Keeping their Eye on the Ball…Scholar Athletes in the CoB
Gifted with both intellect and athletic ability, College of Business scholar athletes somehow manage to find the right balance among academics, sports, and fun. According to Dr. Michael Giorlando, director of Athletics and Wellness and Head Men’s Basketball Coach, “Their time at the university is about long hours spent at practice, school pride, team play, competition, and leadership—all in addition to maintaining exemplary grade point averages.” The five students we have selected to appear in our cover story all are examples of students who take the college experience to a different level.
Kaitlyn Broadbent, Accounting and Finance, Volleyball
A Sacramento, Calif., native, Kaitlyn Broadbent started at Loyola in fall 2010 and has managed to be on the Dean’s List every semester since her arrival. No easy feat considering a schedule that includes daily three-hour practices and 30-plus scheduled games. At times, that game schedule means being on the road and missing classes. This future CPA says, “I am constantly working ahead in classes while travelling. If I get behind it is very difficult to catch up.”
Broadbent says the best thing about being a student athlete is the encouragement she gets from her coaches to be a better student and the encouragement she gets from her professors to be a better athlete. “The professors are very helpful and work with us to make sure we are living up to our academic potential.”
Broadbent ventured away from volleyball this summer interning with the Sacramento River Cats Triple-A baseball team. She enjoyed the opportunity to meet a lot of great people, including some of the players, while putting her academic skills to work. Following graduation, she plans to get her master’s degree in accounting and sit for the CPA. In the meantime, catch her in The Den on the courts.
Manuel “Roco” Gandara, Finance/International Business, Basketball
Travelling all the way from his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to study and play basketball at Loyola is an indication of Manuel “Roco” Gandara’s love for the sport and desire to earn an outstanding education. Having to miss time with family was made a bit easier last year when Loyola’s Men’s Basketball team won the SSAC Conference Championship. As Gandara put it, “That was the long awaited payoff that makes working so hard throughout the year worth it.”
The best thing for Gandara about his time on the court is the longstanding, unbreakable relationships he has developed with his teammates and coaches. “I’ve met some of my best friends in this basketball program. On days when practice might seem too hard, my teammates are always there to encourage and challenge me. The struggle we all go through builds a bond much stronger than many others have with their friends.”
Gandara spent his time away from the court this summer interning at Northwestern Mutual learning more about the field of finance which fits nicely with his post-graduation plans to work in the financial services industry. A few years of work and then he plans to pursue an M.B.A. and perhaps even a doctorate. His hobbies include scuba diving and snorkeling and of course, making time to visit with family back home.
Cristiana Krtalic, Economics/International Business, Tennis
Playing both singles and doubles tennis for the Wolf Pack keeps Cristiana Krtalic busy most days. Classes, daily practice, and working as a writing tutor at Loyola’s Writing Across the Curriculum Lab can make time management a real challenge. Krtalic says, “As long as I plan in advance and schedule all my activities carefully, I have plenty of time for studying and some time for well…just goofing off occasionally.”
The team’s 17-game schedule keeps them travelling between Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Krtalic likes her active lifestyle and the outdoors, so tennis seems to be the perfect sport for her. As she commented, “Running around the tennis court five days a week at practice is a great way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors all at the same time; although, it does get a bit hot here in New Orleans.” Originally from New York, N.Y., she is a bit used to a colder climate. But none-the-less, she says she is playing better tennis than ever before and is excited about that.
As an economics/international business double major, it is not surprising to hear that Krtalic’s future plans include a career that will involve critical thinking and creative endeavors in some interesting locations. Until then, she is happy to be a part of Loyola’s CoB and tennis team.
Braden LaRuffa, Management/Marketing, Baseball
Hailing from Smithtown, N.Y., Braden LaRuffa has played for Loyola’s baseball team since fall 2009. An infielder, LaRuffa says the highlight of his career at Loyola was playing in his first game on the road. “It was a good feeling to know that all that hard work and dedication paid off.”
As with most student athletes, LaRuffa cites finding that balance between school and team play as difficult. Members of the baseball team spend at least a two-week stretch on the road 4 out of 7 days, potentially missing almost two weeks of classes. To counter this stretch, LaRuffa makes sure that he uses class time productively and stays ahead of assignments whenever possible.
LaRuffa considers himself fortunate to be around the sport every day at the college level and constantly reminds himself of his good fortune. He is thinking about marrying his love of baseball with his academic accomplishments for his professional career. “I am considering going for my master’s degree in statistics and working as a graduate assistant for a college baseball program.” He got a taste of this over the summer when he worked as a Florida operations intern for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wherever he ends up, his time as part of the Wolf Pack will always stay with him.
William Maye, Economics, Track and Field
William Maye discovered his love for running his senior year in high school and says the highlight for him has been making the Loyola team as a freshman walk-on. “I truly appreciate that Coach Canegitta gave me the opportunity to continue running and improve in this sport.”
From Andover, Mass., Maye maintained a busy schedule his freshman year at Loyola that consisted of classes and studying, team competition, work study, community service, and student government. Maye says he is always “balancing the time required to excel in academics, contribute to the team’s success, satisfy other commitments, and keep up with my friends. The expectations are much higher in both the classroom and on the track than in high school, so there is never enough time to do everything as well as I would like.”
As a sophomore, Maye is still early on in his academic studies but as of now is thinking about a career in public service and public policy with plans for graduate school and maybe even a college teaching career. Of course one never knows how things will turn out, as is true in Maye’s case. A varsity ice hockey player all through high school, he experienced multiple shoulder dislocations and surgery which convinced him that playing ice hockey in college was not the path for him. “I look at those tough times in ice hockey now as a blessing because if I had still been playing hockey I would not have chosen to come here for school and would have missed all the unique experiences Loyola has to offer.”