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Nia Frederick Managing Challenges of Being Two-Sport Athlete
November 29, 2012 - Niamone' (Nia) Frederick enjoys a unique distinction at Brevard Community College. The freshman from Harmony High School in St. Cloud is the only athlete to compete in two sports during the 2012-13 academic year.
Frederick concluded her stint as a middle hitter for the BCC volleyball team in October and is now playing center/forward on BCC's women's basketball team. All the while she is maintaining her focus on the one facet of campus life that allows her to compete: her academics.
"For any student-athlete, it takes self-discipline, balance, good time management, and good work ethic in the classroom along with the sport," said women's basketball head coach Renee Bellamy who also is the student-athlete academic advisor.
"In Nia's case, being a two sport student-athlete, it is imperative that she stay focused on those items and stay well-grounded throughout both sports."
Frederick is doing just that but admits it is a challenge.
"It's definitely a different level," Frederick said about managing her responsibilities in college as opposed to high school where she also played volleyball and basketball.
"It's definitely harder. Academic wise it is a little bit of a struggle because we practice so much all the time. It's like a strain on your body. It's tough but it's nothing I can't handle."
Frederick, who is majoring in sports management, credits the mandatory 10-hour a week study hall as being a major factor in allowing her to keep pace academically while meeting the demands of on-court practice and shoot-arounds plus sessions in the weight room — not to mention travel and games.
After all, academics are a must with student-athletes having to maintain a 2.0 grade point average to remain eligible. Then there are the physical and mental components necessary to meet the athletic demands.
"College, you have to be on time and everything," she said. "In high school it's like 'OK, I was late, I might get a detention or something.' In college it's different rules and consequences. Playing a sport it's a different pace. It's really harder. It's serious, you cannot slack off.
"If you slack off then there's different consequences. Let's say academic-wise you can lose your scholarship. Of if you break the rules you can lose your scholarship. Then what are you going to do from there?"
Frederick reveres the opportunity her scholarship provides.
"It's a big privilege," she said. "My family wise — I didn't even know how I was going to go to college because we couldn't afford it. I also have a brother (Nicholas Frederick) who is in college (Valencia Community College). We were struggling trying to put him in college. I had no idea of where I was going to go or what I was going to do because I couldn't afford it.
"It's a huge privilege to have a scholarship."
To that end Frederick is meeting the demands of her sport and her studies with the definite aim of moving on from BCC with an associate degree and continuing her athletic career at a four-year school.
After all, being active is just who she is.
"I have not imagined not playing a sport," she said. "That's the only thing that's on my mind. Being active and playing a sport and getting good grades."