St. Mary's graduate Nathan Schroepfer pushes himself on and off the field at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Gustavus has been a hot spot for local athletes. In recent years, Gustavus has had over five student-athletes commit to Gustavus. In the middle of winter in 2018, Nathan Schroepfer added himself to that list.

Schroepfer took some time to commit to a school because he wanted to play college football, he just wasn’t getting any offers. With the passion and work ethic, Schroepfer displayed in his time at St. Mary’s it was difficult for him to grasp that his football career could be over. “It was extremely hard on me,” Schroepfer says. “I just continued to workout and lift in the weight room in hopes of playing college football.

Just as Schroepfer thought he wasn’t going to be able to play on the gridiron anymore, Gustavus football called and offered him a position on their football team. Not only did the opportunity to play football entice Schroepfer, but to also be able to play in front of his parents factored into his decision as well.

In his short time at Gustavus, Schroepfer has been taking up a degree in Business Management with an expected graduate date in June of 2021.

Schroepfer excelled academically at St. Mary’s High School and says the jump to Gustavus has not been easy. He often finds himself working a lot harder in his classes in college than he did in high school. Despite the challenges, Schroepfer says it has made him much more responsible and his time at Gustavus has shaped him into a better person.

“I think as a person I am much more responsible, the days can get long and I have had to learn how to manage my time and grow up fast.” Nathan also says that being a student-athlete has challenged his body and mind more than ever before. Nathan says of the demands of a student-athlete, “they demand a lot of me, but I just try to put forth my best effort towards everything I do and grow every day.”

Schroepfer thinks part of that work ethic comes from the city of Sleepy Eye and his strength and conditioning coach, Zach Vine. Schroepfer says of Sleepy Eye, “I like to use it as a little chip on my shoulder, a lot of my teammates are from the cities and big schools, or larger states like Texas or Florida.” Schroepfer doesn’t let that phase him as he believes he can still participate in this level of competition despite coming from a small city.

Vine received high praise from Schroepfer. Schroepfer credits Vine’s commitment to the program to Schroepfer’s growth as an athlete and a person. Vine’s insane amount of hours he puts in and the dedication he has towards players as really gained Schroepfer’s respect.

Off the field, Schroepfer credits his parents, Tom and Mary Jo Schroepfer. “I can’t even put into words what their support has meant to me,” he says. “They’ve never put pressure on me, but have just wanted me to do my best, which I am very grateful for.”

Nathan credits his dad for taking him to so many Gopher games and camps when he was younger, as that had an influence on his aspirations to play college football. “Growing up I watched a lot of football, and that’s where I found the love for the sport.”

Academically, Schroepfer has a goal of reaching the Dean’ List and represent the Gusties as an All-Academic selection. Last semester, Schroepfer earned himself a spot on the Dean’s List and hopes to find himself on the All-Academic team this fall.

As the interview concluded, Schroepfer admits there have been challenges over the years, but he credits his high school basketball coach Tim Milliard in helping him handle the adversity.

Schroepfer says when he took trips home, he was sure to visit Milliard. “Coach Milliard impacted my life immensely in my short time playing for him,” Schroepfer says that the way Milliard handled situations with adversity was a testament to his character and taught him how to improve his own character as well.

Nathan has been getting time at running back for Gustavus this season and has the week off as the Gusties prepare for their homecoming game vs Concordia Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.