THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Thousands of student-athletes give it everything they have all year round to be the best at their respective sport. They work hard, not only for themselves, but for their team. This fall, five Cal Lutheran student-athletes were honored for their accomplishments as Ben Brown, Obasi Dees, Dillon Goldsmith, Maci Haddad and George Lundgren garnered All-America honors.
The awards may be given to individuals, but all five student-athletes said they wouldn't be able to accomplish their goals without their teammates, coaches and family pushing them to be the best that they can be.
The four Kingsmen and one Regal all earned All-America status for the first time in their careers. Brown was named First Team with the rest earning Honorable Mention.
Dees, a junior defensive back on the football team, said it is a blessing and he thanks God for giving him the opportunity to play the game he loves.
"It just shows me that working hard pays off," said Dees. "It humbles me more and then I want to continue to work harder and never settle. To represent Cal Lutheran, it means a lot. It also shows the coaches had a lot of faith in me from the start."
All five athletes add their name to the rich history of Cal Lutheran athletics. Freshmen Brown (men's water polo, left-attacker) and Haddad (women's volleyball, middle blocker) echoed each other when talking about their program's history while they were being recruited and when they got here.
"Coach Roesel always talks about the All-Americans," said Haddad. "She will start off practices with a story about one of them, and to think, she might be talking about me that way in the future. That is when I really decided that I wanted to come here, after meeting Coach Roesel and hearing about the history."
"At the beginning of the season, Coach Rond gave us some guidelines about how he wants the water polo team to be," said Brown. "I was more of a passer for club, but coach told me to be more of an attacker. I'm very thankful for what he has taught me about the game and how he had trust in me."
An All-America honor not only shows what the individual did, but also gives praise to their environment as a whole.
"The accolades are always really nice," said women's volleyball head coach Kellee Roesel. "I root for all of our teams so much and having five is amazing. I'm really happy for all the kids. It's a privilege to be an All-American so it's a testament to their work ethic, drive, athleticism and to their coaches and teammates too."
"All their teammates see what they are doing and can learn what that type of work ethic can get you," said football head coach Ben McEnroe. "To see these athletes being recognized is a blessing. It just shows the type of character that we as coaches are trying to bring into our programs. I couldn't be happier for the teams and their student-athletes."
The work ethic is a real thing. Some student-athletes can about it, others live by it.
"When your body and mind says no, you're saying yes, because you have a goal you want to reach," said Dees. "I am definitely happy to know that other student-athletes are out there working hard, and not settling for anything less."
"It takes a lot, mentally and physically," said Haddad. "Coming in freshman year, it was a lot more than I expected. It takes a lot of perseverance, but I knew what I wanted. So it's even more rewarding to have accomplished my goal."
These types of student-athletes can always make an impression on a program. Their drive is a testament to how they were brought up, their family and friends, coaches, teammates and of course themselves.
"It speaks volumes to the type of student-athletes we are recruiting as well as the hard work that is going into each season," said Rond. "We have an amazing staff of coaches that work tirelessly toward being successful and seeing student-athletes succeed. CLU is a great place to attend for both academic and athletic success."
With their All-American seasons in the books, student-athletes can rest, refuel and keep grinding. While talking to the CLU student-athletes, one thing was for certain, they will keep working hard and continue to get better at their craft.
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director