Athletes offer advice to students to prep for sports after high school


BREAKING BARRIERS Future ACU track and field athlete Hayden Norwich, 12, tries to break the school shot put recored for the second time this year at Northwest ISD Stadium on Friday, March 10, 2023. Photo by, Kaon Burniku 9

Walking into William Penn University for what feels like the thousandth time, college football player and former Ranger Danny Simmons, class of 2021 graduate, knows the intense shift from his high school days at Ranger Stadium to collegiate well.

“With the increased difficulty in the competition in college, it’s been a really tough and lengthy adjustment for me,” Simmons said. “I try to put school first as much as I can, but the level that we play at takes a lot of time to be able to compete at. It seems as if you have to kind of switch between getting enough sleep and getting your schoolwork done which has made for some stressful catching up at some times.”  

As the thought of past schoolwork brought upon bad memories,

Time management is necessary for success in competing after high school former Texas Tech basketball player Michi Atkins said.

“I had to learn rather quickly that I was responsible for managing my time, and I had to learn a different dimension of discipline,” Atkins said. “I had the mindset of I’m going to have fun, come in whenever I want to sleep in and neglect my academic responsibilities. At the end of the first semester, my GPA was failing, and it was in that moment that I realized I had to make academics a priority if I wanted the opportunity to continue playing collegiate basketball.”

Although he is eager to take on track at Abilene Christian University next year, senior Hayden Norwich said knowing personal limits is crucial for overall success.

“Throughout high school, I’ve put myself through some tough classes that I shouldn’t have put myself through knowing that I wouldn’t have the time to truly stay focused on,” Norwich said. “I honestly and truly wish that I would’ve gotten it changed instead of borderline passing the classes. I’m not ready to go and compete against college athletes, but hey, who said I couldn’t go in and put up a fight against them because I know dang well I can.”  

With retirement in full swing, former Texas Tech women’s basketball head coach Marsha Sharp sat down to speak about Michi Atkins and the athletes she previously led.   

“I wanted to make sure the culture of our program was as much about academics as it was athletics,” Sharp said. “During the time when I coached, there weren’t that many opportunities for women to play after college. So, it was always my goal to make sure that they had a great experience playing basketball in college, but they also left with a degree so that they would be able to go out and do the things that they wanted to do for the rest of their lives.”