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Sunday, Sep 26, 2021

Day in the Life: Cole Branch

Mercer lacrosse player Cole Branch is always on the go. From class, to practice, to homework, to workouts, this athlete always has a busy schedule.
At 7:00 a.m., Branch rolls out of bed and turns on the shower to start his day. Each morning for breakfast, the standout athlete consistently prepares himself scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, bacon, a bagel and cream cheese and a big glass of orange juice; a good hearty meal to get him through the day.
From his apartment, the double major in marketing and management heads to his first class, Entrepreneurship, which begins promptly at 8:00 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
With little time between classes, Branch heads straight from Entrepreneurship to Human Resource Management.
Finally at 10:40 a.m., he takes advantage of his break and gets in a meal. Sometimes he’ll head to the dreaded “caf,” but usually Branch will heat up a bowl of pasta at his apartment.
At about 12:05 p.m., Branch heads to his last class of the day, Business Writing and Communication.
After sitting through three long classes, the student athlete’s day is far from over. When Branch gets out of class at 1:30 p.m., he again returns to his apartment to get in one last meal to fuel up before his workouts begin.
On paper, practice is from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., but to keep his body healthy and to stand out on the field, Branch spends far more than two hours at the newly built training complex, Drake Field House.
“After injuring my shoulder in high school and then again my freshman year here, I really try to be diligent in taking care of my body by getting into the training room about an hour before practice and doing shoulder exercises,” Branch explains.
He also gets in the hot tub to warm-up his muscles before stretching out his legs and lower back. Once Branch is loose, he heads down to the field to get about 15 minutes of shooting in to warm up.
“It’s important to be loose going into practice, especially when it’s cold outside. Not only does stretching really help prevent injury, but if I’m loose and ready to go right at 3:30 when practice starts, I can give 100% from start to finish and don’t have to take time to warm up my muscles,” says Branch.
After a solid practice under new head coach, Kyle Hannan, Branch heads back into the field house to meet with his coach and go over some of their offense.
“With a new coach, we all have to learn a completely new offense. A few of us meet after practice to go over how we did and what we need to change and do better going into the next practice. It’s a lot of work and a lot to learn, but I’m really happy with the changes that are being made and look forward to the success we’ll have this season,” Branch says with a small grin on his face.
Finally at about 6:30 p.m., Branch showers off in the locker room and heads back to his apartment to make himself dinner.
As tempted as he is to get into bed and relax, Branch must take advantage of the little time he has to do his schoolwork. The exhausted yet hardworking student athlete goes to the library for a couple of hours to work on a paper or presentation that he might have coming up or just do some simple marketing textbook reading and assignments.
Although it is quite rare, some nights Branch doesn’t have homework and actually has “free-time.”
“If have any time to myself, I like to play basketball, but usually I just relax and catch up on my favorite television shows like ‘Workaholics,’” says Branch.
When all of his homework and studies are complete, Branch can finally call it a night. He gets into bed, sets his alarm for 5:30 a.m., and quickly falls asleep hoping to get in enough rest before 6:00 a.m. conditioning that the team has every Wednesday.
For the past two seasons, Branch has been one of the Bears’ leading scorers and has played in all 27 games that Mercer lacrosse has competed in. Never settling for anything, the exceptional lacrosse player looks to perform on the field even better than previous seasons along with leading his team to success. The Bears’ first game will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 against Rollins at home on The William H. Anderson II Family Field.


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