Rogers athletes feel drained trying to keep up with everything

Students explain how social standards and busy schedules interfere with their life.


Photo by Hailey Castleman

Madsion Ahlquist works at Target on the weekends in addition to going to school and playing fastpitch.

Being in high school and turning 16 is a new milestone for teenagers – we are driving and can now get a job. But how are teenagers who are both students and athletes supposed to juggle all of that?  

Madison Ahlquist is one of those students. She participates in swimming and softball, works at Target, and is an AP student.

Masdison Ahlquist pitching at fastpitch game
Madison Ahlquist balances her softball responsibilities with her work responsibilities. (Photo courtesy Ahlquist Family)

For much of the year, this was a typical day for Ahlquist: get up at 7:30 a.m. feeling rushed because she must beat her brother to the shower, then going to school, where she tries to complete any homework in class and apply for scholarships until 2:45 p.m. before moving on to sports practice around 3 p.m. and eventually going to work from 5:30 p.m. until midnight sometimes. 

Ahlquist, a team captain for JV softball and a starting pitcher, says she felt challenges this softball season while trying to study for her AP exams. At one point she had to miss one of her tougher games because of these exams.  

She said, “I was stressed about passing my AP while making sure my team was okay.”  

Ahlquist’s activities made it difficult for her to be available for other activities and she said, “There was a lot of, ‘I’m sorry I can’t hang out right now, I have too much going on right now.’ ” She also said: “On the weekend, I’d work or got caught up on things.”  

Instead of doing normal teenage activities, she was left with work and turning down opportunities to make memories.  

“Definitely time management was the hardest part,” Ahlquist said.

Ahlquist used to work right after practice at her old job at Safeway and on weekends, but at her new job, Target, she works only on weekends. She says this method is a lot more manageable with her schedule.  

“The experience gave me skills I will potentially use in the future,” Ahlquist said. “It’s not for everybody and I recommend it to the right people.”  

Another senior at Rogers, Mia Tran, did girls wrestling in the winter and works at Jimmy Johns.  

“The hardest part was keeping a good, positive mentality,” she said.    

Tran was working on Sundays, but then during wrestling season, she had to take a leave of absence from her job to be available for family, wrestling, and schoolwork.  

She was “mentally drained and hanging on by a thread.” Tran also was physically drained from her busy schedule.  

“I saw a lot of improvement in myself. But at the same time, it is good to take care of yourself mentally and put yourself first,” Tran said. 

Austin Moody is yet another senior at Rogers who plays sports and works — he is a varsity baseball player who works at Papa Murphy’s.  

Austin Moody playing outfield at Rogers baseball game
Austin Moody says the burden of balancing work, school, and sports took a mental toll on him. (Photo by Emily Dymond)

Moody’s schedule was about the same during both baseball season and the off-season. During the off-season, he would go to school, work at least a three-hour shift, go to the gym, and have practice as well. In season, his schedule was again school but then after school he would go to baseball practice and then the gym. Sundays would be the only day of the week he would work, and he would usually work an 8- to 9-hour shift.  

Moody had to get a job because it is what his mom wanted — he felt pressure from her because he could now work. It was a standard she set once he turned a certain age. She believed since he could get a job, he should have one.  

Moody said his biggest challenge was simply getting good enough sleep, saying he was “pretty much a zombie during school.”   

He also said, “My attendance went down a lot,” explaining it was because of sleeping in from being so tired. Despite being so tired, Moody said he felt productive during the day because of how busy his schedule was.  

“Looking back it probably wasn’t the healthiest I’ve been mentally,” he said.  

Moody says for other student-athletes, “focus on your sport and hang out with friends — I recommend that.”  

Students feel a lot of pressure when it comes to the standards of growing up. They are mentally drained, missing school and losing sleep, which they need to grow and be ready for the next day. How are student-athletes supposed to have a high school experience with this much on their plate?