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Six in the morning.
It’s a familiar hour for many student athletes.
It’s an hour that Sydney Brugman knows well.
Six in the morning might see Brugman arrive at Fort Vancouver High School for a basketball practice before school.
Or, that hour might see the senior arrive on campus for a meeting of the Future College Athlete club, of which she’s a member.
Mornings, days and nights are busy for any of the student athletes at Clark County’s high schools.
But fewer are busier than Brugman.
Since her freshman year, she has played on Fort Vancouver’s varsity soccer, basketball and softball teams. She has been named the team’s captain and most valuable player in all three sports.
Brugman is also the school’s Associated Student Body president, a member of the National Honor Society and has a grade-point average of 3.97.
How does Brugman find the time to put her boundless energy to so many uses? It’s just the way she is wired.
“In between seasons when I’m not doing anything, it’s harder for me to focus,” Brugman said. “When you’re busy, it’s like, ‘I’ve got to get this done now.'”
Brugman said she learned the value of hard work from her mother, Doreen Brugman. Growing up in a single-parent household, Brugman never heard her mother complain about working long shifts at a daycare.
“Most of the time she starts work at six in the morning,” Brugman said of her mom. “She works 12-hour shifts. I don’t know where she gets that energy from, but she is really down to earth. She doesn’t make excuses.”
Brugman’s mother got her involved in sports at a young age, starting with soccer at age 4. She loved the constant activity and competitive energy.
But Brugman knows sports can’t take all of her time and energy.
“School is what prepares you for the future,” Brugman said. “Why would you not try as hard in school as you do in sports? You’re at school for six hours. Why not make it a meaningful six hours?”
In her 11 varsity sports seasons, none of Brugman’s teams have won their league or qualified for the state playoffs. But she sees a value in high school sports beyond trophies and titles.
“If you’re in it just to win, you’re going to be disappointed eventually,” Brugman said. “I play sports first because it’s fun. Second, you build such great relationships.”
Brugman met her best friends through sports. Her most influential adult mentors also have come through sports.
Brugman hasn’t decided which college she’ll attend. The University of Washington and Gonzaga are near the top of her list, since she believes they’ll bring her closer to her goal of becoming an aerospace engineer.
But wherever she goes to college, sports will remain part of her life. She hopes to play college sports as a walk-on athlete.
“You get so much out of sports that you don’t realize until you stop playing,” she said.