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The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Athletic department encourages competition on and off the field

Seth Henderson
Learn, compete and achieve are the words above Athletic Learning Center Instructional Assistant Brandon Ellis as he sits at his desk in the Hawks Study Center ready to help student athletes when needed. Ellis has been an instructional assistant with the athletic department since 2006 and said he has worn many hats on campus.

Academic and athletic competition are equally important and highly encouraged in the Hawks athletic department, said Cosumnes River College’s athletic director.

A chart hangs in the athletic department’s office that displays the cumulative GPA for each sports team at CRC and student athletes can see where their team ranks academically across the department. CRC’s cumulative GPA for all teams of the spring 2023 semester is 3.166, according to 2022-2023 CalPass data, a website that provides status reports on student athletes.

Freshman setter for the women’s volleyball team Nicole Risch said Head Coach Kari Nahlen values academics and believes they come first, requiring athletes to have at least four hours of study hall each week.

“I definitely feel like a lot of the sports programs are wanting to get good grades,” Risch said. “I feel like everything is mostly a competition whether it’s athletic or academic, so I think maybe every sports team here at CRC probably has a little rivalry because we all want to be on top.”

Athletic Director Collin Pregliasco, also dean of Kinesiology, Health & Athletics, said this year is the first time in CRC history three sports teams made the playoffs at the same time. He said the sports programs on campus have had consecutive years of a 3.0 GPA or higher since his arrival in 2017.

Pregliasco said the department takes a more “triangular” approach between the coaches, athletic counselors and the academic support staff within the Hawks Study Center.

“At the end of the day, are they doing their best? Are they trying and taking advantage of the resources,” Pregliasco said. “I think everybody is supporting each other and we’re collectively helping those athletes now too.”

Pregliasco said he assigned the instructional assistants from the learning center to specifically work with certain teams, so communication is more fluid between coaches, players and tutors, allowing for more accountability.

Pregliasco said the athletes who are academically eligible can be returning starters for their sport and benefit the team as well as the entire athletics department by having a more cohesive and successful sports program. He said being academically eligible can also help student athletes have a smoother transition into a university sports program.

“I think you’ve seen an up-tick in athletic success, let alone our academic success,” Pregliasco said. “Just fully supporting the coaches, fully supporting the athletes, fully supporting the learning center staff and just seeing the importance in everything we do. Everybody is just fully bought into the importance of the academics and not that they weren’t before, it’s just, everybody was doing it in isolation.”

Softball Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said academics come first and a grade check is one of the most helpful resources available to the department. There are three separate checks during the semester and, if her athletes are doing well at first, she encourages them to keep doing well. If not, she meets with them to create a plan for success.

“I’ve sat down with players as well if they have issues and I’ll say, ‘Hey, show me your Canvas, let’s take a look at your grades, are you turning things in?’” Schroeder said.

Schroeder said it’s important to be involved in a student’s academic process as well as their athletic process because the players need to know that they are at school to not only play their sport, but receive their education. She said teams have taken hits to rosters in the past due to athletes not fulfilling their academic eligibility requirements.

“You want them to be successful and succeed and sometimes people need more help than others,” Schroeder said. “And maybe they just haven’t had the motivation or the know how, so that’s our job as coaches to help them with that.”

Sophomore forward for the men’s basketball team Antonio Tercero said Head Coach Jonathan James requires players to study for at least five hours per week in the learning center to complete homework, quizzes or make-up assignments. Tercero said in his second year, he has developed a specific routine after getting to know the department’s resources in his first year.

Tercero said he sees athletes of all sports teams on campus benefit from competing against one another, working in the study center creating supportive relationships with other teams and student athletes.

“So, different sports like soccer, baseball, whether it’s women’s or men’s, you get to see all types of different people,” Tercero said. “It’s really just a bond and once you build that bond with a lot of people, it makes that bond stronger.”

Risch said the athletic department’s encouragement of competition in student’s academics shows CRC has really good coaches. She said they don’t only care for an athlete’s physical health, but they also care about how well their players do in school.

“I think it really encourages us that we can set a higher goal to get an even higher cumulative GPA as a team,” Risch said. “Personally for me, I strive to make sure I’m maintaining all A’s and I set myself to a higher standard. Not only am I setting up myself for success, but I’m also, by doing well in school, setting the team up for success and making sure we’re on track.”

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About the Contributor
Seth Henderson
Seth Henderson, Editor in Chief
Seth Henderson is the Editor-in-Chief for The Connection. He decided to join the Connection because he wants to become a reporter and broadcaster, hoping to work in Las Vegas for the Raiders and the NFL. He was grew up in the Bay Area and is passionate about journalism, music and sports.

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