Senior Teigan Avery’s alarm clock wakes her up right before 6 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Within 10 minutes, Avery is out the door, coffee in hand, headed to her morning workout with the Griz golf team. After she completes her workout at 8, Avery rushes to campus so she can meet with professors, print her homework and prepare for another long day. She typically has until 11 a.m. to do this.
“For me, sleeping in is 7 a.m.,” Avery said.
Cross-country runner Beatrix Frissell said she usually wakes up at 7 a.m. She throws on a shirt and shorts and runs a casual three to four miles before breakfast. After going to her classes between 10 a.m to 2 p.m., Frissell runs another few miles with the track team in the afternoon.
The freshman athlete has been a dominant cross-country runner for the University of Montana. Frissell has finished in the top five in her first three races as a Griz, including a first-place win in her debut run in the Clash of the Inland Northwest on August 31.
Frissell reported that on average, she runs 50 to 60 miles a week.
It isn’t uncommon for student-athletes to balance hours of training with college academics, but Avery and Frissell are also Presidential Leadership Scholarship recipi- ents. The award is only allocated to about 25 students a year, making Avery and Frissell students who have excelled in both school and sports.
Avery and Frissell do not get a lot of time off from training and school. They practice their respective sports five to six times a week. Both students are enrolled in high-level courses that require hours of studying and homework. Avery is an economics major, while Frissell is studying ecosystem science and restoration.
Frissell and Avery agreed that balancing a rigorous academic program with a dedicated athletic department has not been easy.
“It has been a tough balance to complete,” said Avery. “I have very high expectations for myself academically, and very high expectations athletically.”
In order to be more productive, Avery uses a planner. She must have each hour planned out every day in order to stay organized and fill her free time with homework, she said. This means she often schedules a large number of tasks for herself. On Monday, Sept. 23, she had over a dozen tasks to complete. Avery tries to make a good connection with her professors in order to better advocate for herself when she's competing.
For Frissell, whenever athletics or academics become overwhelming, she feels that she lets herself down. When lecturer Cornell West delivered a speech at the Wil- ma on Aug. 28, Frissell arrived late because of cross country practice. After standing in line for some time, Frissell was able to stand in the back of the room and watch West’s speech. The time crunch discouraged her from staying involved in so many activities.
“You have to tell yourself you do both,” Frissell said. Though she has only been in college for a little over a month, she has already developed new studying techniques. She works on her homework at small points throughout the day. She credited Clint May, her coach, for offering advice about time management.
Avery said that sometimes being busy is not healthy. In April 2019, Avery consistently stayed up late in order to prepare for a competition staged by the Davidson Honors College. Her project coincided with daily golf practice, as the team was preparing for the conference championship. Avery won the honors college competition and also compet- ed in the Big Sky championship in Boulder City, Nevada.
For Frissell and Avery, hanging out with friends has not been a significant part of their college experiences.
“Partying is definitely not my thing,” said Frissell. “I usually go to sleep at 10 p.m.” Frissell said she is very close to the track team and has struggled to find the time to make other friends. “It has been stressful to do so much and also be in college,” said Frissell, “but overall I get satisfaction from being successful in what I do.”
Avery said she felt the same way. “I feel really bad because I tell a lot of people no,” said the senior. Avery spends most of her time with the golf team but tries to meet
with other friends for meals or to study. When reflecting on her three years of college athletics and academics, Avery was positive. “I love college so much,” she said. “I love being a varsity athlete, and I love being in the honors college.”