Q&A with Sarah Aragon

Aragon+shares+that+CSUSM+Athletics+coaches+athletes+for+life.+

Photo courtesy of CSUSM Athletics.

Aragon shares that CSUSM Athletics coaches athletes for life.

Tania Ortiz, Editor-in-Chief

Sarah Aragon is a senior outside back/defender for the women’s soccer team at Cal State San Marcos. Aragon, majoring in business administration with an emphasis in marketing, currently is the president for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The committee led by Aragon is made up of student-athlete representatives from all 13 programs and serves as the bridge between CSUSM Athletics administration and athletes.

How’s the season going so far?

We’re right in the middle of conference play. Right in the heart of it. It’s going well. We started off on a great foot, we’re a little bit in a rough patch. But we go back to practice every single day with a mentality on how to get back to winning and aim for postseason play.

We still have everything to play for. We have a lot of points to fight for, so I definitely think that’s what is driving our team right now. It’s going really well; we can feel the heat coming on.

What goals do you set for yourself this season?

From a team perspective, our goal was to be really tight knit from the start. The Zoom sessions that we had for almost a year and a half definitely helped. When we were finally able to step onto the field, we weren’t strangers to each other.

For myself, knowing that it’s my last year, I just want to run hard, play hard. No matter how many minutes, how many goals that I play, I just want to be out there with my team. That was my main goal because I wasn’t sure what position I was going to play coming into the season. But all I want to do is run hard and be with the team.

How did it feel to be back on the field after having a year off?

It was the best feeling in the world. The first practice was so fired up, we were so hyped. It was as if we didn’t have to take a year off, we went straight into it. Maybe, we were a little bit rusty but for the circumstances, we did pretty well.

Taking that year off helped me fall back in love with soccer again and realizing that not a lot of people get to come back from a year off. So, I definitely was super thankful to be back on the field. It was the best feeling, it was great.

What do you do as the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)?

The committee is the voice of student-athletes, and we bridge the gap between student athletes and administration in our athletic department. We do initiatives, community service, and on campus engagements to make the student-athlete experience a little bit better. Just bring everyone together; our department, student-athletes and upper campus too.

What current initiatives is the committee working on?

Right now, we are working on getting at least one or two community engagement opportunities set before winter break. Whether that means a food drive, in the past we’ve partnered with the San Diego Food Bank, and we would raise cans or non-perishable foods on campus then we’d send it over to donate to them. Previously, we’ve partnered up with the Cougar Pantry and we’d raise canned foods to give it straight back to campus. That was really impactful. Everything that we were donating was helping peers, just like ourselves.

How do you maintain balance as a student-athlete and help your community through these initiatives?

My staff members set the bar pretty high. They have to maintain a certain GPA and the biggest thing I tell newcomers to the committee—because it is a lot—is to time manage everything, to organize, keep everything in front of you and stay ahead as much as you can. If they ever feel like they are falling behind, I always tell them to ask for help. It’s totally fine to ask for help from admin, from myself or anyone else on my executive board because even if we don’t have the answer, we’ll help them.

For me, time management and organization, just keeping everything on the front foot.

Any advice you would like to give incoming student athletes/newcomers?

The student-athlete experience is a unique one, I would say to not take it for granted. Whether they know it or not, all student-athletes are learning skills and traits they would not get anywhere else. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way and just have fun with it. It goes by so fast.

I remember my first practice as a freshman. I remember the first fitness test we did, I remember my time, the team, everything and I remember what we were wearing. It goes by super-fast, so have fun with it, don’t take it for granted because that one year that we had off. I feel like after playing a sport for so many years—pretty much my entire life—you kind of just fall into a routine. But that one year of not playing at all helped me fall in love with the sport again.

For anyone coming into San Marcos, I would say that they’re coming into an organization that represents something bigger than themselves, really just embrace that and have that little chip on your shoulder that you’re representing a program that exceeds many expectations.

What is the best part about playing for CSUSM?

I’m just so proud to be a part of a team and a program that doesn’t just care about our performance on the field, but also just our well-being, mental health and just us as people. Every single person in the athletics department is teaching us for life, they’re coaching us for life. It’s not just about the next game or the next practice, they are teaching us things that will take us through our careers and relationships in general. I’m really proud to be a part of that and to have people around me that I know just want the best for me. I don’t think you can get that at a lot of places.

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos