Tiger D1 athletes share insights into competing at collegiate level

Obviously, there is a big difference between high school and collegiate level sports, but what exactly is that difference, and how can you manage it or prepare for it?

Two Cedar Falls alumni, Brayden Burnett and TJ Tomylanovich, both ran track and field and cross country for the Tigers, where they both achieved CF hall of fame status, and were both on the state championship team. Both of them competed at a high level in high school, and both signed to a Division 1 school, with Burnett going to Iowa, and Tomylanovich taking his talents to Arkansas. 

Brayden Burnett: 

What sports did you do in high school? And now college?

I ran both track and field in high school, along with cross country, and I do the same now for the University of Iowa. 

What was your favorite thing about high school sports?

My favorite thing about high school sports is that it was a chance to get to know people, build bonds and relationships, also while competing. It was laid back, and was a good chance to prepare for college.

Reflecting on how you prepared for college, do you think you did a good job at it?

My coaches at the high school level definitely set me up for success. Of course, it is a big jump to the D1 level no matter what, but they definitely did a good job at getting me ready for it. 

What’s the biggest difference between the two?
The biggest difference is how serious it is taken, and the amount of training it takes to make the teams. A lot of people don’t realize how talented all college teams are. It took a lot of hard work to even keep up with them. The transition was definitely hard, but being in my second year now, it is a lot easier to manage. 

In his second year at Iowa, he is now on the varsity team for cross country, where at his most recent meet, he finished third for the team, qualifying them for the regional meet as they prepare for the national championship.


Tomylanovich only pursued track and field during college, and his year looks a little different. 

“The biggest transition or challenge for me heading into college was the fact that the training is a lot more intense. Obviously that was known, but it takes a lot of work to keep up with the guys on top. It has been very intense, and at first it made me question if I was made out for it. My biggest piece of advice for anyone who is preparing for college sports, is to prepare yourself and know that you are going to face challenges. It isn’t easy at first, but the coaches do a very good job at guiding you through it,” he said. 

Tomylanovich will be preparing for his indoor track season, which will start in a few months. He is running for Arkansas, and was on their 4x400m team, which put up the third fastest time last year out of any college teams.

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