Cabrini College has approximately 300 student athletes that cover 16 teams, nine women’s and seven men’s. What is the key to their success or failure as student athletes? In other words how do they play both athlete and student and make it work?
Freshman tennis player Kim Pepenella is a communication and political science major. When asked if she felt overwhelmed from schoolwork and her practice/game schedule, she said, “Only sometimes when the due dates come up quickly.” To not feel overwhelmed, Pepenella said, “If I have a game during a class I make sure I get all my work done.” Most importantly, she said, “I make sure I get my schoolwork done first because I am here to learn.”
Sophomore basketball player Meghan Barth is a biology, pre-physical therapy major. Barth’s advice for student athletes is very helpful. She said, “I manage my time by using lots of calendars and I put reminders on my phone for everything.”
Junior lacrosse player Ethan Heisman is a communication major with a minor in marketing. As a junior he has had a few years to figure out the dos and don’ts of a student athlete. He said, “I usually let my teachers know in advance when I will be missing class, get all my work and stay organized to stay on top of things. Don’t let the work pile up. I make lists and whenever I get free time, I get everything done.”
Senior lacrosse player Sarah Means is a psychology major. Means admitted learning from her freshman mistakes. She said, “Freshman year I didn’t really manage my time. I literally just went to class and played lacrosse and I didn’t really do my homework. I wanted to be a college student and go out with my friends. Now that I’m a senior, I know better.” Sarah also takes advantage of quiet hours in-between classes in the library to get her schoolwork done. Her advice to freshman student athletes is, “Get your schoolwork done before doing anything else so you don’t have to worry about it.”
Assistant director of athletics Brian Beacham said, “One of the things that’s pretty good about us with having 300 athletes, is the maximum we might have with academic issues at the end of a semester is maybe seven or eight. A big part of our success for our athletes is they buy into that whole college model and they understand the program has a structure. If they follow it, they can do other things and be successful as well.” He also said, ” Another big part of our success is that we retain students really well. Over 90 percent of the athletes that come to Cabrini, stay.”
During the 2013-2014 athletic season, Cabrini College athletes received 148 academic honors, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have help. Field hockey coach Jackie Neary is responsible for our student athlete’s academic and personal wellness. If a student is having a social issue, like a family problem, she can help. Neary also acts as a liaison with the faculty along with Dave Dunbar, the faculty athletic representative. Men’s lacrosse coach Steve Colfer is the assistant director of athletics for recruitment and retention. He is responsible for helping any student athlete wanting to transfer or helping them decide if they want to stay.
In the words of freshman, Kim Pepenella, “You should be a student first and an athlete second.” This is the key to student athlete success.