A glimpse into three athletes’ days



With 15 Division 1 sports teams, Detroit Mercy University is home to hundreds of student-athletes.

Yet how many people know what it means to live like one?

The Varsity News asked three student-athletes about their day-to-day lives.


Isabella Kashalk

Isabella Kaschalk is a freshman on the women’s soccer team. She is also in the nursing program.

Every morning, her alarm clock goes off at 5 a.m., waking her up in time to get ready for practice, which runs from 6 to 8 a.m. outside on the hard, cold turf.

Afterward, she heads off to attend her seemingly never-ending classes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If she has time, she’ll try to eat lunch between classes, but sometimes ends up skipping.

After class, Kaschalk goes to the third floor of the library, because freshman athletes are required to go to the Student Success Centre five hours a week to study. If they don’t complete their hours, whatever time is left will be doubled, and then added to the following week.

Kaschalk tries to get in as many hours in as possible during the first day of the week in order to free up time for later days.

“Most of my free time is spent on sleeping,” she said.

Waking up early in the morning sometimes takes its toll, especially if she is up late the night before to study for an exam or to complete what feels like an endless load of assignments.

Although school keeps her busy, Kaschalk doesn’t have a problem balancing it with soccer.

Yet, what makes things difficult is when her professors give her a hard time when she needs to miss classes for games.

Some professors make her write her tests a few days ahead, which adds another load to her already busy schedule.

“I just want professors to understand that just because I’m away for games doesn’t mean I’m taking a day off,” she said. “I’m still working just as hard as non-athletic students in my program.”


Gavin Santizo

Gavin Santizo is on the men’s lacrosse team and in the robotics program.

His classes and practices are scattered throughout the day.

He has math from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a team workout during dead hour.

He has class again for four-and-a-half hours, and finally completes his day with a two-hour practice with his team.

The men’s lacrosse team easily has the hardest workouts of all the athletic teams at Detroit Mercy.

“In November, we run ten miles,” said Santizo. “On sled day, we push a sled around 200 times as a team. On van day, we get into groups of three and push a van over and over again, about 50 yards at a time.”

During his down time, he does homework or hangs out with his teammates who live with him off campus.

“As opposed to living in the dorms, I prefer living off campus because I get to make my own food,” he said.

The school’s dining room is often unreliable when it comes to providing healthy food for athletes.

Players on the men’s lacrosse team need to consistently maintain their health, whether mental or physical, in order to keep their place among the top 50 teams in the NCAA.   


Willy Isiani

Willy Isiani is a business major, and a member of the men’s basketball team.

The first thing he does when he wakes up in the morning is eat.

“I never skip breakfast,” said Isiani. “I need energy!”

Following this is a strict schedule.

He needs to be in the weight room in Calihan Hall for 8 a.m., and then in class from 10 a.m. to noon.

At 12:15 he reviews practice and game film and eats.

At 2:30 p.m., an hour before practice starts, Isiani works on his shooting. From 3:30 to 6 p.m., he practices tirelessly with his teammates in preparation for the upcoming season.

After practice, he stays back to shoot some more.

“I do all of this to get better as a player and as a person,” said Isiani. “Basketball is one of the most important things in my life. It’s why I came all the way from Georgia (the country). It’s why I skip partying. ‘Fun’ always comes after.”

Isiani doesn’t have a problem balancing academics and athletics either.

His work ethic in basketball smoothly translates to school.

“I guess I’m just really smart,” said Isiani with a teasing smile. “I’m just joking, of course. I do my homework little by little every day during my down time, and it all just works out.”

Because of the time and effort he puts into basketball, Isiani often feels he’s working a full-time job, in addition to school.

So what keeps him focused?

“I want to pursue basketball professionally after I graduate,” he said. “I have a vision in which I imagine a road which leads to my goal. Every day, I do what I can to get a step closer to the end of that road: to eventually reach my goal.”