Wagner Looks to Lead by Example

By Carolyn Linck, '11

Senior and team leader Curtis Wagner (CW) is ready for the 2011 baseball season.  Looking forward to his last year playing for the Broncos, Wagner hopes he and the other returning players can lead the young SCU team by example.  Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Wagner about how he balances baseball with school, his leadership style and his hopes for this season.

SCB: What is it like going into your senior season? What are you hoping to accomplish in your last year as a member of the Bronco baseball team?

CW: I'm extremely excited to be a part of the 2011 Broncos for my senior season. The last three years seem like they have really flown by, so I'm trying to savor every day right now because it could be my last season on a baseball field. We are looking to improve tremendously from last year.  We've been working hard every day in the weight room and on the field so we can make a run at a conference championship and a regional berth. We definitely have the talent to do so, and we just need to all be pulling on the same end of the rope.

SCB: How do you view your role on the team as a leader?  How would you describe your leadership style?

CW: I think we have great leadership on this team, and I would consider myself one of the most vocal presences on the field and in the lockerroom. I know how the program works because I've been here for four years, and I think its important to make sure people are doing the right things on and off the field. For the younger players (especially the freshman), I also like to lead by example, to make sure they know how hard and how intense we practice.

SCB: Do you think it is especially important for you and other upperclassmen to set the tone since you have such a young team? How do you try to help out the younger guys?

CW: Our captains have done a great job getting the new players caught up to how we practice and play here. It is important for us to lead by example so the freshman have someone to model themselves after. That being said, while we still are very young, we should not play like a young team. Sophomores like Justin Viele, Pat Stover, and Matt Ozanne got a lot of playing time last year, and that experience will definitely determine how well they do this year (not their age). It is important for Pat Terry, Thain Simon and I to make sure they continue to push themselves, because that will only help us in the long run.

SCB: What has been your best memory in the last four years of playing baseball for Santa Clara University?

CW:      Team-wise, my best memories are the walk-off wins we had during my freshman year. I also love beating Stanford, which we have done every year since I've been here. Individually, my best memory has to be hitting a home run on top of the Domicilio roof last year against Saint Mary's. That was pretty neat.

SCB: Last year you were selected to the 2010 WCC Academic All-American team and named as an ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American. How are you able to balance school and baseball?

CW: Time management is the key. There are enough hours in the day to do both, but you have to be on top of your time. Communicating with your professors is also huge, since most professors are willing to be flexible and help students out if they come talk to them. Classes in the quarter system move quickly, so it is important to always be on top of the work and to not procrastinate.

SCB: What are your post-graduation plans?

CW: Hopefully I will get a chance to play professional baseball after this year. If that doesn't happen, I will probably go back home to Manhattan Beach to start looking for a job. I am an economics major, but I do not know exactly what field I want to go into after graduation. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to find work in baseball even if I'm no longer playing, like with the Dodgers or something.