Brian Wilson can throw a shot more than 50 feet. He’s thrown a discus more than 106 feet.
His throwing skills have earned the North Central College junior top-10 finishes in conference meets and made him part of five indoor and outdoor track and field conference championship teams. But the achievement he considers one of his best requires a little less brawn and a lot more brains.
Wilson was an academic all-conference selection this year for the second straight year, something in which the Batavia graduate takes an immense amount of pride.
“For me, academics are the most important. It’s the reason I go to college,” Wilson said. “I’m a student-athlete, so I’m a student first and an athlete second. So really getting good grades is the most important thing to me, it’s the thing I feel most accomplished for. It’s the thing I put most of my time into. I just get to do sports along with it. It’s a great honor. It’s probably even better than some of the sports honors I get.”
For Wilson, it’s his high school days in Batavia that shaped him into the student-athlete he is today – both parts of that term, as a matter of fact.
“I wouldn’t be the thrower I am today without Batavia,” he said. “Definitely the coaching there, the facilities we have there, it allowed me to become the thrower I am today, allowed me to progress. A lot of the things I did in high school carry over now. A lot of the workouts I do are the same I did in high school. It really set me up for success in the college ranks.”
And success he’s had. In three seasons, Wilson has placed in the top 10 at three College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin indoor championships, contributing to three of the Cardinals’ 14 straight indoor conference titles. And, he’s also turned in top-10 finishes in his first two outdoor conference championship meets. Since 1975, North Central has won all but two outdoor conference championships.
But Batavia prepped him for success in the classroom just as much as it did in track and field.
“Batavia is a challenging atmosphere,” Wilson said. “A lot of the same habits I had in high school I do now, getting your work done and then doing your athletics. In Batavia, it was always school first and then athletics second, and I just carried that over here. It’s allowed me to be a good academic student.”
As the outdoor track and field season gets into full swing, Wilson said his goals are to keep contributing to the dominant Cardinals program by scoring points for his team – that, and working toward a trip to the Division III national championships.
And if he can apply the same practices he’s applied since his days at Batavia – both inside and outside the classroom – his goals certainly seem to be within reach.
• Vinnie Duber writes the weekly On Campus column for the Kane County Chronicle. If you have a column idea on area athletes competing in college, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.