Senior student athletes achieve success

Silas Gilklay

Senior athletes that have contributed much to their programs in the past four years will be bidding farewell to collegiate sports this fall. Many athletes have played their last matches, and some are expected to play their last later this month. After three and a half years of incredible highs and lows, these players are facing the end of their sports careers.

Three outstanding student-athletes who have been regular starting players in their respective teams include women’s basketball forward Lauren Hall, men’s soccer defender Grant Reuter, and football defensive lineman David Mason.

Hall is a well-accomplished student-athlete who has given her time and commitment to playing college basketball and making meaningful connections with her teammates. After years of setting records and making her mark on the court, there is a lot to be proud of.

“I definitely think that over the past four years, I’ve accomplished some things that I’m very proud of,” Hall said. “I have been on the all conference team, I broke a school record for the most three-pointers in the game, led the conference team in rebounds, and had like the highest three-point percentage in one year.”

Hall comes from a basketball family, thus inheriting the game from her parents and reliving that legacy as captain of the women’s basketball team. She recalled her coaches pushing her to succeed, and the relationships she forged on and off the court with teammates seemed to be the turning point of her career.

“Both my parents played for Augustana, so I definitely have a high basketball IQ and the coaches helped me too,” Hall said. “They pushed me and taught me in ways that not a lot of coaches have. They’re the reason why I am the way I am and they’ve definitely helped me grow.”

For a center back in soccer, defense is an art that requires a strong mentality, vision and discipline. Reuter embodies those characteristics because he’s been a wall to reckon within Augie’s defense.

Reuter asserted that being a student athlete has transformed him because of the values of his coaching staff and teammates. He expressed gratitude to his coach for overseeing his success on and off the field.

“How I feel about playing for Augie over the years is just making a good group of friends, learning a lot about myself and being in touch with my coach helped me balance my classes and commitment to the team,” Reuter said. “My coach obviously has been helping me out with classes and grades. It’s helping me stay on top of things and staying organized.”

The 6’2’’ centerback has bagged an enormous amount of playing time in his years at Augie. The knack of his own defensive character, composure and work ethic have earned numerous 90 minute appearances over the years. Reuter has totaled 2,862 minutes in two consecutive seasons, making him the most capped player with full game time in the current squad.

“I definitely feel accomplished, because coming into the freshman year the first day of practice, I was so shocked at the speed of play and the physicality of it and I didn’t expect to even get any minutes during my freshman year,” Reuter said. “I’d say the biggest secret for me was treating practice like it was a game every single day.”

David Mason, one of the biggest assets in Augie’s football defense, is well known for making blocks and keeping the backline safe from intrusion. Mason, who was a division I player at Valparaiso University, transferred to Augie four years ago and established himself as the iron man in defence.

He admitted that the division III level helped him to be competitive and maintain a satisfactory academic status. Mason also gleaned some of his success from his role model, a fellow African American, George Annang, whose jersey number (99) and position he inherited.

“I feel like it’s been a fun experience because I’ve had the chance to play the game I love at division III level where they really stress academics as well as the competitive atmosphere,” Mason said. “Team wise, I feel accomplished that we were able to grow together — we did have a young team when I first came in, and we were able to stick around and really grow into leadership roles on the team.”

As these players prepare for life after college, they hope to give back to their community and work in different positions in their respective fields. Senior Mason will start a full time job with Deloitte and senior Lauren Hall will be hoping to land a middle school teaching job and a coaching position.