5 reasons to be an NNU athlete

October 22, 2015

by Carly (Rech) Gilmore

Although collegiate sports are not for everyone, my experience as an athlete has been a worthwhile investment. Despite the year-round time, energy, and effort that collegiate sports require on top of an already jammed student schedule, many of my favorite college memories derive from my involvement on the Track & Field team. So before being deterred from the commitment of a collegiate sport, students should also consider the five following benefits that I have discovered during my time as a Crusader athlete. These are the elements of NNU sports that have made being an athlete an invaluable experience for me.

1. Developing life-long relationships
The relationships made possible through sports are enough to consider joining a team. Through sports, athletes are able to connect with coaches, teammates, fans and even opponents at times. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded with terrific teammates at NNU. No other people can share the college experience—share the triumphs and disappointments—to the same extent as teammates. They push and encourage each other during all the impossible workouts, the injuries, the frustrations and the success. My teammates have become my best friends.

2. Playing the sport you love at NCAA Division II level
After high school, many students are not ready to hang up their sneakers just yet. I know I wasn’t. Participating in a collegiate sport allows students to continue with something they love at a higher level of competition. With knowledgeable coaches, driven teammates and tough opponents, athletes have the opportunity to grow and reach their full potential. As Crusaders, athletes are provided the ideal environment to do just that at the NCAA Division II level.

3. Traveling across the Northwest and beyond
If you want to be a Crusader, it is important to learn how to sleep on a bus or a plane. Athletes get the chance to travel across the country for their sport. Most events are in the Northwest, but teams have also competed in Hawaii and Southern California. National competitions have led teams across the United States.

4. Earning scholarships for your experience
In addition to getting free athletic gear and free travel, many of NNU’s athletes are receiving scholarships for their sport. Students have the opportunity to have a part-time job that recognizes academics as priority to that job. Is there really anything better than to be paid to workout and play a sport? Sports are fantastic jobs especially for students who already workout daily. Now, they are getting more out of their workout than just a beach-ready bod; paying for school, spending time with friends, and working out becomes a simultaneous activity.

5. Learning from experts
What is better than having a free trainer and mentor? NNU has qualified and experienced coaches who strive to develop their athletes to full potential. Athletes receive a year-round workout schedule that covers skill development and physical fitness. Sometimes a meal schedule will also be included to ensure your body is getting the right fuel for optimal performance.The great part—and challenging part—about NNU’s program is that coaches stretch your limits daily. Because the coaches here care about the individuals their athletes become, they push them physically, academically and spiritually.

As an athlete, I have had the opportunity to build lifelong relationships, play the sport I love, travel across the Northwest, learn from great coaches and receive a scholarship to help pay for my education. Even so, before coming to NNU, many people advised me not to burden myself with a sport. They said that it would detract from the college experience by taking time away from doing homework, spending time with friends, and trying new things. While this argument is partially correct—sports do require some of your valuable time—I have found being a NNU athlete to be an extremely rewarding and wonderful experience. As I begin my third year as a Crusader athlete, I am not naive of the hard workouts, long bus-rides, and aches and pains ahead of me. Yet, I step up to the line for another go-round and know I would gladly do it all over again.

Learn more about the benefits of the NNU experience at

The Heart of the Boise Valley

We believe that students travel to the Northwest to be changed forever by a rigorous education. Because of its proximity to both Idaho wilderness and metropolitan Boise, Northwest Nazarene University truly is the best-of-all-worlds location for college students.

Visit NNU