difficult weren't that hard at all. Sometimes there weren't enough hours in the day to get it all done, choices had to be made, but in the end, everything worked out for Metanova. She learned to communicate with others, as well as network with people outside of her comfort zone.

Metanova graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy, with a forensic accounting minor. After leaving CUW, she will be starting a career with the Brown Deer Police Department as a desk officer and will then go on to the police academy where upon successful completion, she will become a full-fledged police officer. Metanova's ultimate career goal is to make it into the FBI and work in the Boston office.

Even though Metanova is leaving her sports families behind, that doesn't mean she has given up the lifestyle forever. She hopes to continue in sports by playing in an adult league hockey. Metanova hopes to coach hockey and have the impact on young athletes the way her coaches have impacted her.

Crossing the finish line.

Academics and athletics can be hard to handle sometimes, but having your own company to manage on top of everything else makes for ultimate stress. Michael Taylor is very familiar with the struggle between work, school, and athletics. He was a runner on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Taylor took 26 credits this past spring semester, which is near twice as many as some students take in a semester. He has been working under the philosophy that working smarter not harder is the way to get things done. Prioritizing is a big part of managing such a crazy schedule and Taylor uses that to the best of his ability.

The Denmark, Wis., native graduated with a degree in Graphic Design. About a year ago, he had the opportunity to start his own company. His dad works full-time for a startup business and after graduation, Taylor will continue to work alongside his father. The company is called Threema, which does 3D modeling for commercial and residential real estate. Taylor hopes to see his company keep growing as they obtain more clientele. When his company started, he had to sacrifice a lot to make sure it was successful and gave up time with friends and lots of sleep, but yet he still managed to participate in athletics and maintain his academic standing.

After graduation, Taylor will have his plate full running his company, but hopes to keep running both recreationally and competitively. Running has been his outlet when he needed an escape from academic or work. He has learned lots of life principles from running that he hopes to use in his professional and personal life.

Catching when you fall

One thing that appeals to athletes of CUW is that it is the manageable balance between academics and athletics. For softball catcher Carly Sobrilsky, it was important for her to be able to participate in the sport she loves, alongside doing well in her major of Nursing. Succeeding at both has been a great accomplishment for Sobrilsky because Nursing can be one of the most difficult majors for student-athletes to handle. With the help of lots of sticky notes and color coating, and with the help of her coaches and professors, she was able to balance and handle any challenges put in front of her.

Sobrilsky knows finding a job after graduation can be difficult for some, but it was no problem for the Brookfield, Wis., native. She will be working on a trauma floor at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and hopes to eventually work her way to critical care, ER or the ICU levels. Sobrilsky wants to continue her education later on in the hopes of becoming a nurse practitioner, as well as maybe even teaching a few nursing classes as a professor one day.

Even though Sobrilsky has left CUW as a nurse, she will always be a softball player at heart and doesn't plan on putting away her glove anytime soon. She hopes to continue playing softball so she stays busy on top of her job. Sobrilsky has had the opportunity of coaching her own summer league the past few years and wants to continue coaching when time allows because she wants to make the game fun for young athletes, just as her coaches did for her. Having a job in the area, she plans on being the loudest one in the stands next season in support of her former teammates.

Hard work and dedication has played off for all of these student-athletes. Time management, prioritizing and making sacrifices have helped each of these adults accomplish great things in their academic and athletic careers. Alongside these featured competitors are many other student-athletes who put in the hours of studying and practice in order to graduate with the degree of their choice and to participate in the sport they love.

Through the support of family, professors, teammates and coaches, these talented student-athletes were able to enjoy their years being a member of both an athletic team and an academic classroom. These featured student-athletes have many thanks to everyone for supporting them in their past, present and future endeavors. Although it might have sunk in that their time at CUW is over, CUW will always be a part of them and they have made their mark on the athletic department. As they say on campus - once a Falcon, always a Falcon.

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