Third basemen choose ISU


Photo: Nicole Wiegand/Iowa State Daily

Cody Rickard, left, sophomore in mechanical engineering, and Adam Schmidt, freshman in chemistry, both play third base for the Iowa State Club Baseball team. Both were recruited to play for Coe College out of high school, yet decided to pursue academics at Iowa State and play for the club team. 

Emily Hejlik

Two baseball players chose their adventures at Iowa State not just for athletics.

“I ended up choosing ISU over the other schools that were looking at me to play for them because of the engineering opportunities provided here,” said Cody Rickard, sophomore in mechanical engineering. “I knew that I wanted to study engineering, and most other schools only offered pre-engineering. I also loved Iowa State’s campus and that I’d be able to go to the Division I sporting events.”

Rickard, a dual sport athlete had opportunities to play both football and baseball at the collegiate level.

“Buena Vista College, Coe College and Central College had talked to me about playing football for them,” Rickard said. “Central College, Simpson College, Cornell College and Coe College coaches contacted me about baseball.”

The third baseman strongly considered Coe College and Central College because of the opportunity to play both football and baseball for them at the same time.

“I figured that that would be too much of a commitment, playing both sports,” Rickard said. “I wasn’t being recruited by Iowa, but that was another school that I was looking at. They had a respectable engineering program, and I grew up less than half an hour from Iowa City.”

High school kids interested in competing at the next level get the unique opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments.

“The recruiting process was really cool but did get annoying at times,” Rickard said. “I loved being called out of class because a coach was in the office waiting to talk to me. It makes you feel like all the practices and lifting sessions paid off when they are driving all the way to your school just to talk to you.”

Like all student-athletes, teenagers are faced with making life-changing decisions at a young age. Ultimately, engineering trumped anything else schools had to offer.

“I knew that playing sports in college would be fun, but it wouldn’t do anything to help me out with my future,” Rickard said. I had to decide between Iowa and Iowa State. I loved ISU’s campus way more than Iowa’s. Iowa State’s reputation in engineering was appealing, and I was convinced that Iowa State was right for me.”

Being a Cyclone, the former high school quarterback gets the best of both worlds through academics and athletics.

“I love baseball and being on the ISU baseball team,” Rickard said. “Baseball is just one of those games where its normal to be completely obnoxious and loud. Baseball players have their own language. Everything seems to be an inside joke on a baseball team.”

Along with camaraderie, success is what drives the third baseman to lace up his cleats.

“My favorite part of baseball is the excitement and pressure at the end of big games and the feeling you get when celebrating a nice play or big win,” Rickard said.

Rickard’s partner in crime and fellow third baseman chose Iowa State for alternate reasons.

“There were a lot of things I took into account when picking Iowa State,” said Adam Schmidt, freshman in chemistry. “First, the large size [of the university] appealed to me. I thought coming from a high school with 48 kids in my class would be a refreshing change of pace attending a larger school.”

Campus ministry and brotherly love also steered Schmidt in the direction of Ames.

“My brother is a senior here at ISU, and he would always twist my leg to join him,” Schmidt said. “He also introduced me to the school’s ministry, The Salt Company, which I really liked. Most of all, I was afraid a small school wouldn’t have enough things to keep me busy, and I knew at ISU I’d always have something to do.”

Midland University, a larger NAIA school in Fremont, Neb., was one of the schools Schmidt considered, but they were interested in him as a pitcher.

The recruiting process came into full swing with help from coaches. Catching the eyes of recruiters, Midland wanted to see Schmidt first-hand.

“My high school coach emailed a number of schools my stats and a little about me,” Schmidt said. “After a few phone calls and coming out to see me play, I was invited to a showcase at Midland. I took an infield, throw a bullpen and took some batting practice. They liked what they saw and gave me an offer, but in the end I decided against it.”

In the end, it came down to faith when determining what university to attend.

“I was so unsure of myself that I prayed a lot and tried to listen for an answer,” said Schmidt. “I found myself flipping a coin on a simulator on my calculator. After 10,000 flips, it favored ISU. For the first time in my college search, I found confident in something. I believe God had a hand in that.”

Similar to his counterpart, Schmidt enjoys the rush of the game.

“I love baseball, and I really like ISU. I don’t think there will be many things that I will be more passionate about than baseball. I love almost everything about it. I especially love the competition, making a great play and hitting a line drive in a gap.”

Coach Aaron Hinnah addressed the tactics involved with having two talented third basemen.

“We like to rotate the two because they both have good talent/abilities,” Hinnah said. “They are kind of our two headed monster.”

The pair does not let playing time get in the way of their friendship.

“Adam and I have a great relationship,” Rickard said. “He is probably the biggest goofball on the team, and he always lightens up the mood. We support each other, and we are there to pick the other person up if we make a mistake.”

Schmidt feels fortunate as well to have his teammate around to better himself on and off the diamond.

“Cody is a great guy, I’ve been lucky to get to know him,” Schmidt said. “We come from similar baseball backgrounds, so it was really easy to connect with him. It’s too bad that only one of us can play at a time because he is a really solid player, but we both understand this, and even though we are competing for the same spot, we can encourage each other and push each other to be better players.”