Skip to main content

The City Journals

Holland Exhibits Perfect ‘Balance’ as Student-Athlete

Aug 04, 2016 01:46PM ● By Travis Barton

Josh Holland graduated from Westminster in April having been named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Midfielder of the Year in men’s lacrosse and the Academic Player of the Year. –Bob McLellan

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Sugar House, Utah - Senior year of college can be the busiest time of a student-athlete’s collegiate career with academics, sports and internships soaking up all of their time. That didn’t affect the quality of Josh Holland as he earned accolades for his efforts both on the lacrosse field and in the classroom.

Holland graduated in May from Westminster College having been named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Midfielder of the Year in men’s lacrosse and Academic Player of the Year. Holland was also recognized as one of Westminster’s top Scholar-Athletes for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Being able to win one in both categories is pretty cool,” Holland said.

Holland was named to the First Team All-RMAC as he finished the regular season second in the conference in goal scoring averaging 3.2 per game. And proving just as proficient in the classroom, Holland graduated with a 3.94 GPA.

Mason Goodhand, Westminster men’s lacrosse head coach, said it’s been a pleasure coaching someone as driven as Holland.

“It was great coaching someone who was always asking for more, more info, more knowledge, more insight,” Goodhand said.

Reflecting back on everything now, Holland said the athletic achievement will probably carry a little more weight for the rest of his life.

“If I were to show my kids, I’d probably rather show them that I was able to excel in the sport and maintain my grades as a student-athlete,” Holland said.

Goodhand said Holland has been inspirational and is grateful that he capitalized on his time at Westminster.

“He came in and blew it up and got the maximum amount of this opportunity, and has been a role model to other young players,” Goodhand said.

Holland said he was surprised to receive the academic awards because they’re not something he would ever expect to receive.

“In high school I had OK grades – just like a 3.2 kinda deal – I mean I love school at Westminister so it was pretty easy to keep up on my grades and stuff but honestly it’s not something I thought I would win,” Holland said.

In order to be successful in both the athletic and academic arenas, Holland said he had the self-awareness to recognize his capabilities and his limitations to achieve the proper balance.

“I learned my limits pretty early in college as far as what it takes to get stuff done in a certain amount of time,” Holland said.

Holland, who majored in Clinical Psychology, would often utilize his downtime for school work like going to the library between classes or simply memorizing vocabulary during his 40-minute commute to and from school.

“It’s just maximizing my time really,” Holland said.

Goodhand said Holland demonstrated the necessary discipline to exceed in being a student-athlete and will be a great asset to whatever he does next.

“[Josh] displayed himself to not only commit himself to a tough routine, but to excel in all those areas,” Goodhand said. “I’m very confident Josh has a fine career in front of him.”

“It’s just being balanced in both of them to where you’re able to maintain good grades, cause that’s what matters in college, and being able to play your sport and excel there,” Holland, who began playing lacrosse in ninth grade, said.

In a senior year that ended with personal awards and a team appearance in the championship game of the inaugural RMAC Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, Holland identified the year as “the most fun and the most rewarding by far.” The team finished the year with a 7-1 record in conference and also led the conference in team GPA.

As the team captain, Goodhand said Holland was instrumental in guiding the team through their transition into a new conference and new playing level.

“He was our rock…that talent will certainly be missed but the bar he has set for the young guys who share that academic 3.44 team GPA accomplishment leaves the program in a really good place,” Goodhand said.

As for what happens next, Holland said he plans on saving up money so he can go to graduate school and earn a Ph.D. in Psychology to become a professor.