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Ask the Cougar

The Balancing Act

Sarah Schaidle

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When Sarah Schaidle cleans up, people tend to notice. It doesn’t take much – jeans and a T-shirt are usually enough to cause a few stares. After all, when your classmates and professors are accustomed to seeing you in grungy soccer gear every day, re-invention is easy.

Not that she has too many chances to ditch the workout gear. The senior midfielder and biochemistry major maintains a packed schedule, splitting time between the soccer pitch and science labs. Schaidle decrees that you must spend at least 20 hours a week to studying organic chemistry to keep your head above water. Oftentimes, this means cracking open her notes and a textbook on the team bus.

Beyond class, soccer practice, physical conditioning and games, Schaidle manages to squeeze in some volunteer experience with local students, too, as well an independent study course within the Honors College, performing neuroscience research at the nearby Medical University of South Carolina. All of which, by the way, might sound absolutely exhausting for students without Schaidle’s tremendous stamina. Yet somehow she remains calm and steady.

“I get stressed, but I let it roll off,” Schaidle says of the demands on her time. “I don’t really think about it. I just do it and enjoy it.”

Last January, Schaidle was named to the Women’s College Scholar All-America Team, recognizing her academic success and her superior on-field performance that helped the Cougars to a 13-win season and an appearance in the Southern Conference final. Beyond that honor, Schaidle was the points leaders for Cougars women’s soccer and was named to the all-conference team, too. Schaidle’s roommate and teammate Maryam Buazza says Schaidle is someone who leads by example and is capable of taking charge during critical games, such as the time last season that Schaidle netted two goals against the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, helping secure a 3-2 win.

“She’s definitely the person to take it one on one,” says Buazza.

Ever modest, Schaidle credits Coach Christian Michner for encouraging her to hold onto the ball more often and to become a game changer. She hopes that this fall, the Cougars can again reach the Southern Conference finals. This time, though, Schaidle won’t be happy unless they win.

And knowing Schaidle’s commitment, on and off the field, we know she’s certainly going to be busy trying.