4-year universities say hello to these athletes

As another semester comes to a close, student athletes have a chance to reflect on their transfer success.

There are many factors that go into one’s decision to attend a community college. However, despite their reasons for coming to Pierce, the school acts as a roadmap to higher education.

Athletic Director Moriah Van Norman said that she constantly reiterates her mantra of education first because athletics will end, and students need to be prepared.

Van Norman, who was a student athlete herself, says that this is the time when students must not forget to prioritize their education.

“Academics has to come first,” Van Norman said. “I understand the irony of an athletic director saying that it’s not really important to me if you win or lose on the field. It’s more important to me if you win in life.”

Van Norman, who is an Olympic Silver medalist, said that one lesson she hopes to instill in student athletes in the program is to not take academics for granted.

A big part of Van Norman’s job is bridging the gap between the athletics program and academics at Pierce. Van Norman said that when she meets with athletes, she always stresses the importance of finding a balance between academic life and participating in the sport they play.

The support system in the Athletics Department consists of the athletic director, coaches and counselors.

Men’s volleyball head coach Lance Walker says he tells his players to utilize their time with Athletic Counselor Joseph Robertson.

“I tell them when they go see him, don’t waste his time,” Walker said.

Walker, who has held a 100 percent transfer rate for the past four years, said he expects his athletes to take advantage of the resources offered to them through the program.

Walker said that while athletes may be at Pierce for different reasons, he said it is important for them to create an education plan and find a way to execute it during their time at the school.

“If our guys don’t have a vision and don’t use Pierce as a stepping stone, I don’t want them in our program,” Walker said.

Transferring to a four-year college means developing a goal and taking the necessary steps to achieve it.

Soccer head coach Adolfo Perez said he compares students’ time at Pierce to a trampoline.

“They come here for one or two years – preferably two – they get their general education requirements out of the way and then they trampoline,” Perez said

From the pool, to the gym and even the field, Pierce’s students will continue down the path of higher education.