The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team honored its three seniors Sunday, May 1, prior to its doubleheader against DePauw University – Julian Clarke majoring in economics with a minor in marketing; Max Golembo majoring in finance and entrepreneurship; and Kyle Kozak majoring in finance.
This group has helped lead the Bears to a 115-61 overall record, good for a 65.3 winning percentage, and four with 25 or more wins. During this time the Bears won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 UAA Championship, and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015. The Bears also tied the single-season school record with 34 wins a year ago.
The Class of 2016 sat down with Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Chris Mitchell to discuss the past four years at WashU.
What made you choose to come to WashU?
JULIAN CLARKE: WashU was a special place for me even before I became a student here. My mom went to WashU for both undergrad and graduate school, so some of our closest family friends and some of the most important people in my life are WashU grads. After hearing how great of a place this was for them, along with the combination of an opportunity to play competitive baseball and take part in stellar academic programs, it was a no brainer.
MAX GOLEMBO: I wanted to be able to play baseball and be challenged academically. WashU provided the best of both worlds.
KYLE KOZAK: I chose to come to WashU because I thought it was a good fit for me both academically and baseball-wise. WashU is a well-known, nationally recognized school, and I had an opportunity to get significant playing time on the baseball team right away.
How do you balance your schedule between baseball and school?
JC: I knew from the beginning of freshman year that I wanted to be as involved on campus as I could, so sticking to a consistent schedule has been important for me. It’s meant a lot of early mornings and late nights, but it’s allowed me to stay a part of all the things I wanted to prioritize.
MG: Time management is a crucial aspect of being a student athlete at WashU. The best way to avoid any sort of conflict is getting as much work done as you can in any free time you have. Procrastinating, especially in season, is not a smart thing to do and I’ve learned that the hard way.
KK: This is something I struggled with quite a bit when I first got to school. Once I learned the expectations for baseball as far as practice and games go, I was able to organize my schedule better. I often plan out study periods at the beginning of each week based on my baseball schedule.
What have you learned from playing under head coach Pat Bloom?
JC: Too much to adequately describe in this space. I’ve developed more in this past year than any period of time in my athletic life and I owe that all to Coach Bloom.
MG: Having the opportunity to play under coach Bloom has been an absolute honor. He is such an incredible leader and baseball mind. I learn something from him every day on and off the field. I think the most important thing I’ve learned from him and something I can carry on into my professional life is that no matter what carry yourself with class and be a high character individual, no matter the situation you are faced with. I could go on into more baseball specific things because there’s so much to learn from him but it would take up another 30 minutes.
KK: Probably the most important thing that I have learned under coach Bloom is how to adjust to large organizational changes. When the new coaching staff came in, expectations changed immensely and veteran players had to change some of our habits that we had developed the past couple years. As far as baseball goes, I have learned to stay in the game every single pitch. There were times in the past where passed balls would happen and I would shake it off as, “That kind of thing happens every once in a while.” In reality, there’s no reason for mistakes like that to ever happen and I have really learned to stay locked in at all times, and that is now the expectation. I demand more from myself on the field than I have in the past, and I think I have improved immensely, especially defensively, because of it.
What is your favorite baseball memory at WashU?
JC: Winning UAA’s outright this year was pretty awesome, but more than the title, beating Emory on a walk off home run in extra innings after pitching 9 1/3 innings and thinking I’d lost the game is something I will never forget. It’s incredible when your teammates can pick you up like that.
MG: My favorite baseball memory has to be this year’s game against Emory. After squandering a bases loaded opportunity in the bottom of the 9th and Emory coming back and pushing across a run in the top of the 10th to go up 2-1. I singled with two outs and Santos hit the two-strike walk-off homer. That was something I will never forget. Rounding the bases knowing that I get to leave the field beating Emory in my final game against them was special.
KK: My favorite baseball memory has to be finding out that we made a regional last year. It was the first time that a WashU team made a regional since I have been here and there was a lot of positive energy going into the playoffs. We were all together as a team when we found out so that was cool to go around congratulating each other. I’m sure that will be a regular occurrence for this team going forward.
What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU?
JC: I’ll be working as an Analyst at Medallia, a Sequoia Capital-backed software company in Palo Alto, Calif.
MG: I am going to work for Lincoln International investment bank in Chicago. I will be working as a mergers and acquisitions analyst.
KK: I am going home to scribe in a hospital while I apply for medical school.
By Chris Mitchell
Assistant Athletic Director for Communications