Appalachian State spotlights two-sport star from Ashley High School

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Stanley Broaden is as busy as busy gets as he ends his senior year at Appalachian State University. While his eligibility is up for soccer, the Ashley High School graduate still has another full track and field year to complete before he finishes his degree next December. But what started as simply wanting to integrate himself into the campus and community turned into something else entirely—something he doesn’t believe can be replicated.

As a two-time Southern Conference track and field champion, two-time all-conference honoree in soccer for the SoCon and Sun Belt, president of the Appalachian State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, orientation leader, and academic all-conference and all-region honoree, efficiency isn’t just something to prioritize, it’s everything.

Stanley Broaden. Photo courtesy- Appalachian State Athletics
Stanley Broaden. Photo courtesy- Appalachian State Athletics

“I think it’s important for student-athletes to integrate themselves into what I call the general campus because those are going to be the people who are supporting you the most,” Stanley said. “It’s just a way to get out of the athletics pool and find others to hang out with because even though our schedules coordinate really well because we practice together, we have study hall or other things that match up really well, those other students out there they match up just as well. I enjoy hanging out with them just as much as I enjoy hanging out with my teammates.”

By doing this, Stanley’s schedule is packed. His only free time is the time between waking up and leaving his apartment, which he says is only two hours. After that, he’s doing schoolwork, in meetings, class, and at practice. He stays on campus late too, because until all of his work is done for the day, he isn’t going home.

“A lot of it comes down to planning things up front and knowing what I do have going on so that when things do come up, it’s not as much of a hassle,” he said. “And I’m one who likes to be really organized going into things, so the upfront work may take more time but it definitely helps when you’re actually doing the thing to know what’s on your plate.”

Along with being the president of SAAC, Stanley also served on the athletic director search committee, traveled to New Orleans to meet with other SAAC presidents last summer, and was most recently chosen by the Sun Belt to represent the conference in Orlando at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. He said that once he pushed through the initial nervousness of meeting a new group of people, the forum in mid-April turned out really beneficial as he was able to learn what other student-athletes had experienced while leading and share their experiences with the group.

But more than anything, it widened his network of people he can reach out to.

“It’s another group of people that I have that I can bounce ideas off of or if I’m having a bad day and I can send out a text and thirty or so people will respond and just love on you and help you through a bad time,” he said.

Track and field head coach,  John Weaver, said that Stanley doesn’t quite fit the quiet leader mold because he doesn’t mind voicing his opinion, but he is one who tends to lead by example.

“I think he’s that kind of person where he is on the track and he works hard and he does the things he needs to do as far as being a leader and being on time, being accountable for the things he does, being a good student,” Weaver said. “But I think it’s probably away from the track, when athletes have conversations among themselves, where probably the true leader comes out.”

Weaver said that Stanley will be one of the athletes he talks about when he first recruits freshmen.

“We talk about this all the time as college coaches, my colleagues across the nation that I have a chance to talk to, we wish we were like pros and we could keep people for 10 or 11 years sometimes,” Weaver said. “And if that’s the case we would have a heck of a team, that’s for sure. But no, Stanley will be missed truthfully, truthfully so.”

But despite the accomplishments, Stanley maintains a level head and a cool demeanor. Something that he says comes down to humility.

“I think being humble is really important,” Broaden said. “I mean, no one likes the guy who is the cocky one out there, whether they do it on purpose or not, it just comes across bad. I don’t see that as being welcoming.”

Click here to read the full story on Broaden’s success on and off the field at Appalachian State University.