Joe Van Huysen and his sister Shelby enjoying athletic careers at Western New England College

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Western New England College athletics program features a top sister-brother combination in Shelby and Joe Van Huysen who are natives of Killingworth, Connecticut. Shelby (a Biology major) is a sophomore and a starter on both the Golden Bears' basketball and field hockey teams. Joe (a Sport Management major) is a junior offensive tackle on the football squad. Both student-athletes took a time-out from their busy schedules for a little Q&A session.

Q. You both enjoyed successful careers at Haddam Killngworth High School in Connecticut. What made both of you decide to attend Western New England College?

Shelby - I selected Western New England College because it gave me a little bit of everything. I already knew the ins and outs of the campus because Joe had been here for a year, there were tons of majors to choose from so I could switch if I needed to (which I did twice already), and I loved the fact that I could play field hockey and basketball. 

Joe Van Huysen (1 action) 9-11-10

Joe - I mainly chose Western New England College because of its prestigious Business School and the great reputation of the Sport Management program. I plan on either coaching or having a career in sports in the future. The football program was also a major reason I decided to come to WNEC. Coach Keith Emery really convinced me that the football team had a promising future and was improving. Over the last few years we have made great strides and luckily I have been able to be a part of it. 

Q. What do you like best about the College and playing on the field hockey/basketball and football teams?

Shelby - My favorite thing about Western New England College is that it allows me to be involved with a lot of different things, but at a very personal level. I love being able to play two sports and at the same time I'm able to balance other interests and schoolwork. I feel like I have made strong connections with my classmates, teammates, professors and coaches.

Joe - I think that Western New England College has a great athletic program and the NEFC is a very competitive conference. What I enjoy most is competing everyday at practice and how up-to- date our technology and facilities are. We have a number of cameras at every practice and games, which really help me individually as well as the team in general to improve. The Alumni Healthful Living Center provides the team and I with a great weight room and gym to get faster and stronger. 

Q. Talk a little about how you organize each day in terms of study, practice/games, and free time.

Shelby - I organize my schedule based on class times, practice times, game times, and meetings. Whenever I can fit in some time to do homework or relax, I know that I have to take advantage of it. I love to sleep, but I usually don't get enough of it!

Joe - It's definitely not very easy to do, but it is doable. I try to do my work as soon as I can after class is over, so that later on in the day I can relax and not have to worry about doing homework at night after practice. As a student-athlete you definitely have to sacrifice a lot of social and free time, but it's definitely worth it when I get to play on game day. 

Q. OK, let's have some fun with this one ... who is the better athlete?

Shelby - Joe and I always fight about what sport is more difficult, but we never really argue about who is the better athlete. I think Joe is more of an intelligent player and is all about technical aspects of sports, while I play more off of instincts. We play one-on-one in basketball every now and then, but it's really not fair playing up against a six-foot brick wall. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be the athlete that I am today because he's the one who has really taught me everything and I've always tried to keep up with him.

Joe - Shelby has always been really good at whatever she played, but I think I could give her a run for her money at almost anything. She is more of the smaller and quicker athlete, where I am more of the larger and stronger athlete. She definitely has the motivation and work ethic to be one of the best at whatever she's doing, whether its basketball or field hockey. We've always been very competitive with each other since we were little, but I'd give myself the edge as the older brother. 

Q. What other activities and interests do both of you have?

Shelby - On campus, I'm involved with a few organizations such as the 2013 Class Council and the ALD Leadership Team. Besides these clubs and sports, music is another passion of mine. I played piano for over nine years and haven't been able to practice much while at WNEC, but I still love to play. Some of my friends think I'm nerdy because I'm always carrying around my backpack full of books, and homework is a high priority of mine, so I guess you could say that I like to learn. My main interest and goal in college is to prepare myself for the real world and to avoid unemployment! 

- Obviously, I am a huge sports fan, so anything that has to do with football or basketball I pretty much enjoy. I'm a huge Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Lakers fan, and follow them religiously throughout the year. Basketball is my second favorite sport to play and I enjoy playing it as much as I can in the off-season. Outside of sports I like spending time with my friends, watching movies, and playing video-games.

Q. What classes do you enjoy the most?

Shelby - My favorite classes since coming to WNEC have been Chemistry, History and Spanish.

- The Sport Management classes here are by far my favorite classes at the College. Being able to go to class and talk, and learn about sports is something not every college kid gets to do. I consider myself lucky to have such experienced professors with whom I get to interact with every day.