Falcon Sports
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D-I Dedication

5 AM wake up call. Practice. School. Practice again. Homework. Sleep. Repeat. This routine takes dedication and motivation that most have a hard time maintaining. But for some, this is what brings them fulfillment and satisfaction. This work is not only a routine, but a lifestyle. Playing a sport is their path for these Falcons; […]

5 AM wake up call. Practice. School. Practice again. Homework. Sleep. Repeat. This routine takes dedication and motivation that most have a hard time maintaining. But for some, this is what brings them fulfillment and satisfaction. This work is not only a routine, but a lifestyle. Playing a sport is their path for these Falcons; especially when it helps them pay for college. The Talon talked to Katie Phipps (’20), Max Martinez (’20), and Lauren Towne (’20) to get a better understanding what the life of a Division I athlete is really like and how hard work really does pay off. 

Katie Phipps (middle) pictured with her rowing teammates at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.

Katie Phipps plans on attending San Diego State in the fall of 2020 under a rowing scholarship. Her rowing journey began her sophomore year in the fall 2017. Prior to rowing, Katie used to be a gymnast, so she was already used to the high intensity environment. The idea of rowing was foreign to Katie but she took a leap of faith and tried it out. 

“I needed to get into something because I was growing bored and I heard about the sport. I was drawn in by the competitive spirit each girl had and the success that arose from the sport”

Katie rows for Sacramento Capital Crew and practice at the Sacramento State Aquatic center, waking up before school at 5:30 AM about two times a week to train and lift. After her long day of school, she goes to the aquatic center to row for three long hours. Katie is my best friend and not once have I ever heard her complain. In fact, she is in love with this sport. 

“I’m a pretty competitive and determined person, so this really keeps me going. My coaches constantly push me and I push myself. I love the extra challenge and achievements that follow — it’s the best feeling.”

Katie and her team competing at a crew meet.

Her dream school has always been SDSU, so she was thrilled when they reached out to her  

“When SDSU expressed interest, I was ecstatic. There was no second guessing this decision — it was my goal and I reached it.”

Max Martinez pictured getting ready to catch a ball.

Max Martinez has been committed to Kansas University for baseball since junior year. His dad played in college and loves the sport, so he influenced Max immensely. He started playing ball at the age of five, but got to the real deal when he was twelve. 

“It was actually kind of funny when I made the decision to pursue baseball. I was at In-n-Out and some random guy encouraged me to keep playing, so I was like, you know, you’re right.”  

His intention has always been to play professional baseball, and college baseball is obviously a part of the journey. He has worked incredibly hard to achieve this scholarship. His long days of practice, school, training, and extra hitting has paid off.  

“It’s pretty tiring some days, but in the end, I’m doing what I love and for a good reason.”

Max is a well rounded player since he is prosperous at almost every position on the field. At Kansas, he plans on hitting and playing at centerfield, as this is where he finds most success. 

Max hitting a home run.

Although he got many offers, he knew Kansas was his future home as soon as he got the opportunity to learn more about the school and specifically the coach. 

“Playing at Kansas gives me the opportunity to play in one of the best conferences in baseball. I mean there’s an average of 2,000 people at each game and we’re sponsored by Adidas, so I get cool merch,” he says. “The coach is legendary. He came over for Taco Tuesday, called me stud, and gave me the bro hug. He really builds good relations with the players.”

Max’s adventure to Kansas has not taken flight yet, but you can catch Max on the diamond this spring as CB baseball takes the field. And if that’s not enough of Max for you, catch him on ESPN in spring of 2021 as a Jayhawk.

Lauren Towne punts the ball after saving a goal.

Lauren Towne will be playing as a goalie on the Gonzaga soccer team in the fall of 2020. 

Lauren’s skills are undeniably impeccable as a goalie, so it was no shock when she got the scholarship offer from Gonzaga. 

Her soccer career started at a young age just like about every other kid in America. She started at the age of five and fell in love, so she stuck with it. Lauren refers to the soccer field as a home and her safe place. On the field, she is her best self because she knows this is where she is supposed to be. 

“I continue to play every day because I love it. No matter how much work it is or how stressful is can be, this is my purpose.” 

Attending Gonzaga has been Lauren’s goal since day one. Her countless hours of hard work have gone towards this opportunity, and her main focus is to constantly progress as a better player and teammate. 

“Playing in college was always a goal of mine. I couldn’t imagine life without soccer, so I’ve always wanted to play at the next level including college.”

This journey has not always been easy for Lauren as she has had a few doubts about the sport due to the amount of stress it has brought her. Nevertheless, her parents and brother have supported her along this journey. They have gone to almost every game and tournament to cheer her on.

Lauren pictured throwing the ball across the field.

“My family are my biggest fans. I would not be here or anywhere without them. They never doubted me and always picked me up when I was down. They showed me soccer was worthwhile.” 

Lauren’s love for soccer grows more every day. Not only is she an amazing goalie, but also an excellent teammate. She is the hype woman for her teammates and also classmates at the rallies and games as a member of Falcon Force. Every drop of sweat and tears has been worth it as it has given her the chance to live out her dream.

Lauren has one more comment. “Come out and support the Lady Falcons tear up the field!”

These student athletes have represented hard work, dedication, and determination. This D-I athlete lifestyle requires endless effort, but Katie, Max, and Lauren make it look easy.

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