Brains and brawn: Lane, Mirich and Bohn pursue difficult majors to prepare for life after Dickinson State football
The life of a collegiate student-athlete can be tough.
Tag on a double major, involvement in the honors program and sports, and it seems nearly impossible to complete.
But three players on the Dickinson State football team are rising to that challenge and have chosen majors asking a lot of them when they are not on the field.
Sophomore quarterback Thad Lane is a double major in business administration and accounting with a leadership minor. Sophomore receiver Wyatt Mirich majors in pre-professional biology and exercise science. Sophomore center Meyer Bohn majors in environmental science with chemistry minor.
All three are also involved in the university's Theodore Roosevelt leadership program and have lofty career goals for the future.
"I think it's wonderful when the players take pride in what they do in school," DSU head coach Hank Biesiot said. "It's nice to see the motivation carry over between (academics and athletics)."
Ever since he was younger, Lane had aspirations to become a college athletic coach.
Most would think someone who wanted to coach majors in exercise science. But Lane is double majoring in business and is expecting to spend at least six years in college.
Why all the trouble?
The self-proclaimed math nerd at first didn't know what to major in, but eventually figured accounting was the closest thing to math without exactly majoring in it and was a wise choice for any career path.
"I just didn't know what I wanted to do so these were kind of the closest things I could figure out that would allow me to still pursue other options but have something to fall back on and still do something that I enjoy if the bigger things don't necessarily work out," Lane said."
After he finishes his undergraduate degree, Lane plans to attend graduate school to get a master's degree and get his foot in the coaching door by helping out wherever he can.
But with the possibility of spending another three years at DSU, Lane is trying to speed up the process. He takes anywhere from 16 to 19 credits per semester.
"Right now, I have 18 credits. Some of those are in class, some of those are online," he said. "For the rest of my time here, it's going to be a pretty big workload."
During football season, the amount of work between practice, games and academics, as well as community service for the honors program, is a lot to handle. Sometimes, it can be too much. But through it all, Lane reminds himself that in the end, the hard work will pay off and he will have something to look forward to in his life after football.
"Football or whatever I do is only going to last so long, so there definitely has to be something that I can use after everything is over to be able to make a living and survive," Lane said.
Mirich has set high goals for his time at DSU, as well as afterwards.
The wide receiver and decathlete on the Blue Hawks track and field team ultimately wants to go to medical school or pursue a career in something involving athletics, whether that's in the physical therapy field or by receiving a research degree in kinesiology.
The key to obtaining his dream jobs is getting good grades, something which has been instilled by Mirich's family.
"The way I've always approached school was basically due to my parents telling me you need to get good grades, and it makes it hard because the time commitment for sports is so much more now than it was in high school or even then when I was a redshirt," he said. "It's a challenge, but something that you have to make work because to get where you want to go it's important to get good grades."
Between two sports, doing service work for the honors programs and taking classes like zoology and organic chemistry, slacking is a word which isn't in Mirich's vocabulary. He makes it look easier than it is even though constantly being on the go with academics and athletics pulling him in different directions.
For any student, the further they get into their major, the more challenging the workload and actual coursework becomes. But being so driven only benefitted his work ethic and learning to keep everything under control.
"It's definitely a challenge and it's something that I'm learning as I go," Mirich said. "Like my third-year courses that I'm taking now require a lot more time than my first-year courses did and it's just something that I had to adjust to. It's a lot of time management and you got to be a hard worker, you can't slack through it that's for sure."
To Bohn, prioritization is everything. Without it, he wouldn't be successful in football or his academics.
It was a rude awakening for Bohn when he first came to DSU and didn't realize the commitment he would have to make.
"I'll be honest. When I first started out, I kind of just relied on my intelligence and not developing study skills and time management," Bohn said. "As I've progressed and I've gotten more into this starting role, it takes a lot more time. You've got to focus a lot more on football."
Bohn knew he wanted to major in science when he came to DSU, but wasn't entirely sure which branch. After seeing firsthand what happened in Dickinson with the oil boom, the Bismarck Century High School graduate decided on an environmental science and chemistry minor as a way to get involved in the oil industry.
"I'm from North Dakota," Bohn said. "I want to preserve the state and be able to promote conservation throughout this big time of development it can be a good things as long as it's regulated."
Prioritization doesn't just help with just DSU football.
While the team is on the road, Bohn makes sure that all his work is done for the week so by Sunday, he can relax and watch NFL games.
"When I go on a bus ride I can't focus on school. That's football time. But when I get back, I try to do work every day throughout the week so I'm not stuck with it on Sunday. I try to get it all done because I want to watch the Vikings play," he said with a laugh. "I just space it out."
While football remains a top passion for Lane, Mirich and Bohn, as well as an escape from the stresses of college, all three players realize the crucial value of their education and what it takes to make their aspirations become a reality.
"Academics are first," Bohn said. That's what my parents would tell me. That's what everyone's been telling me my whole life. It's important to just prioritize and make sure that you're investing in your overall future, and not just these four or five years of football."