Jonathan Stewart wins awards for swimming achievement

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor

Jonathan Stewart, a senior business management major with an emphasis in computer information, received the Pat and Tony Jablonsky Award and the NCAA Academic All-Ameri-can for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Pat and Tony Jablonsky Award is given by the business honors society, Delta Mu Delta, to a business student each year. Stewart was inducted into Delta Mu Delta last spring and has a 4.0 GPA.

The NCAA Academic All-American Award is a prestigious honor that only 18 students nationwide receive.

In order to be considered, athletes must have a 3.50 GPA and make a significant contribution to their team.

Athletes who competed in lacrosse, tennis, hockey, fencing, men’s volleyball, rifle, golf, skiing, water polo, wrestling, gymnastics and swim were grouped together in the at-large category.

“I don’t seek awards, that’s not what I do,” Stewart said. “I just try to do my best in everything I do. So, it’s nice to get awards for your hard work, but that’s not what I started out for. What I shoot for is to have the biggest impact on campus as well as on my team to try and better our team.”

Jacob Usry, a junior journalism and mass communications major, has been swimming with Stewart for three years.

Usry said Stewart is not only a great guy to be around, but also a positive influence when others are not.

“At meets he’s always very pushing in a positive way, like you could do better and stuff like that, but very kind,” Usry said. “He’s a very interesting person to be around and very smart.”

Dr. Sam Freas, physical education, health and human performance professor and swim coach, said Stewart is an exceptional student who makes OBU proud and deserves any awards he receives.

Stewart started swimming at the YMCA in his hometown when he was 14 years old.

“I’m very grateful for my parents,” Stewart said. “Had it not been for them, there’s no way I would have been as successful as I have been throughout my college career. They gave me a great upbringing.”

Stewart has five sisters and eight brothers. He is the ninth child out of 13.

“I credit my competitiveness to my older brothers because they push me,” Stewart said. “Growing up in a big family when you’re on the younger end of things, you always want to be better.”

Stewart is taking 16 credit hours, has swim practice for at least 20 hours a week, is president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, works two jobs and owns his own business as a web developer, designing websites for private clients.

“It’s a balancing act,” Stewart said. “You have to be really scheduled, very disciplined, make sure you get everything done in advance so when things come up like they always do, you have a little bit of a cushion to work with.”

The advice that Stewart would give is to be involved in everything you can. He said going to athletic events and campus activities make for a great overall experience.

“You’re only here for four years, so enjoy it as much as you can,” Stewart said. “Memories last forever, so have the greatest experience you can.”

On the Hill: Student runs towards excellence

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor  (Courtesy photo/Evie Carlswell)

Relationships made with others are what help to mold a person’s character while also teaching them how to grow. Whether it be by blood, romantic attraction or friendship, the relationships a person makes largely impacts who they are and who they will become.

Freshman accounting major Evie Carswell is one example of how relationships can impact character. She said throughout her life she has been pushed to work hard in all areas of her relationships including with her parents, friends, teachers, coaches and teammates. She said it has always been a positive push and has made her who she is today.

“I’ve never felt the pressure to perform. It has just been more of an incentive to do what I want to do, and do it for the Lord,” Carswell said.

Carswell is a member of the track team and said one relationship she has been impacted by since joining the team at OBU has been with Coach Ford Mastin. She said his desire for the athletes to strive in all areas of life has been something that has helped her to push through any struggle in college thus far.

“Jumping from high school sports to college sports I expected it to be really hard, which it was. But he has always encouraged me and made the transition easier by being understanding and continuing to put time into me,” she said.

Carswell said the commitment and time she has put into the track team has bettered her. She said that it has taught her how to manage her time and that if others can do it then she can too. She said watching one of her close friends on the team run track while also striving academically helped to push her in both areas as well.

“It pushed me to be a better student,” she said. “I didn’t want to disappoint, and I wanted to be able to handle it because I wanted to get good grades so that I could succeed and go do what I want to do without being held back.”

While being pushed physically and academically, Carswell has also has been taught to work hard spiritually. She has specifically been given this mindset by her mom and dad. She said they both have taught her about different aspects in her faith and have made it possible for her to rely on God in all things.

Carswell said the main lesson taught by her dad has to do with being a hard worker and that hard work does pay off especially when involving Christian character. He has taught her that trust doesn’t come easy, but it is earned when doing the right thing.

