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Lady Longhorns basketball standout and McCombs student Kathleen Nash.

Lady Longhorns basketball standout and McCombs student Kathleen Nash.

It’s 6 a.m. on a Friday, and Kathleen Nash is already on campus–but not because she has to study. Nash is a guard on the UT women’s basketball team, and they practice every Friday morning. That’s not to say that she doesn’t spend a lot of time studying. As a junior finance major, she devotes her fair share of time to hitting the books. She was even named to the ESPN the Magazine/College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 6 first team in 2008 for her success both academically and on the court.

Emily Anderson and Erin Tresselt know exactly how Nash feels. Anderson is a senior in the integrated MPA program and Tresselt is a senior finance/pre-med major. Both are also Texas athletes. Anderson is co-captain of the women’s soccer team and works hard to maintain her 4.0 GPA. Tresselt, who has played softball since she was four years old, is the captain and starting pitcher for UT’s softball team and was appointed to the Academic All-Big 12 first team in 2008.

They are all standouts in their sports as well. Tresselt was ranked ninth nationally in earned run average in 2007 and Nash was the third player in Longhorn history to connect on 100 percent of all of her free throws (12-of-12) in one game. Anderson was the first player in program history to be selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America team twice in a career (2008 and 2009).

The discipline and skill that comes with being both collegiate athletes and McCombs students require them to be experts at balancing their time between school, sports and socializing.

“I’m generally very studious, and I tend to set schedules and plan very far in advance,” says Anderson, the soccer player. “That helps a lot because I don’t get caught putting things off until the very last minute.”

There are certain perks to being student athletes. The athletic department has a staff of 88 tutors and mentors to help the students with their schoolwork. Athletes also have exclusive access to the Longhorn Pride Academic Center in the North End Zone of Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, which comes complete with couches, study tables and an academic library containing materials from their specific courses.

Each of the students says her academic motivation stems from her goals for the future. Tresselt wants to go to medical school and open her own practice one day. Nash is considering law school or an MBA, and Anderson wants to be a CPA at a top global auditing firm.

And as for that stereotype that athletes don’t have to work for their grades?

“We have to study for tests just like everyone else,” Nash says. “The only difference is that we have to do it even if we just flew back into town that night.”

Athletes are known for their pre-game rituals, but Nash, Tresselt and Anderson each have a routine for relaxing as well.

Nash makes time to go to the lake with friends, shop and explore Austin, and Tresselt spends her free time playing darts and horseshoes with her teammates. When she gets the chance, Anderson enjoys playing with her two dogs and going out to dinner. But as much as Anderson enjoys her down time, she stresses that being an athlete is not something she needs a break from.

“What most people tend to think is that it’s something that makes you basically not have a life,” Anderson says. “But it’s quite the contrary–it makes you have a very interesting life.”

-Amber Walkowiak

Keep reading for individual Q&As with each of the athletes.

Emily Anderson

Major: Accounting/Integrated MPA Program

Year: Senior

Sport: Soccer – Defender (Co-Captain)

High School: Westlake

You said that your favorite part of being an athlete is getting to travel. What is your favorite place to travel to?

I love Colorado. The weather is good and I like snowboarding. It’s something that I’ve picked up since I started college. I used to ski, but my knees weren’t too happy about it, so I switched.

You traveled to Switzerland earlier this year with the Deloitte International Conference for students in the audit, tax and consulting fields. What effect did that have on your studies in accounting?

It was very different. From about 100 people who were there, only three of us were from the United States, so I got to meet a lot of people from around the world. It was a good insight to what international business would be like with Deloitte.

It kind of made me open my mind up to international business. I didn’t really have any intention of doing international before, but now if it presented itself, I might be inclined to accept.

What about your personality helps you excel in both school and sports?

I’m generally very studious. I tend to set schedules and plan very far in advance, which helps a lot. It keeps me from putting things off until the very last minute.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m interning with Ernst & Young this spring, but after that I still have one more year of school. Then I’ll take the CPA exam, and hopefully I’ll have done well enough at my internship to get a full-time offer from Ernst & Young.

How do you think your time as a UT athlete will affect you after graduation?

Already people are just very interested in what I’m doing. Last spring when I was going through the internship recruiting process, employers would be very curious about the fact that I’m an athlete and I still have a 4.0 GPA. Even if I wasn’t a good fit for the company, they would still pick up my resume because they wanted to talk to me.

Erin Tresselt

Major: Finance/Pre-med

Year: Senior

Sport: Softball – Pitcher (Team Captain)

High School: Elkins

You were selected for the 2009 Academic All-Big 12 First Team for your good grades and your skill on the field. What keeps you going and doing well in both areas?

I want to get into medical school, and you have to keep your GPA as high as possible to have a chance at that, so that motivates me academically. Athletically, inner-team competition for starting spots and not wanting to disappoint my team keep me going. Also, it’s my last year and I really want to go out on a good note. I’ve put so much into it already, why not end it well?

What about your personality helps you to succeed?

I have always been very well-disciplined and focused, which keeps me on track. I’m also a pretty good people person, which is helpful in group situations.

What is it about softball that keeps you playing even though you’re so busy with school?

I want to have fun, and softball is fun for me. Also, I think I’d be bored if I didn’t play. I’d rather be stressed out than have nothing to do.

You’re graduating with a BBA in finance and then going on to medical school. How are you planning to fit those two together?

I really want to open my own practice, and if nothing else, I want to be able to handle my own finances. Plus, if the medical field doesn’t work out for me, finance is a great fallback to have.

What has been your favorite class at UT so far?

Business law was my favorite because the professor applied everything to real life situations. For example, in contract law he used lease contracts as his examples, which was really relevant to all of us that rent apartments.

Do you live with any bits of wisdom that you can share with your fellow students?

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that you’ve got to control the controllables, and don’t let the things you can’t control bother you. There is no point in worrying about something that you can’t change. You just have to adapt to it.

Kathleen Nash

Major: Finance

Year: Junior

Sport: Basketball – Guard

High School: Plano West

Basketball seems to run in your family; your dad and both of your siblings play. Have you always wanted to play basketball?

It was really a family tradition. We all grew up with basketballs in our hands. It was our way of bonding as a family.

You played both basketball and volleyball in high school. Why did you choose to play basketball in college?

I played basketball with my sister in high school and I really enjoyed it. She was playing basketball for UT and I really wanted to be able to play with her again.

You were named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 first team in 2009 for both your GPA and your talent. What motivates you to do well, both on the court and in class?

In basketball I am motivated by my team because I don’t want to let them down. In class I’m motivated more by my future. I need to have somewhere to go after I graduate and I’m not playing basketball anymore.

What about your personality helps you do well in both sports and school?

I don’t like to be average. I don’t settle. I like to do things well and that helps me succeed in both areas.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m still deciding whether I want to go to grad school for my MBA or to law school. Either way I want to continue my education.

How do you think your time as a UT athlete will affect you after graduation?

All of the teamwork that I have experienced will definitely help me get a job. So many companies use teams today that it’s really something they look for. Also, basketball has definitely given me a lot of connections that will help me in the future.

  1. ergobaby on Thursday 14, 2010

    I call this women empowerment and women rules. With the discipline they have from the sport they are in, I am sure they can make it big wherever they are and whatever they will be doing.