The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Freshmen student-athletes adjust to college sports

First-year athletes face welcome challenges
First-year student-athletes Boyarski and Cinnamo are adapting to new challenges.

With the semester underway and fall sports in full swing, first-year student-athletes are adapting. Whether on the field, court or in the classroom first-year student-athletes face new challenges.

Two of those students, Mya Cinnamo and Colin Boyarski, are learning how to balance passion for their sport and academic pursuits while adjusting to college. 

Cinnamo has taken the courts as an outside hitter for the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team. 

Cinnamo said she has played volleyball for years. She said the transition from high school to college sports has been a welcome challenge.

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“Obviously it is very different, but you have all the time in the world,” Cinnamo said. “You just have to plan it out right.” 

Cinnamo said the team already shares a bond with one another.

“They’re a group of people you can be yourself around,” Cinnamo said. “We’re very competitive and will do anything to win. We all share a big sense of pride.” 

Cinnamo said one of the reasons she chose UW-Eau Claire was due to the volleyball coaching staff calling them “one of a kind.”

Courage and determination are two themes Cinnamo said she has seen throughout the volleyball program and herself. 

“We want to do the best for the people around us and to keep moving forward and grow as a team,” she said. 

In a new setting of college life, Cinnamo said she is thankful for the opportunities and for the support she has had in her athletic journey. 

“It’s important to recognize it’s okay to fail if you’re failing forward,” Cinnamo said.

Outside of the gym on the football field, Boyarski, a first-year running back is also adapting to his new role as a college athlete.

Although the game of football is nothing new, Boyarski said college athletics presents unique challenges.

“It’s a new role of doing everything you can to help the team,” Boyarski said. “Whether it is helping someone else out instead of doing something for yourself, it’s all for the success of the team.”

For Boyarski, football is more than yards and touchdowns, he said it is also about family.

“Football has been in my family my whole life,” he said. “ My dad played, my brother played and I grew up watching the sport. It’s really special to me to keep that tradition going.”

He said his experience on the UW-Eau Claire football team has helped him grow not only as a player, but as a person and a student.

“Our coach says being a student comes before athletics,” Boyarski said. “Being an athlete really helps in the classroom, especially when it comes to work ethic. We only have sports for the next few years of our lives, but as students what we learn will transition into the next phase of our lives.”

The football coaches have a phrase they share with the team: “Golds vs. everyone.” Boyarski said the statement has helped the team grow a genuine bond. 

“It means it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, just be the best version of yourself,” he said. “The brotherhood we have as a team is incredible. The team is just one big family, the coaches have done a great job getting us there.”

Now heading into the second half of their seasons, Cinnamo and Boyarski said they look to continue to grow.

“I’ve learned so much in such a short time,” Cinnamo said. “I can’t wait to see what I will learn and can learn from this program.”

Weiss can be reached at [email protected]

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