To compete or not to compete: athletes share reasons why


Santiago Cuevas

Junior Portia Carrera competes at the CCIW conference championship held at St. James Farm in Wheaton, Il. on Oct. 30.

Said Nonoal

Senior Garrett Craig used to find himself protecting the quarterback during “Friday night lights,” but nowadays Craig finds himself hitting the books. 

Craig was raised in the football culture, playing it his entire life. Throughout high school, Craig would find himself spending most of his time outside of the classroom at practice or at the gym. 

However, even though football was a big part of his youth, the idea of playing football at the collegiate level was something he was not interested in.

“The only reason why I would have played college football was to play division I football. That was the only reason why I would continue. I wasn’t very passionate about it, and I had gotten injured a lot. If playing football was not going to pay for my school, I wasn’t interested,” Craig said.

Besides the prospect of playing football at the division I level, Craig says one of the only reasons he entertained the idea of playing college football was because his dad wanted him to. 

However, Craig had lost the passion of playing football and decided to focus on academics rather than prioritizing athletics. 

“I was just exhausted, tired from [football]. And I wanted to focus on being a student, because my whole life previously was focused on athletics,” Craig said.

Meanwhile, junior Portia Carrera found a passion for cross country and track during her youth and decided to run with it in college. 

Carrera started running seven years ago and has loved it ever since. Carrera enjoyed running in the mountain trails back home in Colorado. For her, running became an escape from her daily routine. Carrera has become not only a part of a team, but a part of a community within the sport of running. 

“I thought running was very freeing and fun, and I really loved the people in the team who were super nice, cheerful and happy. And I love running in nature,” Carrera said.

One of the best aspects of cross country and track for Carrera has been bonding with her teammates. 

For cross country, this not only includes the women’s cross country team, but the men’s team as well. 

In fact, the team aspect of athletics is the biggest thing Craig misses the most about playing football.

“I more so miss the guys and the camaraderie of playing football than I do miss the sport,” Craig said.

Despite differences regarding athletics in college, both Carrera and Craig had their own reasons for choosing to come to Augie.

Craig’s main objective in evaluating a school was the academic value to help him pursue an English degree. 

Although Augie had flown him for a visit to play for the football team, upon meeting the English department, he decided Augie was the perfect fit for him.

For Carerra, finding a community to become a part of was a priority. Carrera says many of her closest friends are a part of the cross country and track teams. 

Augie stood out as a school that did not push its prospective students to prioritize athletics over academics.

Despite differences in athletic commitments at Augie, both have found their place on campus. 

Whether or not athletes choose to continue their sports or pursue other activities, Augie remains a home to many former and current athletes.