Committed to excellence

Each hour of practice counts toward athletic success on the court. However, student athletes have been excelling in acidemia by transferring to four-year universities after playing for Pierce’s sports teams.

For the past five years, more than 90 percent of student athletes between Pierce’s men and women’s volleyball teams have continued their education after Pierce.

Success is not measured by how many trophies are earned throughout a season, but on how many athletes transfer, according to men’s volleyball head coach Lance Walker.

“To me, it’s the greatest championship that we can possibly achieve here, because that’s what we are really about,” Walker said.

While athletes spend a lot of their time practicing and training for the games throughout the semester, they often must balance their academic and career goals.

Currently on the men’s volleyball team, players are working toward a variety of certificates and degrees that include firefighting, nursing, policing, mechanics, business and kinesiology.

However, in the past it has been challenging for athletes to keep their grades up so they are  eligible to play on Pierce’s athletic teams.

“[This means] we don’t want guys as second-year students, not having enough units, not being eligible,” Walker said. “For the last two years we have been at 100 percent academic eligibility, which is something that we are really proud to represent.”

This semester, three players from the men’s volleyball team will transfer to four-year universities, having obtained either an academic or athletic scholarship.

Right side hitter Brandon Oswald knew he wanted to come to play for Pierce’s volleyball team due to it’s reputation and connections to the volleyball world.

“The whole reason I came out here is Coach Walker, who is very well known throughout the volleyball community,” Oswald said. “I knew it was going to be a great launching pad to get to a four year university.”

Oswald will be playing for NIA program Ottawa University in Kansas while he pursues his master’s degree in exercise science.

Outside hitter for the men’s volleyball team Trent Sellers will be attending college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and outside hitter Jadrien Wiser will be attending St. Catherine University in San Diego.

Transfer rates for the women’s volleyball team are also more than 90 percent, according to head coach Nabil Mardini.

“We do it because we are proactive with it,” Mardini said. “You have to plan ahead and be aware.”

According to Mardini, getting athletes to transfer out is often difficult because of priority registration, and athletes must block out practice time within their school schedule.

Therefore, athletic counselor Joseph Roberson is an important part in navigating athlete’s academic experience.

“He helps out every single athlete on campus and he makes sure that we are in the right amount of classes to be able to transfer out and that we stay eligible,” Oswald said.

From the women’s volleyball team, Whitley Doss, Megan Weaver and Cassidy Rosso will be transferring this coming semester.

“It is always about following up and making sure they are seeing a counselor, stuff like that,” Mardini said. “It’s hard work. That is all it is.”