June 16th, 2011

"20 Questions" With Sam Schmeltzer

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


"20 Questions" With Sam Schmeltzer
photo from Thomas More College athletics

Thomas More College senior takes on the Questions

Thomas More College baseball senior Sam Schmeltzer received one of the most prestigious honors that a student-athlete can receive in 2011, as third baseman was named a Capital One Academic All-American.

A Biology major, Schmeltzer has maintained a 3.5 GPA while contributing as the Saints' leading RBI man during this most recent season. Schmeltzer's other honors have included the All-President's Athletic Conference Second Team and ABCA All-Region Team.

He recently took part in the CatholicSportsNet.com/LouisvilleCatholicSports.com weekly "20 Questions" segment, and his answers are below.

1. How did you choose the college you attend?

When I was looking at different colleges the main thing I looked for was if I could see myself going there and being comfortable. When I went on different visits the size of the campus, baseball coach, current teammates of the baseball team, educational faculty, and location of the campus all played different factors. The main thing that made me choose Thomas More College was its close location to my home, the coaching staff, the academic scholarship money the school offered me, and Thomas More had the area of study that I was interesting in. Mainly I just had a really good feeling about the whole campus and its personnel. 

2. What is your favorite part of college athletics?

The friendships that it has brought me. There are many teammates that I am very good friends with and our friendship will last a lifetime. 

3. How do you balance academics and your sport?

With my major being biology I had a huge work load during school. Balancing my school work and baseball was very challenging at times. The main thing that helped me with the balance was making sure when I had free time I worked on school work first before I did anything else. Planning my week ahead on Sundays also helped me a lot with time management, and making time blocks for certain days when I knew I had tests that week. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun in college as well. It’s not all work and no play but with my experience there was definitely more work than play. The amount of work you have to balance really depends on the major you choose. In my opinion what sets apart student athletes from regular students is a student athlete’s time management ability, and this balance is very valuable when it comes to a job and a career. 

4. What is the hardest part about being a student athlete?

Managing your time well so you have time for your school work and all the other things you want to do. There is always something to do in every part of the year. There is really no off season for student athletes in any way. Staying on top of your school work is the hardest part but I feel if you are organized it is not very hard to manage your time. 

5. What do you do for fun when you aren’t in class or at practice?

I spend time with my girlfriend and friends. In my down time I played a lot of video games against my roommates, our favorite being Tiger Woods PGA Tour. I’ve only lost at it once and my roommate cheated during his victory. 

6. What is the best characteristic that you bring to your teammates?

My positive attitude. I always try to look at the bright side of things. During a tough practice at the beginning of the season one of my teammates told me that no matter how bad of a day you’re having you just have to tell yourself to smile. I took that mentality to heart for the whole season. I also have the mentality that baseball should always be fun but at the same time I made sure the team got their stuff done. 

7. What does your team do as a pregame ritual?

We always pray before each game. During the season each team member would touch a picture of the stadium where the D-III College World Series is held in the dugout before a practice or a game. The DIII College World Series was our goal for the season and our motivation. 

8. What music do you listen to before a game?

Different people on the team have a wide variety of tastes in music so I tried to make a playlist that had a little bit of something for everyone on it at the start of the season. Most of the music was rock music ranging from 70’s rock to present day rock music. I also put some country, techno, and oldies music on the playlist as well. The oldies music was mainly for the coaching staff. We try to stay away from rap music because all the lyrics of the songs have to be clean so they can be played in between innings. 

9. What role does your faith play throughout school, games, and practice?

My faith plays a huge role in all three. I have prayed in all three environments. Like I said before we always pray before each game. I have prayed in school especially before a very hard test, and I have prayed in practice that the team doesn’t mess up so we don’t have to run. Joking aside I believe God plays a role in every aspect of my life and I thank Him every day for the life and people in it that he has given me. 

10. Favorite pro team to watch?

Cincinnati Reds 

11. What is your coach’s best quality?

His competitiveness. Coach Hetzer hates to lose and throughout the four years I have spent around him this really motivates him to do his job at a high level. His hatred for losing isn’t the only reason why he is motivated and good at his job though. He also does it for his players. After playing for Coach Hetzer for four years there has not been one time where I have questioned the amount of effort he puts into the team or the team’s unity. He has always given 100 percent to his team. 

12. Why is the team’s captain so important to the team?

The captain is important to the team because he or she is the person who molds the team together. I feel that a good captain of a team shows his or her qualities through the team. I always tried to lead by example for the Saints because I am not a very vocal person when it comes to leadership. Throughout  the season I did become more vocal but I believe if the team sees their captain working hard they will work hard as well. The other seniors around the captain may be just as important to the team as the captain as well. I had a great group of seniors that supported me and helped me lead the team, and I couldn’t have done it without them. 

13. How does your team handle defeat? What do you say to your team after a tough loss?

As a team I believe we handle defeat in a positive way. We do this by looking at what we did wrong to lose the game and then taking those things to work on in practice the next day. After a loss we also look at the things we did right during the game. I believe that the way a team handles defeat determines how good the team can be. If it’s handled in a negative way then the team will not be successful. After a tough loss I would always try to point out one of two things that went wrong in the game, but I would always tell my teammates to stay positive and stick together. One of the main things I can remember saying this season was that “we had to learn from our mistakes but this game is done and we get to play a different game tomorrow.” 

14. What is your favorite pregame snack?

Peanut butter crackers 

15. Favorite movie quote?

“Life is like a box of chocolates, your never know what you’re gonna get.” - Forest Gump

16. What advice do you have for young student athletes as they decide where to go to college?

Don’t pick a school just because of its name or its reputation. I would also pick a school where you think you have a chance to play within your first two baseball seasons. Visit as many school as you can and really picture yourself living there for four years. Lastly, pick a major that you are generally interested in and do not pick a major that you don’t like but would like to get into because it has a large salary. You have to like what you do to do a good job at it most of the time. 

17. Best smart phone app?

I don’t have a smart phone but the best one I’ve seen from my friends is the ESPN App. 

18. How do you think your involvement in college sports and academics will benefit you when you begin to look for a job?

It will show future employers that I have a very good work ethic because if takes hard work to play a sport and go to school. Playing a sport will also show employers that I have good stress and time management skills which are helpful when performing any job. College sports will also help me with networking because of the people and friends you meet while playing that sport. Through networking it will make finding a job much easier. 

19. What does it mean to play athletics for a catholic college?

I am actually a Lutheran but the two religions are very similar. Regarding me playing athletics at a  catholic college is not much different than playing them at a regular college because I would be a very religious person even if I didn’t go to a religious college. I will say that I feel like faith is incorporated into the sport more at a religious school than at a regular school.

20. What is your proudest athletic achievement?

Being a Capital One Academic All-American

 

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