30 Days, 30 Grads: Schlarman alum walking, talking a healthy lifestyle

30 Days, 30 Grads: Schlarman alum walking, talking a healthy lifestyle

LEBANON — Sydne Bryant never had to worry about the "Freshman 15."

The 22-year-old Danville woman stayed in shape throughout her undergraduate career thanks to her training regimen as a member of the women's softball team — first at Lincoln College, then McKendree University — and her own healthy eating habits and personal fitness routine.

Now, Bryant — who graduated magna cum laude from McKendree on Saturday — plans to use her degree in health and wellness to help others stay at the top of their game.

She'll start out working as a nutrition consultant and personal trainer at her uncle Chad Bryant's gym, Damage Control Fitness in Danville.

Bryant also hopes to start the year-long process to become a certified sports nutritionist.

"I eventually want to earn a master's degree. But I want to get my feet wet in a couple of areas before I decide what program I want to study," she said, adding that her dream job may be as a dietician for a professional sports team. "I'm very interested in working with athletes. I'm also very interested in food and what we put in our bodies and how it affects our bodies."

Here are the stats on Bryant:

— She graduated from Schlarman Academy, where she was a two-time all-conference selection and a four-time All-Area honoree by the News-Gazette. She helped lead the Hilltoppers to four conference championships, three regional championships and a state runner-up finish as a sophomore.

— Bryant earned a scholarship to Lincoln College, where she was an honor student and played softball for the Lynx. Then, she earned a scholarship to McKendree, where she was an infielder/outfielder.

"Sydne is exactly what we look for in a student-athlete," said her coach, Ashley Fleming. "She is extremely hard-working and pushes herself to be the best she can be. As a result, this makes everyone around her better as well."

— At McKendree, Bryant was on the President's List (4.0 GPA) in spring 2016 and dean's list (3.60 GPA or higher) in fall 2016 and 2015. She was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi fraternity in April. (Invitations are sent to the top 10 percent of students.)

"She is a dedicated student who exhibits all the qualities an instructor appreciates and admires in a student," said Karan Onstott, associate professor of health promotions and wellness.

"She is conscientious, bright and dedicated to learning. She was able to balance both academics and college athletics, which is a challenge for many student-athletes."

Bryant said she learned to manage her time well at Schlarman, where she also played basketball all four years, volleyball three years and cross country one year.

"I was raised to get your homework done first," she said. "Putting my academics first was really the key to my success. I just made it a priority, so I could enjoy my downtime."

— Bryant was involved in the Wonders of Wellness, or WOW, program through her major. Students promoted healthy eating and physical activity on campus.

"One of the things we'd do is prepare healthy food samples like protein bites made out of oats, peanut butter, honey, chia seeds and dark chocolate. Then, we'd sit at a table at the main building and share the samples with other students and lay out the recipes for them to make on their own."

— The last two summers, Bryant played softball with the Pekin Lettes, a fast-pitch traveling team for 23-year-olds and under. This summer, she agreed to be a sub, but she's more eager to follow younger brother Rance's traveling baseball team around and watch him play.

"I'll miss softball because I've been playing it ever since I was young, but I'm ready to move on and see what the world has to offer," she said.

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