Athletes weigh in on nutrition at Trinity


photo by Elise Hester, video producer

One of the major differences between Division I and Division III athletics is the attention paid to athlete diets. While Division I schools such as the University of Texas at Austin have athlete-exclusive dining halls with meals constructed specifically for athlete diets, Trinity, as a DIII school, does not have this luxury, leaving athletes to eat at Mabee Dining Hall and the Commons.

“I feel it’s good enough, for what it is. We aren’t DI, so we have to do the best with what we got,” said sophomore tennis player Jordan Pitts.

Junior volleyball player Jade Schoenberger believes that moving away from Mabee has been beneficial for her diet.

“I eat relatively healthy. I live in City Vista so I have a full kitchen to maintain a healthier lifestyle for myself,” Schoenberger said.

Men’s tennis coach Russell McMindes argues that nutrition is one of the most important factors in athletic performance.

I feel nutrition plays a large part in the performance of athletes,” McMindes said. “This is the fuel you’ll be using and burning through as you push your body to perform. And it’s a process. It can’t just be, ‘Today is match day, better eat right.’ We always discuss our schedule and understand that as the match approaches, at least a day or two prior, they should be modifying their nutrition to be in optimal condition for match day. And if we know it’s a double header, that only adds to the urgency.”

McMindes spoke to the visible effects of a poor pre-match diet.

“You can see them run out of gas when things get physical. Their ability to stay composed and focused also diminishes. Cramps may appear as well,” McMindes said.

McMindes also wished on the food selection at Trinity encouraged players to make better choices.

“This is tricky. I feel there could always be more options provided, and more times where these options are accessible. But, my big caveat to that is that the responsibility still falls on the athlete,” McMindes said. “They have to be disciplined and make those proper choices when provided. A big area of concern to me is the beverages. Too many college students drinking coffee, soda and energy drinks.”

But while McMindes as an aversion towards beverages, some of his players reap their benefits.

“I get all my calories from liquids so that way I feel lighter when I play,” said sophomore Ricky Mayer.

Former tennis player Matt Tyer, senior, also spoke to the merits of beverages.

“During my time as an athlete I ate pretty healthy, but I drank a lot of energy drinks. In fact I credit energy drinks for my national title-winning season because I shotgunned a Monster energy drink before the championship match,” Tyer said.  

Trinity athletes balance athletics with school, so sometimes thinking about their diets can add another level of stress.

“I don’t eat very healthy. I eat candy, cookies, pizza and chips on the daily,” said first-year soccer player Diego Gonzalez.

Wilson Lambeth, junior tennis player, thinks that what’s important is to prioritize on and off the court.

“The classroom always comes first, but we still find a way to practice hard and eat correctly,” Lambeth said.