Exploring Athletics at a College Level

Q&A with two ELHS alumni who went to college for their sport at different levels


Levesque pitching in game at UConn on on March 27, 2022.


Trystan Levesque

Levesque is a first year student at the University of Rhode Island. He is majoring in health studies and is a left handed pitcher/utility at the Division I level for the URI baseball team. So far, he has recorded 41 strikeouts over 45.1 innings pitched.

VS: Walk me through a typical day during your athletic season in a Division I college.

TL: I’d say we have to be done with class by around 12 p.m. […] Straight from there, [you] rush down to the athletic building to the locker room [and] change to go lift. Then, you go work out for an hour [to] an hour and a half. Straight from there, we head to the baseball field and practice for about three hours. Along with that, we also have to fit in the food aspects. We have to bring snacks and stay hydrated, so we’re always pounding water throughout the day. We’re also meeting with our academic advisors and making sure we’re staying on top of all that stuff too.

VS:  Describe a little bit about the traveling aspect.

TL: [The] beginning of the season is probably the most hectic. Our first game is now Feb. 17. So, we’ll fly out on Thursday morning, [and] we’ll fly out of Providence. Thursday night we will practice, and we’ll have team dinner. [Then,] we’ll all go to our rooms, go to bed, [and] wake up in the morning. Then, we will all have breakfast together as a team. We’ll head to the field, have a short practice at the field before the game, and we’ll have a night game. Friday will be a night game and so that’ll most likely be the day that I pitch. Then, we’ll finish up, go back to the hotel, have dinner again, wake up, and do the exact same thing for Saturday and Sunday. Then we get back to school on Sunday night [or] early Monday morning. You’ll have class for two days, and then you do the whole thing again. It’s like that for the first four weeks of the year.

VS: How many hours do you typically practice each day?

TL: I would say probably an hour and a half for lift. Then, maybe like a three-hour practice. Sometimes […] we also do our own personal work. So, five, six, or seven hours in a day on average.

VS: What do you think the balance is like between athletics and academics?

TL: What’s nice is that at the Division I level it seems like most schools kind of help us out a little more because we’re traveling. We [have] a little bit higher demands in certain aspects. We are [also] able to register for classes before regular students are. I think maybe a week or two weeks before regular students have the option, we’re able to schedule all of our classes and get the exact times that we need so that we can make it to our practices and workouts.

VS: Do you have your own equipment or does the school provide it?

TL: We’re pretty fortunate. The school does provide a lot for us. We get clothes, cleats, bats, bags, and backpacks for class. We get sweatshirts and a whole bunch of stuff. It’s really nice.

VS: Has it ever been difficult to balance academics?

TL: It’s definitely tough. I’d say if we get over at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. every night, then the rest of the night is just for homework. […] Personally, I’m up until 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., and 12 a.m., sometimes every night. And then, as any college student usually does, sometimes I’m up until two or three in the morning studying for a big exam. All of it gets a little tough when we’re on the road. Then, you have to figure out times to study or to do your assignments. We have hour-long bus rides and I’m trying to connect my phone to a hotspot and do all the homework on the bus. It’s the same for everybody. The bus is completely silent. Everybody’s cranking out their homework, listening to music, and just getting their stuff done. Then, we can just be focused for the rest of the weekend on just baseball and work […] on winning.

Malarie Buller

Buller is a first year student at Fitchburg State University. She is double-majoring in exercise science and biology and plays soccer at a Division III level for the school.

Buller practicing at Fitchburg

Viking Saga: Walk me through a typical day during your athletic season in a Division III college.

Malarie Buller: It depends on the day. Some days we have to lift, like early in the morning. [For example,] we have to be there at 6 a.m., and it goes until 7 a.m. Then, I go back. And on those days that I do have classes, I go to my classes and do everything. Then, I’ll go [back] to practice and go back and do homework. It’s really like soccer thing, school thing, soccer thing, and school stuff.

VS: How’s the traveling like with the team to other schools?

MB: It’s really fun actually. Like on the bus rides there, we’re all just doing our own thing. And then as soon as we’re 30 minutes away, we get so hype. We [play] music super loud. Everyone’s jumping around getting ready for the game. It’s kind of annoying when they are far away, though, just because not all the buses are comfortable. Not all the buses have outlets or wifi. Most of them do, though, and that’s really nice. I think our furthest drive was like three hours, but it’s not too bad.

VS: How many hours do you guys typically practice each day?

MB: On days where we have lifts and stuff like that, I’d say probably like four.

VS: Walk me through the practice routine that you guys have.

 MB: We practice every single day except for days that we have games, and then we have off-days on Sunday. Everyone is supposed to get there 30 minutes beforehand just so we can get all equipment ready and everything. In high school, it’s different because they make all the freshmen get all the equipment and stuff. It’s really just an “everyone pulls their weight” type of thing. Like if you didn’t get the gear one day, you’re getting [it] another day. Then, we warm up as a team, and do all different types of stuff. Most of the time, we end practice with some kind of game. [My coach is] really big on meditating. We always meditate after practice, like practicing mindfulness and stuff like that.

VS: Do you have your own equipment or does the school provide it?

MB: All of our like practice gear and everything is supplied to us by the school. Any of the uniforms and everything that’s done through the school [we get,] but anything else we do have to buy. But, we did a lot of fundraising last year and we probably will this year too. They were able to get us all team shoes and stuff like that, which was pretty cool. Not a lot of Division III schools get [that].

VS: Does it ever get difficult to balance academics?

MB: It does, as soon as the season gets really going and midterms get going. You’re spending two hours a day with the team and sometimes more time on top of that because this is, I think, different at my school. But, my coach has a really big emphasis on team bonding stuff. So, we do team dinners and team bonding activities. We did game nights at least once a week. It definitely can get difficult, especially having multiple games a week that are two hours. We [also] talk after, and it does take up a lot of your time, so you really just have to figure out a balance that works.