Sports

Leading on and off the court

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Bryana C. Burns, Jr., of the volleyball team is one of the 39 Pack student-athletes that made the Dean’s List spring semester.

Burns states she is greatly honored to be one of the 39 to make the Dean’s List.

“It truly is rewarding to be recognized after putting so many hours into attending classes and studying,” Burns said.

In high school, she played multiple sports and worked at a coffee shop in the mornings. Managing her time wisely by balancing athletics, academics and work comes naturally for her; it began when she was young and her parents instilled discipline and very supportive of her accomplishments.

“My parents were always really supportive, but also very strict and nothing less than straight A’s was acceptable,” Burns said.

Burns credits her support system of family, friends and teammates and also states, “I guess the only way I get through everything is one day at a time and lots of deep breaths.”

Burns has completed all the requirements for her undergraduate degree in accounting and is currently taking classes towards her Masters in Business Administration. She would also like to get another bachelors or at least a minor in Finance or Economics and is currently taking classes towards that degree as well.

Burns converts her discipline, work ethic and leadership skills onto the volleyball court.

She is described as being a leader on and off the court by CSU-Pueblo head volleyball coach Chris Jonson coaching for the university for five years.

“Bre plays the big sister role and her teammates look to her for leadership,” said Jonson.

Jonson met with Burns for the first time in the fall and didn’t know what to expect.

“Bre is the one that stepped up and does what needs to be done and pushes her teammates when they want to give up making sure they are successful,” Jonson said.

Burns is also described as a fighter in spite of her challenges and struggles on and off the court is Jonson is amazed at how she maintains a great attitude.

Standing at 6’0″, Burns is one of the Pack’s top front-row attackers and defenders. She finished the season fifth on the team in kills, third in attack percentage, third in blocks fourth in digs.

She would like to be elected captain, and lead the team into the conference tournament.

“Our team always sets very high goals both on the court and off,” Burns said.

Jonson is a strong supporter of academics and is concerned in the team’s education. The volleyball team maintains a 3.4 grade-point-average throughout the school year.

He is also a strong supporter of community service and believes players should give back and that is why the volleyball team has completed hundred of hours of community service.

Burns led the volleyball team in community service projects, including teaching volleyball skills to the youth and other team projects such as painting a house for Habitat for Humanity. The team invested an entire Saturday in the middle of spring training, which was their day of rest, and worked for almost nine hours painting.

The volleyball team challenged the softball team, since they obtained most community service hours last year, to compete for the most hours of service.

“Whether we break the record or not, it is about giving back to the community and no matter what the challenge we can achieve anything,” Jonson said.

Balancing academics, volleyball, community service and work isn’t enough that Burns makes time for other hobbies including reading, going to the lake or simply just something active such as snowboarding. She said her coach dislikes this recent interest of snowboarding because he is afraid she will get hurt.

Burns in not sure what the future has in store for her but at some point in her life she would like to be a coach for either volleyball or soccer and run her own business. She also desires to travel and play before career decisions are made, because she admits, “I’m clueless.”

“More than anything I just want to set a great example for all the athletes entering our program so that we can build a great program for the future,” Burns said.

She would like to inform all the potential college volleyball players that in spite of what you are told; you can be great or succeed in whatever you choose to do. “Have confidence and follow your dreams.”