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Day in the Life: Varsity Athlete at Trine University

Name: Hayden Smith

Year in School: Senior

Major: Mechanical Engineering w/ Metallurgical Engineering Minor

Years Playing Rugby: 10 Years

Position in Rugby: 2nd Row, 8-Man

Why did you choose your school?

When hunting for prospective colleges, I looked at state and private schools with prestigious and reputable engineering programs. At the same time, I was looking for schools to continue my athletic career. Finally, I had to ensure that the cost of education was not too large. As well, I had a desire to use my education in either the forging or foundry industry. With these ideals in mind, I found Trine University. During my initial visits, I fell in love with the foundry on campus and the structure of the engineering curriculum. The Mechanical Engineering curriculum is heavily structured with real-world applications as its base. This is seen in the constant projects that are performed every semester. Due to how the curriculum is laid out, the vast resources available for education, campus life and buildings, and the athletics facilities, I decided to attend Trine University.

What was your process of being recruited?

I was not directly recruited for rugby when I came to Trine University before the rugby program was available. However, when the rugby program started, I immediately contacted the coach and met with him and some other players already attending Trine University. This led to assisting in the recruiting process from the other side by giving prospective recruits tours of campus and talking about campus life. This included how classes are run, what can be done on campus, and what to expect from the school.

What are your favorite parts about being a member of the rugby program?

My favorite part about being a Trine University rugby program member is the teammates' friendships. Like many rugby programs, you are brothers on the pitch, but the friendships last off the pitch. Constantly being with your teammates off the pitch builds chemistry as you learn the personalities of each teammate. We always strive for each player to become the best brother and best man that they can be.

What are your favorite parts about being a student at your school?

My favorite parts about attending Trine University are the classes, community, and career services center. The classes are demanding but highly rewarding. They challenge you with lectures and exams, then apply what you learn to the real world with hands-on projects. This allows every student to connect what is learned in the classroom to what can be seen in industry. The community at Trine University is vast and plentiful. On campus, there are a bunch of athletes and athletic programs that all support each other. This results in a fantastic turnout of fans at each home game. Each athletic team on campus has a high level of excellence, and each team pushes each other to improve. How do you balance schoolwork and rugby?

Being an engineer and playing any sport is complex, and this is no different from rugby. The easiest way to balance school and rugby is by creating and sticking to a schedule. This allows me to attend all my required functions and complete all my schoolwork. Also, there is excellent support from the school and the team to ensure that you are academically successful, as the primary purpose of the school is to get you a job after you graduate.

What does a typical day and/or week look like for you?

A typical day for me is pretty busy. Generally, I start my morning with a team lift. This is followed by a senior design meeting to discuss the past week’s project updates with our advisor. I will then attend classes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I will then prepare for practice and complete some homework. At 4 p.m., it is practice time. After that, I have a meeting for senior design to work on the project. Finally, I will eat dinner and work on homework. This is a general day for me. Some days, I don’t have lifts or meetings. However, on other days, I have more meetings intertwined, which makes the week hectic. To prevent items from falling through the cracks, I keep a calendar with all appointments and a paper calendar with all my upcoming assignments and tests.

What’s the biggest challenge about playing rugby at your school? 

The biggest challenge with rugby at Trine University is how new the program is. Since we are such a new program, there is much opportunity to determine where we want our program to go. This challenges us as we must decide how to lead the team and what goals we want to achieve. This also challenges us as there are no previous teams to look up to and a limited number of seniors on the team. These challenges, though, will not be present forever as new classes join the program.

Besides rugby, what else are you involved in on campus?

Besides rugby, I am involved with FEF (Foundry Education Foundation) and AFS (American Foundry Society). These organizations focus on educating students, specifically engineers, on what the foundry in tales and attempts to get students into the foundry industry. I also participate in the Cast in Steel club. This club produces a tool yearly for the SFSA cast-in steel competition. For example, we produced an African spear last year, and we are producing a Halligan Bar this year. Finally, I participate in Greek life on campus.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with a high school player interested in your school?

 Trine University takes pride in its ability to get students jobs after graduation. This is foremost seen in the engineering department. Every professor and faculty will try their best to ensure you find interviews and, eventually, a job. However, before you leave, you will enjoy the campus life and playing rugby for a school that strives to be the best in every sport it offers.

School Website: Men's Team Website: Men's Head Coach: Danny Breda



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