In The Spotlight, Sports

Penguins Baseball Hits a Home Run Out of the Park and into the Classroom

Honor roll pitcher Grant Fisher has a chance to be drafted pending his performance this year, according to Magdaleno. Fisher said he is on campus for 15 hours a day some days and roughly 60 hours per week. (Andy Bao/The Independent)

More than half of the players, 23 out of 44, on Clark’s baseball team are on the Athletic Department Honor Roll, nearly a 25 percent increase from nine months ago.

Head coach Mark Magdaleno “[takes] no credit for that” number. After serving as associate head coach for five months, Magdaleno became the head coach last Winter. Eight players have been added to the honor list since then.

Magdaleno attributes that increase to recruiting “the best player, the best student and the best person” for every position last Spring. “This is the most scholarly team I’ve ever coached,” he said.

“He strives for the best from his student athletes every day and his hard work and dedication of leading these young men have shown not only on the field, but more importantly in the classroom,” Athletic Director Chris Jacob said about Magdaleno in an email.

Magdaleno requires players to attend study hall two to five days a week, depending on how far below a 3.0 a student’s GPA is, according to outfielder and honor roll student Hayden Humphrey.

This method seems to be working as Humphrey and other players said they like the policy.

Humphrey believes he performs better academically when playing a sport because of improved time management. “If they are in a working hard mode on the field, odds are they are going to try harder in the classroom,” Humphrey said.

Balancing athletics and academics, however, is not always easy.  Psychology instructor Tess Yevka said that the brain performs inadequately when fatigued from sleep deprivation, which is a challenge for many student athletes.capture6

In Yevka’s experience, student athletes’ time management is an issue. Students often tell her that their athletics interfere with their ability to complete assignments.

Sleep deprived students don’t make as good of choices, affecting both their academics and athletics, Yevka said.

With the addition of study hall on top of school and baseball, players such as pitcher Grant Fisher have said they average eight or fewer hours of sleep per night.

“It’s a desire to be successful,” Fisher said, that drives him to achieve greatness on the field and in the classroom. “Baseball isn’t guaranteed for the rest of your life; you can only play it for so long.”

Head baseball coach Mark Magdaleno’s study hall policy has resulted in eight more players earning Athletic Department Honor Roll status. (Andy Bao/The Independent)

This resonates with Magdaleno’s ‘school-comes-first’ policy. “We want everyone to be on the honor roll.”

To do so, each player would need to end the Winter quarter with a minimum 3.0 GPA and be enrolled in at least 12 credits.

The Athletic Department’s Honor Roll differs from the Vice President’s List, which includes all students. The Vice President’s List requires a 3.75 GPA while enrolled in at least 12 credits a quarter.

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