Celebration of newfound independence

Freshman athletes ready to start new chapter in their lives

Brandon Bee and Daniel Newman

Redshirt Sophomore Samea Aljundi and Sophomore Makena Rietz juggle a soccer ball during practice. Soccer is practicing in groups of five or less following COVID-19 guidelines. (Brandon Bee)

Everyone remembers the day they moved into their college dorm for the first time, and all the feelings that flooded their brains on that day. Excitement and nervousness can well up inside a person as they move to a new place, full of newfound opportunities and a chance to discover what life is like independently.

Sarah Brachvogel and Sophie Beadle are two freshmen who got to experience this for the first time this year, and are now experiencing the challenges of being a student athlete.

Brachvogel, from Mukilteo, Washington, is an outside hitter and an opposite for the Seattle Pacific University Falcons volleyball team. This year isn’t the first time she has experienced SPU volleyball. In 2016, she attended the SPU Volleyball camp and won the Falcon Award for her achievements in sportsmanship, determination, and tough play.

Beadle, from Rainier, Washington, plays outside midfielder for the SPU Falcons Women’s soccer team.

Due to COVID-19, no sports can be played in the GNAC until at least January 7. For Brachvogel and Beadle, they are getting a different taste of what it’s like to come into the athletics program. Sports teams are continuing to practice, but with limited group activities.

Although practice looks different than years past, Brachvogel praised the coaches and the staff for being able to help them get integrated into the team. Brachvogel says that they workout and practice in groups of five or less and also do weekly team zoom sessions.

“It is really interesting to see how we’re already starting to grow as players and people,” Brachvogel said. “Everyone gets along on the team and everyone loves each other, so it’s really cool to see that continue to play out.”

While freshman athletes are adjusting to their new teammates and coaches, they are also adjusting to a new school system and lifestyle.

There is more work in college than there was for Brachvogel in high school, but she enjoys that she is taking classes where she will learn something more relevant to her future goals.

“I like how there is more time to actually do the assignments and understand what I am learning and enjoy what I am learning rather than just getting through the classes in highschool. It’s also really interesting to see how my interests are being cultivated in the classes I am taking and I don’t have to do a lot of busy work,” Brachvogel said.

Beadle is finding more independence as she enters this next step in her life. Going into college, she gets to make her own decisions and go down her career path while playing soccer.

“I like the independence most of the time,” Beadle said. “Sometimes it is challenging when it’s almost too independent, when it’s on you to take notes, write down everything when it’s due. For the most part I enjoy being independent but there is definitely some challenges along the way.”

Coach Arby Busey of the SPU women’s soccer team praised the freshman class because of their seamless transition into the team this year. Busey noted the difficulty of the atmosphere that the freshmen have to go through with the coronavirus and the college experience.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about them this year,” Busey said. “With everything they have gone through over the past 5-6 months, I had concerns. But they are amazing. They have hit the ground running.”

In order to keep the team more connected, Busey and his staff are trying to have all the practice pods on the field at the same time on Fridays.

Beadle and Brachvogel are excited to practice and play games again, and a schedule is being worked out for their sports to be played in the spring. In the meantime, teams have to prepare for what is to come when they are called to start competing again.

“I really just want to play a game, I haven’t played a game in so long,” Beadle said. “I can’t even fathom the idea of playing against other people right now, so that will be exciting when that happens.”