Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

What’s it like to be a student-athlete at the University of Redlands?

Alexis Wallace ’22
math major
cross-country and track
Team Member

A ‘super-welcoming’ team

“I made my decision to come to Redlands after an overnight visit with the track team. Being a student-athlete was nice because I had my instant group of friends. All cross-country runners are super-welcoming and inviting. I mean, who likes to run? Not many people. You’ve got to be a little crazy to enjoy running—so you’re constantly surrounded by those people. We love hanging out together, and we always have a good time. There’s no drama anytime on our team.” 

Balancing sports, school, work 

“In August, preseason, we get up to run at 7 a.m., before it gets too hot outside. Afterward, we maybe lay by the pool, eat with friends. Then we go for a second run—another six miles—later in the day. During track season, we have practice at 7 a.m. We run for 12 miles. Then I go to class: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and then 1 p.m. Then we have practice again at 4 p.m.—we either lift weights or run 3 miles. 

It’s demanding, but it’s fun with all my friends. It’s hard to balance sports, school, and work, but I’ve managed it the last four years. The small class sizes at Redlands help me a lot academically, and I enjoy the one-on-one instruction. It also helps that I always have my coaches’ support; it’s easy to go in and talk to them.”

Finding answers

“In my freshman year, I took a May Term course in math called Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos. I was the only first-year in class with juniors and seniors. It was intimidating. By the end of the class, my professor told me I was top in the class. It was rewarding to hear. That’s when I thought, “Maybe I should be a math major.” I really enjoy math because there’s always an answer. Whenever you’re in English class and write an essay, one professor may love that essay and one professor may hate it. In math, it’s either right or wrong, and there’s no discussion about it.” 

Drake Moody ’23
global business major
attacker, men’s water 

‘If you’re not moving your legs, you’ll drown’ 

“I started playing because my dad was a water polo player on the Denmark national team. Scoring is always fun, but my favorite thing about water polo is my team’s camaraderie and sense of community, especially in college, where everything’s new and you’re learning to be an adult. You don’t know how to socialize sometimes; having a team makes it a lot easier and more fun. 

Depending on the day, we have morning practice at 6 a.m. I’ll be up at 5:30 a.m., we get breakfast as a team, then we all go our different ways for classes. Then, we all meet back up at the pool at 4 p.m. for our second practice. 

Aside from the dead hair and red eyes from chlorine, water polo athletes usually have a great sense of athletic skill. We’re constantly moving in the water. I probably eat three plates a meal, nine plates in total every day, because we burn so many calories. If you’re not moving your legs, you’ll drown. So water polo players have more grit. We’re tough.”

Forming friendships

“Being a student-athlete at Redlands is nice because it’s a smaller campus, and you form friendships with different teams. My suitemates are in track and field; we all have the mentality of being a student-athlete and can relate to the grind.”

drakeinclass_680x450.jpgCommunicating with coaches and professors

“As a global business major, I have a lot of intensive courses, but as long as you do all your work, it’s not too bad. The most important thing about being a student-athlete here is communicating with your coaches and professors because you’re constantly going to practice, going to class, and
doing homework.” 

Makayla Sorensen ’24
biology major
middle blocker,
women’s volleyball

Striking a balance

“My biggest thing coming into college was finding that balance between academics and volleyball because I was always the student who needed to take AP classes and get an A in every class. That’s why I came to Redlands—the culture here is geared toward academics. I get to continue playing the sport that I love but still really focus on my academic career. That was very important to me. 

On my first visit to Redlands, I saw how supportive the community was. It’s the best part of being a student-athlete. When I’m not playing my games, I like to go support other teams here at Redlands. I know other athletes do the same for us.”

Goals for the game

“I started playing volleyball when I was 12 years old. As a middle blocker, I’m the first line of defense with my hands over the net. I’m trying to slow the ball down, get a block, or channel the ball into another direction toward the passers. 

makaylacourt_680x450.jpgWe have team breakfast before every practice, and then we do something called “tapping in,” where we set our goals for our game or practice. It could be personal; it could also be for the team, so we’re mentally focused. Then we go from there. My goal today was to have no hesitation, go for every ball, play with confidence, and be aggressive on the court.”

A team, on and off the court

“I’ve always loved science. I find it challenging, and I like learning things that are hard to understand. This semester I have biology, organic chemistry, and statistics. It’s challenging being a biology major and a volleyball player. That’s where time management and a lot of planning comes into play. Some of my teammates have similar courses, so we study together. We work as a team both on and off the court to get our coursework done.” 

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