Football, Sports

Students before athletes

As a senior, Joe Stearns works very hard both in and out of the classroom.
As a senior, Joe Stearns works very hard both in and out of the classroom.

Wartburg football player Brayton Brandt and Joe Stearns were two players from the Midwest named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Teams.

Brandt majors in Economics and Business Administration and Stearns is a Biology major. Stearns said that while he would try and be a great student with or without the award, but the award is great.

“It’s humbling and a huge honor to be recognized for something like that,” Stearns said.

Both have GPA’s well above 3.9 while also serves as a key members of the football team, Stearns as a major rotation member on the defensive line and Brandt as the team’s kicker.

Brandt said that the key to getting strong grades in college is all about time management and he agrees with the statement of “academics come before athletics.” Brandt also said the biggest different between athletics and academics is that in sports you have your coaches to motivate you, while with studying you have to motivate yourself.

Wartburg head coach Rick Willis said the team is always excited when student athletes can find the balance between school and sports. Willis also said it is great as coach to be able to point to them as an example that you can be successful academically and athletically.

“It’s a demonstration of how to try and excel at everything you do, very happy for these guys and it’s a huge honor for them,” Willis said.

Last year, Stearns also served as a Supplemental Instruction leader. He said leading an SI added even more time constraint as he not only had an on-campus job, but he also had to keep up with that class while also trying to stay on top of things in his own studies.

Stearns also said one of his favorite things about being named to the team is that his twin brother, Jake who plays at Simpson College, was also named to the same team.

Willis said Stearns and Brandt had big impacts on the team this year and both of them have set great examples for others to follow in regards to how you go about managing your time and making academics a priority.

Stearns said one of the biggest obstacles athletes have to overcome is distractions, whether caused by oneself or by people around you. Brandt agreed with this statement, but said athletes need to remember why they are in college.

“You have your commitment to football, but the real reason we are here is to get a degree, football is a part of it but it’s a privilege,” Brandt said. “You’ve got to focus most of your time on school and make sure you can shift gears when you need to.

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