What does it take to play sports at the college level?

Sartell graduates who go on to play college sports have a lot to think about before they commit. There is a lot to think about when playing college sports, because high school sports and college sports are a lot different. 

College sports are a lot more of a commitment in college and are also more intense. As you move up in divisions, it is more intense and more of a time commitment. Also the level of talent is higher at a better division. 

The main difference from high school sports to college sports is that in college almost everyone is talented at the sport. When in college usually you are only focusing on one sport which will make you better at the one sport. Also when you come to college you are already gifted in that sport you are just trying to take your skills and advance them. 

There are multiple ways to know if you have the potential to play a college sport. Talking to your coach and asking them if your skills are good enough to play in college . Also it would be a good idea to reach out to college coaches and talk to them about what you have done and see what they say.   

Thomas Gieske is a 2019 Sartell graduate and played basketball for Sartell and went on to play at Mayville State University. Thomas got looked at by Mayville during his senior year by the Sartell team winning lots of games, and Thomas being a standout player on the basketball team. Thomas said that the transition from high school basketball to college basketball was a huge change for him.

Thomas said, “Basketball in college is very demanding on the body by having to practice more and also having to workout.”

Basketball feels like his number one priority in college and takes up most of his time. One thing that was noticeably different between high school and college for Thomas was, “I went from one of the tallest on my high school team to one of the shortest on my college team.” 

Even though it is a lot of work and consumes a lot of Thomas’s time, he has enjoyed playing basketball in college and has been able to make a lot of new friends on his team and also other teams. He has also made a lot of memories.  His favorite one was winning the conference tournament his freshman year (2020) and playing in the national tournament. 

Going to Mayville has been the best decision of my life from the classes I have taken, the relationships I have made and the impact basketball has made on my life.”

— Thomas Gieske

Gus Gunderson has recently committed to Mayville State University to continue his impressive basketball career. 

When Gus was in 4th grade he started playing basketball and really had a passion for it. He joined a SABA (Sartell Area Basketball Association) basketball team in 4th grade and at that point Gus was not a great basketball player. 

Gus then dedicated a lot of his time to practicing basketball to improve his game.  After years of practicing basketball, Gus was able to make the A team in 7th and 8th grade where he was able to perform well. Then when Gus was a freshman he got moved up to the 10th grade team and from there his basketball career was boosted and he knew that  he was a good player and had a lot of potential. Then as a 10th grader he played on the jv team and sat varsity and he played on varsity his junior and senior year.  

Gus enjoyed his last year of high school basketball. He said “[The team was] able to get off to a hot start.”

The regular season was a lot of fun, and they went into the playoffs strong but unfortunately had a sad ending when the team thought they had a lot of potential to go far this season. The Sartell basketball team had a great first win against Bemidji in the first round of playoffs. They had high hopes of beating Sauk Rapids in the second round but came up just short. 

Gus enjoyed practicing with the team and doing activities outside of basketball with the team. They had a bowling tournament as a team, and he thought that was a lot of fun.  The highlight of Gus’s season was throwing a lob to teammate Mason Lund during the playoffs; it brought a big swing to the game, and they went on to win the playoff game against Bemidji. 

Gus will now be taking his basketball skills to the next level at Mayville State University. He said that Thomas Gieske was a huge help to getting him on the Mayville team.

Gus said “It was a great college fit and has a great opportunity and great place to improve his game”.

Gus said that putting in all the hard work and never giving up were some of the most valuable characteristics that contributed to him being able to play there. Besides being able to continue his basketball career, Gus is also excited to meet all of his new teammates and improve his skills.


Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.”

— Gus Gunderson