She said that her mom has taught her to be strong in all things and not that other people’s opinions don’t matter, but that they don’t define who she is. She said this has taught her a sense of respect and that she has learned to take people as they are, even when it seems as if their opinion doesn’t apply.

“Both of those things shaping me told me that I can grow up and be what I want and no matter where I am as long as I am being a good steward and living the way Christ wants me to live, then I can’t go wrong,” Carswell said.

The many lessons that Carswell has learned throughout her life and relationships have even made an impact on the people around her. Her close friend from home Madeline Sparks said Carswell is a steadfast friend. She said that she is grateful for both the friendship they have, and the ability Carswell has to make those around her feel valued.

“Evie is one of those rare friends that has known me at my best and loved me at my worst. Even though we now live fourteen hours apart, I know I can still count on her,” Sparks said.

Not only has she made an impact on friends from home but also on friends that she has made upon coming to OBU. Freshman nursing major Ansley Biesiadecki said that knowing Evie has been a blessing to her.

“In every area of her life she strives to be the best she can be. She’s loyal to friends and family, she has a solid relationship with God, she has great dedication to track and is diligent with her studies. It’s been an honor to be her friend,” Biesiadecki said.

On the Hill: Student athlete finds calling in medical field through swim

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor  (Courtesy photo/Jordan Atkins)

When most people think of athletes, they think of the physical demands. However, there is more to the equation.

Freshman health and human performance major Jordan Atkins is an example of the benefits that can be gained from being an athlete. Atkins is on the swim and dive team and has a drive to succeed in his sport as well as in his college career.

“From the time I first met him when he was seven, I knew Jordan was going to be successful in whatever he did. He is just one of those kids. It has been a true blessing to watch Jordan grow both in and out of the water,” Riptide Aquatics coach Eric Huntsman said.

Atkins started swimming competitively at the age of 13 and soon after found a love for lifeguarding. Lifeguarding is what helped Atkins find his love for medicine. After having to personally see injuries regularly in the pool and having to care for the injured himself, he realized the medical field is where he wanted to be.

He said the main event that led him to the medical field was when he had to backboard someone while working a shift. He said he had the ability to keep the person calm amongst the chaos and that is when he knew it was what he was supposed to do with his life.

“That’s when I figured out I have an ability to relate to people and know how to handle a situation medically and under pressure,” Atkins said. “That’s when I went, ‘wow I need to use that talent that God has given me.’”

Another reason he is interested in the medical field are his own physical afflictions.

At a young age, he had ear infections constantly and one got so bad that it caused his eardrum to rupture. This occurrence led to multiple surgeries, including skin grafts, tubes and an eardrum replacement.

“If any of those surgeries hadn’t have worked, I wouldn’t have been able to swim ever again. So, I’m thankful I’m still able to do that and that it has guided me to the medical field,” Atkins said.

Atkins said that after much research on different areas of the medical field, he has decided that he would like to pursue a career as an anesthesiologist. He said the main reason for this choice is that he found that anesthesiologists have the most ability and flexibility to interact with their patients.

“I want to get to know who I’m working with, because by getting to know them they are more willing to trust me. They are more open to my suggestions, and maybe if they’re not Christian they may be more open to a discussion about it,” Atkins said.

Atkins said his main goal for the future and his profession is to have the ability to make people feel comfortable and to let them know he will do whatever it takes to make sure the best outcome is possible. He wants to let his patients know that it isn’t always going to be his knowledge or understanding that leads to those decisions, but that God always will play a part.

Atkins said a past swim coach has played a big role in that thought process for him, because at every practice he came to he always made it a point to let Atkins and his teammates know that it was his job to help the swimmers get better while bettering himself every day.

“That’s something as an athlete and as a student I relate to because I always want the best for myself and I don’t want to live with mediocrity. I want more out of life than just simplicity,” he said.

This philosophy is one of many lessons that Atkins has learned during his time as an athlete, and he said he is very grateful for it. Being an athlete and being a part of a team has taught him not only how to understand others on a more personal level, but also on how to constantly work on improving himself in whatever he is doing.

“As he furthers his knowledge in the medical field, I know he’ll be able to draw from hard swims, early swims and long practices as he deals with the challenges of the medical profession, and I know he will lean on understanding from the best physician our Lord Jesus Christ,” Atkins’ father Robert said.