Maryville Athletes Join Forces for Good Cause

Maryville University’s Challenging Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success (CHAMPS)/Life Skills Program hosted Bowl for a Buck last Tuesday, March 20. The event, which was open to all Maryville student-athletes, was held at Brunswick Zone in Chesterfield, Mo.

The event was sponsored by the NCAA Choices Grant, which promotes responsible decision-making and alcohol awareness. It allowed student-athletes to participate in an alcohol-free bowling tournament and socialize with members from different teams. A total of 30 athletes were in attendance.

“The night was all about getting athletes to interact with each other in an alcohol-free setting,” said CHAMPS Co-president, Tomi Benney. Benney, who is also a member of the Maryville women’s soccer team, played a large role in planning the event.

The night also provided attendants with drug and alcohol information. An interactive trivia game was conducted with the help of members from Maryville’s HERO’s Program.

“We learned about the affects of alcohol on the body,” said Freshman Hanna Seitter, member of the Maryville volleyball team. “I don’t think most people realize the extent of which alcohol negatively affects athletic performance. We learned that drinking can prevent muscle gain from exercise for up to 48 hours.”

All participating athletes donated $1 or more to a fund that will be given to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Other items that were donated included canned goods, which will be delivered to a local St. Louis charity.

“The greatest part of the event was that all athletes were able to hang out outside of our individual sports. I bowled with two basketball players and a wrestler. It was a cool way to get to know the people I support at games,” Seitter said.

Another mission of the event was to promote camaraderie between athletes. For CHAMPS member, Sophomore Tony Boehmer, being a part of the program has taught him the value of building friendships with other athletes.

Boehmer, a member of the men’s tennis team said, “We support Maryville as a whole. I’ve become friends with people in CHAMPS that I wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to know.”

Boehmer joined CHAMPS because of what the name stands for: “Challenging Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success.”

According to the director of the program, Tonya Charland, assistant director of athletics for NCAA compliance, CHAMPS is designed to benefit and enrich the lives of Maryville’s student-athletes.

“We are being collaborative in our efforts to be interactive in the community,” Charland said.  “This was our program’s first major planned event. It was encouraging to see the fellowship and interaction between the athletes from our teams. We hope to have more involvement in our future events.”


The mission statement, according to the CHAMPS/Life Skills program, includes commitments to five major components:

  • Academic Excellence – to support the academic progress of the student-athlete toward intellectual development and graduation.
  • Athletic Excellence – to build philosophical foundations for the development of athletic programs that are broad-based, equitable and dedicated to the well-being of the student-athlete.
  • Personal Development – to support the development of a well-balanced lifestyle for student-athletes, encouraging emotional well-being, personal growth, and decision-making skills.
  • Career Development – to encourage the student-athlete to develop and pursue career and life goals.
  • Service – to engage the student-athlete in service to her/his campus and surrounding communities.