The "student" in student athlete goes unnoticed

By Kyle Quick

--Generally, one would read in the newspaper about which students made All-Conference, All-Districts, or All-State in sports.  Don’t get me wrong, these students deserve the recognition and a story written about their achievement, all of which I have included in this article.

However, a story you won’t read about, other than a list of names in the paper, are the athletes who were Academic All-Conference.  They deserve the same recognition along with interviews from coaches who have the same kids in their classes as they do on their teams.

In order for athletes to make Academic All-Conference they must have a GPA of 3.60 or higher and receive a varsity letter.  This year, New Haven had 18 student athletes from fall sports who met these criteria.

2012 Academic All-Conference:

Cross Country:
Clare Roth, Fey Chavez, and Seth Schenck

Lindsey Nixon, Carlie Steinbeck, Madison Doyle, Meagan Ley, and Stephanie Scheer.

The Volleyball team had 10 of their 12 athletes receive Academic All-Conference.

Meghan Brown, Olivia Fleer, Emily Kallmeyer, Hannah Kassebaum, Tessa Kelsick, Kayla Meyer, Rachel Steinhoff, Megan Bauer, Rachel Horstmann, and Kelsey Peacut.

When speaking with volleyball head coach Jaime Hoener, there were several things mentioned I had never thought of, which makes this a bigger accomplishment than anyone probably realizes.

Regardless of your perception about athletes receiving special treatment or whatever the case may be, the facts do not lie; neither do how student athletes perform in academics.

Hoener said, “Until you follow kids around their daily schedule…most the kids are in band… so they are here at school from 7:30 in the morning until at least 5:30 at night and then have to go home, do homework and that’s just a daily practice day.”

“On days when we have games, they get home late and still have several hours of homework to do.  It’s so fortunate that we can throw all these things at them and they can handle it.  It’s going to help them in their adult life when they have a job and a family they have to be responsible for.”

Another point she made that I don’t think people realize is on Saturdays, rarely do these students get to sleep in because there is either a marching festival or a volleyball tournament. Student athletes spend more hours “working” than their parents.  Kids are putting in over 70 hours a week.

Hoener added, “It’s remarkable they are able to maintain good grades.  It’s not like they are taking blow off classes either.  Kids are taking classes such as Calculus, Physics, Chemistry 2, and Accounting 2…these are not easy classes.”

New Haven High School has always expected students to achieve at the highest level in academics, which is why the school’s motto is “Tradition of Excellence” and the States MAP testing is proof.  Every year, New Haven students consistently produce some of the best scores across the state.

JV Volleyball Coach Dennis Carey also commented on the success of student athletes inside the classroom.  “It’s been going on for as long as I can remember.  I think that just the way it is.  I don’t think students really think about it too much.  It’s band in the morning, school during the day, and then practice/games in the evening.  Students don’t know any other way, it’s just expected.  It’s a tradition that trickles down each and every year.” 

Four Rivers All-Conference

Kelsey Pecaut and Rachel Steinhoff were both selected to the Four Rivers All-Conference team along with Emily Kallmeyer voted Honorable Mention.

Pecaut was one of New Haven’s driving forces on the court by leading the team in kills, (154), aces (58), and points served (193) to end her volleyball career.  Pecaut was a three-year starter, playing a pivotal role in New Haven reaching the final four in 2010.

Kelsey Peacut will be remembered the most for her facial expression and excitment shown on the court.

In New Haven’s last regular season game Peacut severely injured her left shoulder, which appeared to be a career ending injury.  However, everyone under estimated Peacut’s unwilling desire to finish her career any other way than the same way it started.

Against all odds Peacut helped lead New Haven over Bismarck to advance into the District Championship game.  New Haven would end up losing to Valle Catholic to end their season.  Although Peacut was able to finish her volleyball career with no regrets in a gut wrenching performance that defined the type of athlete she was.

Steinhoff and Kallmeyer are two starters who will be returning next year.  Steinhoff had a career high in kills, (119) serve receive, (312) and points served (135).

This was Kallmeyer’s first year playing at the varsity level and was number three in kills with 126 and will be one of next year's team top players.