This is the definition of ‘fit’ – of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose.
The purpose of a higher education is to equip an individual with the knowledge and skills to be successful in their chosen profession while being an upstanding citizen. The purpose of collegiate athletics is to have sports serve as the front door to the college or university, where one’s athletic skills affords them the opportunity to be aware and enroll in its institution of higher education.
Often in today’s amateur sports world, the purpose of higher education and the purpose of being a student-athlete is muddied or forgotten altogether. But not for Jack Hagen. The BPA class of 2022 catcher knows exactly what he wants in an institute of higher education, what he seeks to be as a student-athlete, and why the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater provides the right fit for him.
Here’s Hagen on his commitment on joining the Warhawk program.
In five words, describe what it feels like to say Jack Hagen, Wisconsin-Whitewater-commit.
Proud, excited, and very motivated.
Now, in more than five words, describe the moment or thoughts behind determining Whitewater was the right fit for you.
For me, Whitewater checked all the boxes for what I was looking for in a school. It is a pretty good size school at about 10,000 students, it is in a lively college town with an awesome downtown, a great business school, a very big football program and stadium, and most importantly a very well respected and competitive baseball program where I feel I will be able to successfully further develop myself as a student-athlete.
Do you recall the first time the Warhawk staff let you know of their interest in you joining their program?
Yes I remember reaching out to the coaching staff after researching the school and then immediately I received a lot of interest after they saw my videos and learned that my family is from and still lives in the state of Wisconsin.
What sold you on continuing their athletic career as a part of their program?
Well what first drew me to the program was their successful track record. They are always in contention for a national championship which brings a certain level of expectations and accountability to everything done in the program and is exactly the kind of environment I wanted to be a part of. What sold it for me though was when I went to visit and saw not only an amazing campus and baseball facilities, but I felt at home with the coaching staff and the people of the great state of Wisconsin.
Can you point to a specific moment or aspect of being a part of BPA that helped you reach your goal of playing at the next level?
To be honest, there are too many to count. The experience as a whole in the program and playing for Coach Jared Sandler has shaped me into the player I am today and prepared me for the next level. The biggest aspect of this though was learning how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. With BPA I learned how to be adaptable and ready to perform in any situation no matter where you may be, what may have happened, or who may be watching.
When you look at the BPA pitching staff and the level of prospects you received pitches from, how did that help in your growth as a catcher?
I have been very fortunate to catch some elite arms throughout my time with BPA. This has pushed me to become a better catcher by elevating the standard and expectation for how I should play. I have learned a lot from my pitchers, especially the preparation and dedication it takes to be able to do what they do. Seeing them put in the work they do is very contagious. I try to implement the same kind of habits into my training so I am ready to perform and help make my pitchers better from behind the plate.
Is there a particular game, tournament or trip that sticks out to you from your time wearing the Black and Gold?
They all have been unique and great learning experiences but my favorite is the college trips. While they might be a little bit more of a grind than your regular tournament, we have the opportunity to play everyday at amazing schools across the country. These trips have exposed me to different parts of the country that I probably never would have gone to, which is quite a unique experience many people don’t have. I would usually travel by myself on these trips and I always had the best time with my teammates both on and off the field.
As we enter the final month of 2021, where is your focus now, a little more than six months from your prep career ending?
Right now I am also working to become a more explosive athlete and translating that into my game on the field. However, I think my biggest focus is on the mental aspect of my game. This is something that many people often neglect and something I have struggled with in the past. Through visualization and meditation exercises I am working to become more confident and assertive in my game in order to maximize the work that I put in off the field.
If you had 15 seconds to sell an incoming freshman on joining BPA, what would you tell them?
If you fully buy in, you will find somewhere where you can develop and maximize your potential as a baseball player. It may not always be easy but if you are willing to push through and find a way to make it work, good things will happen.