Stanek chooses college over immediate pro career

Ben Grove, Staff writer

Blue Valley 2010 graduate Ryne Stanek had a tough decision to make — whether to pitch for the University of Arkansas or to start a new journey with the Seattle Mariners organization.
After a lot of thought, Stanek decided he would go to Arkansas to get an education and improve his skill level to prepare him for the draft.
“I’ll be able to get drafted again in a few years,” he said. “That’s my plan. I can come here, get stronger and perform well, and then go out in a couple of years and make a lot more money, and have some education under my belt.”
Stanek said he believes Arkansas’ team will be a strong competitor this year because it features a lot of young talent.
“Our team is going to be really young, Arkansas lost a lot of good players last year, but we’re going to be good; really young and really talented, which is good,” he said. “I like all the guys on the team.”
In the fall, Stanek said the team conditions and does weight training before any official practices start.
Aside from his workout schedule, Stanek said he is taking more rigorous classes this semester.
“The school’s really not too bad,” Stanek said. “Being an athlete, we have some advantages like mandatory study halls and tutors that help us at all times. Its not too bad, if you have a test they can come help you. Its more time management.”
Arkansas’ regular season starts in spring 2011.
Stanek will travel across the country with the team.
“The travelling doesn’t bother me at all because I’ve traveled the past three summers playing baseball all summer,” he said. “I think it will be fun. We fly out to California for our third series.”
Stanek said he will take an easier schedule second semester to allow more time for baseball and traveling.
“Whenever the season starts we’re going to be gone all the time, like most of the week,” he said. “We have certain tutors that go on the road with us that will teach us what’s going on in our classes, so it’s a lighter schedule. It wont kill our grades if we struggle. We take a hard schedule in the fall so we can take an easier one in the spring and even it out.”
Stanek said all of his teammates are easy to get along with and no one has a big ego. He said he knows once the first pitch is thrown, everyone will be down to business.
“Everybody here is about the same thing — we’re all here to win and work hard, and get better for down the road,” Stanek said. “Everybody in this program has aspirations to play professional baseball.”
Stanek said his recruiting class features a lot of talent, and they all play at the same, competitive level that he enjoys.
“It’s pretty cool because in our recruiting class, there were eight of us that got drafted out of like 13 or 14,” he said.
Despite the recruiting madness, Stanek was able to keep his mind focused on helping his team win.
“I didn’t want it to be a distraction for the team, but I just went out there trying to work hard and win the whole time,” he said. “I just tried to take it in stride and not really worry about it.”
Baseball coach Matt Ortman said he looks forward to watching Stanek grow as a player in college, and maybe at the next level as well.
“I enjoyed the attention he was getting,” Ortman said. “I was really happy for him.”