Big adjustment awaits prep athletes in the college ranks

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By Steve Smith

Ask anyone who’s made the transition from high school to college, and they will tell you about the necessary adjustments.

Even though creature comforts often make the trip to a dorm, some other staples of everyday living — an alarm clock, study habits, laundry duties and where to find food — make the trip, too.

Making the move from high school to college athletics entails its own set of changes. In Zach Boyd’s case, it was the pace of the game, not only on the field but in the weight room and the meeting rooms.

“There’s no waiting around like in high school,” he said. “You have to know how to do your job quick and effectively, or you won’t see the field. Being a college athlete, there is no regular college life. You can’t do the same thing the average student.”

Boyd made the adjustment – eventually.

“Adjusting to college life was difficult – attending classes, doing homework, eating correctly, and getting enough sleep, all whine trying to compete in a sport,” he said. “You can either sink or swim. So I grew up quick and found a system that works for me.”

Overall, Boyd said the experience was “much more than I expected.”

“The expectations of everyone are very high. That’s the reason the team is successful,” he said. CSU-Pueblo was 11-1 overall, 9-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The only loss came in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

“The coaching staff will take me places I can’t take myself,” Boyd added. “My teammates will be lifelong friends of mine. So far, the game of football has taught me many life lessons. and I couldn’t be happier at a school than CSU-Pueblo.”


Javis Arellano

Javis Arellano wound up at Fort Hays (Kan.) State to play soccer. The Tigers were 12-5-3 in the fall. He said it was “hard” to be a student-athlete, in part because he was injured and was a redshirt.

“You invest more time in your sport and try to grow as a player and as person,” he said. “The frame of error is very slim because, at this level, not everybody is able to compete. For me, my first year, personally was a lot of frustration. A few injuries held me back in preseason, and that’s why it wasn’t enough for me to be able to compete in games.”

Being a redshirt changed his role on the team.

“As a redshirt, you get to practice but you’re only there to get better at times and not help the team win games,” Arellano said. “It was frustrating. But there’s things you can’t control. Injuries happen in sports all the time. You always just have to stay positive and move forward.”

Arellano surrendered his senior season at Fort Lupton to move to the Colorado Rush U18 Academy team. The move helped him prepare for college-level soccer.

“It did, it made a huge difference,” he said. “For me, that change didn’t quite affect me as it did for other players. I was already used to high level training and games in the academy. I don’t know, I just think I was unlucky getting injured. And from there it was hard recovering in such little time to be on point for the season.”

Contact Sports Editor Steve Smith at ssmith@metrowestnewspapers.com.