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The Scarlet & Black

Athlete Spotlight: Shults’s fast-paced spring

Andrew Shults is transitioning to baseball season after posting impressive performances on the indoor track team during the first half of the semester. He travels to his first baseball tournament this weekend in St. Louis. Photo by Mai Phuong Vu.

For the past three years at Grinnell College, two-sport athlete Andrew Shults ’19 has participated in both indoor track and baseball, achieving highly at both and garnering the praise of his coaches, teammates and fans. In order to stay in shape for each sport, Shults must often attend two practices per day during the time period in which the seasons overlap, in addition to handling a challenging academic course load.

Despite the difficulty, Shults’s identity as a two-sport athlete has been one of the most formative aspects of his Grinnell experience.

“When I was thinking about colleges and thinking about schools, I really wanted to go to a school that allowed me to do as many extracurriculars that I was interested in,” Shults said. “I wouldn’t be able to do that at a lot of other schools. I remember I spoke to [Head Baseball Coach] Hollibaugh about it when I first got here and he was totally on board.”

Three years later, Shults has completed his third collegiate track season, placing second in the 60 and 400 meter dashes in the conference meet. With the track season over, Shults can look to the next chapter and focus on the baseball season.

“It feels good to have that conference and then get right into baseball this week,” he said. “It’s kind of like, having track first gives me the ability to have competition and to stay active. It keeps me doing something and is a good trajectory into baseball, which starts the weekend after.”

In terms of the coming season, Shults and the rest of the team look to build on the success of their past couple of seasons. In addition to getting new talent from the first year class, the team retains several veteran leaders who hope to guide the next generation. With the combination of experience and ability, Shults has full confidence that the team will be a force over the next few months of competition.

“I feel like the team has the most depth that it’s had since I’ve been here,” he said. “And so I’m really excited to see how the lineup is going to shape up, see who steps up.”

Although taking on two rigorous sports at one time seems physically and mentally taxing, Shults feels that each one helps feed into the other, allowing for maximum results. All of his hard work devoted to sprinting on the track has influenced his approach to baseball, making him a dangerous threat on the base-path and in the outfield. Rather than swinging for the fences, Shults contends that his role aligns more with getting on base and wreaking havoc on the pitchers by stealing bases and eventually coming around to score.

“Doing track helps me get better at baseball, especially when you’re in the middle of the season and everyone’s wearing down,” Shults said. “Getting that extra fitness in at the beginning of the year really pays off.”

He attributes his ability to manage several responsibilities to staying organized and keeping track of everything on his plate. In addition to planning his schedule for the semester out ahead of time and writing down each of his deadlines, Shults emphasizes the importance of prioritizing his activities and finishing tasks in a timely manner.

Despite his individual success, Shults’s main goal remains team-oriented.

“I know personally I really want to win the Midwest Conference Tournament,” he said. “We’ve come real close so many years. That’s my number one goal right now. We definitely can do it, we’ve just got to take it one game at a time.”

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