Why Finals Don’t Translate Into Titles

     

    If you’re a collegiate trainer, strength and conditioning specialist or coach heading into the postseason, finals week is an absolute nightmare. You can prep your team with hundreds of hours of film and walk through your plays till they turn the lights off on you, but if your ace is on the mound worrying about his o-chem final, not much of that will matter. 

    I won’t weigh the merits of the quarter system against the semester system — having three rounds of finals and six rounds of midterms is the worst — but I do think the differences in the academic calendar may have some unintended repercussions when it comes to NCAA postseason performances.     

    This late into spring quarter, I’m sure most UCSD students are aware that their counterparts at Berkeley or San Diego State are one week away from summer. But what does this mean for UCSD athletes?

    Let’s look at the softball team. It was recently announced that the Tritons have snuck into Regionals with an at-large bid. No. 8 UCSD will face CCAA opponent, No. 1 Humboldt this Saturday. The Lumberjacks have final exams scheduled for the following week, May 13 to 17. Meanwhile, UCSD athletes will be just starting week seven, nestled conveniently after midterms and before finals. 

    When asked how finals impact her performance on the field, senior All-Conference soccer selection Gabi Hernandez said she thinks she’s best when she can focus her attention on either school or soccer, but not both.

    “I find it a lot easier to focus on my game when I don’t have school running through the back of my mind, because I, like so many athletes, am competitive on and off the field,” Hernandez said. “I want to excel in both areas, and it makes it a little difficult to give 100 percent in each.”

    Junior member of the men’s volleyball team and All-Academic member Sebastian Brady says not having to worry about finals during competition affords that team an edge.

    “Studying for finals is definitely a disadvantage,” Brady said. “It takes away from sleep and recovery time, it adds stress, and even when you’re practicing, it’s always on your mind. ”

    If what Hernandez and Brady say holds true for the average student-athlete, the UCSD Softball team may just get the extra bump to pull off an upset. Of course, UCSD student-athletes aren’t average. In 2012, UCSD cracked the top 10 in the NSCA Power Rankings, noting graduation rates, academic ranking and athletic department standings. However, for the sake of UCSD Softball — 0–5 to West Regional opponent Humboldt State this season — let’s hope that Humboldt State’s All-CCAA Player of the Year, Chrissy Stalf is preoccupied in the box.

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