Track Standout Builds Leadership Skills at Forum
By Jay Paris
Mr. Stalboerger went to Washington and Cal State San Marcos is the better for it.
“The trip was awesome,” Tim Stalboerger said.
Stalboerger, a CSUSM political science major and a member of the Cougars’ track and field team, was among 220 student-athletes invited to the nation’s capital in November. He attended the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, where he absorbed lessons that will benefit his fellow Cougars.
Although Stalboerger was surprised that he was selected to represent CSUSM.
“I think the school wants someone who is kind of young and can use this stuff in the coming years,” Stalboerger said.
It’s clear this 19-year-old has the right stuff. It’s no accident his name was drawn to go enhance his leadership skills.
“As a person and as a student-athlete, he is exactly what we are looking for,” said David Nathanson, CSUSM’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee adviser. “He is the model student-athlete in that he puts his academics first and foremost, but then he still excels athletically.
“And beyond that, he’s also super involved. He’s a member of our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and even though he is a sophomore, he has really wanted to take a leadership role in that.”
All that punched his ticket to D.C. Stalboerger’s exposure to the event’s diverse blend of students and college administrators presented fresh ideas.
There were books, videos and lectures he consumed. But it was the breakout group sessions that had the most significance.
“There was about 20 people sharing ideas on different topics, and that helped stimulate other ideas and topics,” Stalboerger said. “You got to hear from different people from different colleges, from Division I to Division III, from all over the country. Everyone told what ideas worked for them.”
The NCAA’s goal is to plant a leadership seed in the attendees and then have it blossom when returning to campus. Nathanson is confident Stalboerger will share his experience with his CSUSM colleagues.
“What they are really trying to prepare the student-athlete for is life after college,” Stalboerger said. “If we are learning leadership skills while in college, we can use them in our sport, too. But when you get out of college, very few students go pro. So they can still take those things they learned through college sports and apply them in life.”
Few represent the CSUSM student-athlete pulse more than Stalboerger.
“He’s ultra-motivated and ultra-involved,” Nathanson said. “He wants to be involved in everything, to give back and to help make the student-athlete experience as strong as it can possibly be for everybody. He’s really a natural-born leader.”
Which gives birth to the question: What makes a strong leader?
“For me it’s leading by example,” said Stalboerger, who throws the javelin for the Cougars. “A good leader can take a group of people, get in front of that group of people, and take it where it needs to be to get the job done. It takes communication with other people and letting them know they can do it.”
Stalboerger’s can-do spirit serves him well. His future includes serving his country in the U.S. Army, and Nathanson notes that Stalboerger is looking at enlisting in Army Officer Candidate School.
“I try to get involved where I can,” Stalboerger said. “I think the school sees me as someone to help lead San Marcos to where it wants to be, to get our name out there.”