Photo Illustration by Brooke Farren
More than half of the students in the school participate in the daily grind of high school athletics without ever coming close to a chance at the next level of sports. College sports are merely just a dream.
However, the school has graduated a small percentage of elite athletes who have advanced to the next level and can attest to the differences and challenges college sports present.
Balancing college classes with training can be difficult for many athletes, with the large workload in class, as well as practicing and lifting almost every day.
Freshman at The Ohio State University cross country runner Allison Guagenti has had a similar experience.
“With practice and travel, you have to be on top of your work and have to be in good communication with your professors. Missing class makes things a little difficult, but you just have to make sure to be working on school work while traveling,” Guagenti said.
Freshman baseball player at Bowling Green State University Tyler Ross has balanced his workload well, taking advantage of programs designed to help college athletes.
“We have an athletic service that helps the student athletes with class scheduling and extra help if you need it,” Ross said, “I had to take six hours of study hall at the library to help balance all the parts.”
Five-star defensive end Zach Harrison graduated early to begin training for the football season at OSU. He reflected on the difference in training between high school and the reigning Big 10 champions.
“Everything is more advanced and intense (at Ohio State), so through lifting I’ve gotten a lot bigger and stronger than I did in high school. The coaching here is also the best in the country, so my skills have gotten better not just my body,” Harrison said.
Redshirt Freshman Linebacker at Ohio University and 2018 graduate Bryce Houston noted an increase in training intensity as well.
“Training is challenging but rewarding. They work us very hard and push us to the limit, but we get great end results,” Houston said.
The high level of training has paid off in a big way for alumni. Guagenti finished her freshman season third on the team, running at the national meet for cross country.
“Getting to run in the regional and national championship was such an incredible experience, Guagenti said, “One of my goals for my college career was to run at nationals, and the fact that I’ve already gotten to achieve that with my incredible teammates blows my mind.”
Although Ross’ season hasn’t begun yet, he’s looking forward to fighting for his spot as a first- year player.
“I’m most looking forward to the challenge of being a young guy on the team going up against older guys who might get drafted. I’m also looking forward to some of the trips we are going to take and bonding with the guys,” Ross said.
Houston, who suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the year, is looking forward to coming back strong as an impact player for the Bobcats’ defense.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and continuing to be a dominant presence on the football field,” Houston said.
Harrison had a strong freshman season with 14 solo tackles and 3.5 sacks playing behind defensive player of the year, Chase Young. Harrison attained good playing time, succeeding in both the Big Ten Championship and Fiesta bowl games.
Harrison isn’t done improving yet though, responding to if he felt like he’d made it to the top with, “not really, I have a lot of work left to do, so I don't really have time to reflect on the past."