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MLC multi-sport athletes juggle academics, athletics

Martin Luther College student-athletes Anna Treder and Joey Behm know all too well about the struggles of juggling academics and Division III college sports.

However, both Treder and Behm are among a number of student-athletes who play not one, but two sports at the college.

Treder is a junior at MLC who is a secondary Spanish and elementary double major. She attended California Lutheran High School in Wildomar, California, where she competed in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She manages to balance a busy academic schedule with athletics. She competes on the both the volleyball and basketball teams at the college and she admits it can be hectic at times, especially during the month of October.

“One challenge that comes from playing two sports is time management,” she said. “October is an especially difficult month because basketball season is starting, and volleyball season is at a crucial time of conference play. Also, it can be intimidating to start attending practices regularly after the rest of the team has already been practicing for a month. However, I still feel welcomed and loved every time. Both coaches and players are extremely supportive.”

Behm, meanwhile, is a senior majoring in Pre-Seminary studies and he’s studying to become a pastor. He attended Kettle Moraine Lutheran in Jackson, Wisconsin, where he played soccer, basketball and baseball. At MLC, he plays baseball and basketball.

“On top of your sports schedules, you have to remain faithful to your academic responsibilities as well. Using your time wisely is a must. Another challenge would be that you want to be dedicated to both of your sports. You want to be getting extra shots up for basketball and taking extra swings for baseball, but you have to balance both. Joey Behm, senior at Martin Luther College

Like Treder, Behm said that time management is always a challenge.

“Both teams have workouts, open gyms, or practices for most of the school year, so playing two sports is certainly a commitment,” he said. “On top of your sports schedules, you have to remain faithful to your academic responsibilities as well. Using your time wisely is a must. Another challenge would be that you want to be dedicated to both of your sports. You want to be getting extra shots up for basketball and taking extra swings for baseball, but you have to balance both. Much of this balance comes from realizing that working out for one sport naturally helps you in the other sport by increasing athleticism [and] decision making.”

Treder said that it’s hard to compete in practice and then come back to her room and concentrate on homework.

“My schedule is definitely very tiring,” Treder said. “Most days I come back to my room and crash hard once I am done with my homework. Every morning I pray that God allows me to get the things that need to be done completed and that he gives me the strength and patience to get through the whole day.”

This past year was extremely difficult because of the pandemic. Both Treder and Behm were happy to be able to come back and compete.

Martin Luther College setter Anna Treder has 184 set assists so far this season for the Knights in volleyball and averaged 3.9 points per game last year for the basketball team.

“The seasons were definitely different,” Behm said. “We didn’t play any non-conference games for basketball and we didn’t go on our normal Florida Spring Training Trip for baseball, but I would say both teams were just thankful to be playing. Many schools had to cancel their seasons, so to be playing at all was something we didn’t take for granted.”

The two of them work a lot on conditioning during the offseason.

“In the summer, I mostly just focus on lifting and conditioning,” Treder said. “I try to put my body in the best position to prevent injury and help recover from old injuries. I also would try to shoot three times a week after my lifting. Towards the end of July and early August, I typically would then either serve or set to get ready for volleyball.”

Behm also competes in amateur baseball during the summer.

“I tend to practice both of them during the summer,” he said. “For basketball, I have played in various leagues over the years. Otherwise, I usually just go to a nearby gym to shoot by myself or with some friends. For baseball, I play on a Townball team during the summer, which helps me to keep throwing and seeing live pitching all summer long.”

And while both of them agree that it can be a challenge, they are both thankful for the reward at the end.

“One of the best rewards for me is all of the awesome teammates I’ve had over the years,” Behm said.

“I’ve had the opportunity to grow close to so many guys in both basketball and baseball, and those friendships extend well beyond sports. While being able to spend time training for one specific sport would be nice, another reward is being able to compete in games for most of the year. There is hardly an off-season, so there are always games and road trips to look forward to.”

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