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They know no offseason

For college athletes, summer often isn’t much of a vacation
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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In the dog days of summer, Devin Ginty doesn’t mind spending hours in the gym each day, while a lot of his peers are free to play in the San Diego surf. The Colfax High graduate’s only complaint with his summer schedule is the hours spent cooped up in the classroom at the University of San Diego. “Basketball is still a lot of fun — the burnout is more on the classes,” Ginty said last week. “I’ve never taken summer school before. I definitely like to enjoy my summers so it will be nice when I’m done and I can come up there to visit.” Ginty’s relaxing summer will be crammed into about two weeks as he returned home to visit friends and family last weekend. Such is the life of a Division I athlete. “It’s basically year-round,” Ginty said of his basketball schedule. “It’s a full-time job, but it’s definitely worth it.” Ginty and his teammates spent the summer at the USD campus taking classes, working out with the Toreros’ strength and conditioning coach (NCAA rules limit the time team coaches can spend with players). The players then hit the court for open gym. “During the summer you choose your own destiny,” Ginty said. “It’s nice that you’re on your own.” Ginty said he still found time to explore San Diego’s beaches and have some fun this summer. But he was hardly resting on his laurels even after a remarkable freshman year at USD. Ginty was a pleasant surprise as a walk-on freshman with the Toreros last season. He played very little in December, but as injuries hit the team, he got his chance. Ginty scored 18 points in San Diego’s stunning 81-72 win at Kentucky and helped the team win the West Coast Conference tournament. He hit a pair of clutch free throws as the 13th-seeded Toreros upset No. 4 Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. “I’m glad I was able to build my way up last year,” Ginty said. “This year I have more confidence and it really helps to be here in the off-season, developing chemistry in open gym. Last year we had five freshmen and a new coaching staff so this year we all know each other a lot better.” San Diego returns its entire roster next season and will be one of the favorites in the WCC. There’s already a buzz about the team around San Diego, where the Toreros’ run last March brought many to the bandwagon. “We’re definitely excited about the future,” Ginty said. “By the end of last year the whole school, the whole city was definitely pulling for us. We’re already checking the Internet and different blogs to see if we might be ranked in the top 25. “The season’s definitely the funnest part of basketball, but the offseason is when you make it fun.” The work never stops for Welz Rachel Welz doesn’t have a coach barking orders at her this summer. But her marching orders are delivered via e-mail and she’s no less motivated to follow them. The Bear River High graduate admits her freshman season on the Sacramento State track and field team was a disappointment, so she’s putting in the time this summer to turn that around. “Our workouts are a little shorter in the summer, but I’d say they’re just as hard,” said Welz, who usually does her individual workouts at Bear River. “There’s a lot because with the heptathlon I’m training for seven different events and they’re all very different.” Welz competed primarily in the high jump last spring. She took first at the Causeway Classic with a jump of 5 feet, 3 inches. This summer she’s focusing on getting faster and quicker to compete with Division I caliber competition. The step up to the highest level of college athletics was a tough transition. “You go from a Division IV high school to a Division I college and it’s very different,” Welz said. “There are more expectations (at Sacramento State) and it’s harder to fill those expectations.” Welz will be back in school on Sept. 2 and resume practices with her teammates on Sept. 15.