Many people spend a lifetime searching for their calling. Brooks Hanson knew from an early age however, that his future would include baseball… and science.
The first year baseball and pre-med student from Vancouver, Wash. has been playing ball since four – longer if you count games of catch and whiffle ball in the yard with his dad; and he can’t even remember a time he wasn’t drawn to science and math – they just made sense, he says.
“I’ve always liked the challenge of figuring out how things work, so I suppose it’s not a surprise that I like two things that require a lot of studying and patience,” Hanson said.
Maintaining two time-demanding pursuits might seem daunting he said, but the baseball program at BC helps out a lot when it comes to balancing the rigors of academic life and playing ball at a competitive level. While many programs have early training sessions for their athletes, baseball meets in the afternoon to allow student athletes adequate time for sleep and academics. There are also team study groups and the coaching staff work to pair teammates in classes so they always have a study partner during travel for away games.
“While it is likely not known campus-wide, the baseball team graduates 90 to 100 percent of their players with associates degrees in two years on an annual basis,” said head BC baseball coach, Mark Yoshino. “Last spring, there were three players that earned distinction honors – academic success is hugely valued within the program.”
Hanson always knew he had a knack for baseball, but he realized his college baseball potential in high school pitching in the state championship game – and getting the win. A win that was particularly poignant, he says because the team grew up playing ball together. Not surprisingly, a good number of Hanson’s high school teammates and friends also play college ball – five or six of them in the NWAC alone!
That camaraderie and friendship however, doesn’t keep Hanson from wanting to meet them on the field – and win. His goal while at Bellevue College is to win an NWAC championship. A feat he says is easily within reach for the current team. “There’s so much talent on this team – almost too much talent!” he said. “We’re a really balanced team as well: we don’t have any peaks or valleys as far as talent goes – I see a lot of depth to this team’s talent and dedication.”
With all his drive and ability, Hanson was not without offers to play ball in higher ed, but he says Bellevue College was just a good fit, offering not just an excellent baseball program, but a school with outstanding STEM offerings, a beautiful campus and a great location.
“Brooks came to us on a recommendation by a professional baseball scout in Vancouver. Half of the recommendation was based on his athletic talent. The other half was based after the scout said, ‘Brooks is a high academic guy who comes from a good family,’” said Coach Yoshino. “We recruited him immediately after hearing those words. Brooks is our first recruit from Vancouver since 1995.”
Hanson plans to keep his nose down, keep his grades up and bring home a championship in the next two years at BC before continuing his studies, where, he says he will continue to work to make his parents proud. “My parents have been a huge help and motivation for me,” he said. “Having them there to encourage me and tell me that I am doing the right thing and that they’re proud of me. My parents are my biggest supporters and I couldn’t do it without them.”
-by Evan Espstein
Last Updated October 30, 2015