As the football, soccer and volleyball seasons come to an end, three seniors share their final thoughts on the end of their college athletic careers.

With a bittersweet ending to his college football career, Tobias Enlow reflects on the highs and lows that made his journey a blessing.

Enlow began playing in a youth football league at six years old, a platform that later allowed him to gain the attention needed to start playing at a higher level, he said. 

After graduating from North Little Rock High School, Enlow played for the University of Arkansas. In 2019, he transferred to UCA in search of better opportunities and to be closer to his family.

Enlow played in 11 games in his final season as a wide receiver on UCA’s football team. He caught 19 passes for 188 yards, with a long of 30 yards, and scored three touchdowns. 

“Football means a lot more to me than people can understand,” Enlow said. Motivated by his faith in God, he said, “To be blessed enough to wake up every day and play a sport so many people are less fortunate to play is an underrated blessing.”

Enlow was the 14th prospect in the State of Arkansas coming out of high school and No. 147 wide receiver prospect in the nation.

“I never gave up, no matter what challenges or odds were against me. I kept my faith high and kept working with my head down because eventually, it was going to pay off one day, and it has,” he said. “People that know my life and my story would be very proud of how far I’ve come.”

Of all the life lessons and challenges faced throughout his journey, what he enjoyed the most were the knowledge and relationships he built throughout the years. 

“The games we lost this year taught us that nothing is ever going to be handed to us, and no matter what the score is on the board, we have to stay humble and keep playing,” Enlow said of his final season.

With plans to pursue a career in the NFL while he works on his master’s degree in Family and Consumer Science, Enlow hopes to one day inspire young kids the way other “superstars” did for him. 

“I continue to pray and have faith in God and my work ethic to make things happen on his timing,” Enlow said. 

For Madison Bowles, the end of her college volleyball career means a shift in focus. 

Bowles graduated from Stafford High School in Springfield, Missouri, where community and athletics were greatly valued, she said. After graduation, she joined the UCA volleyball team.

Bowles came to admire these same characteristics in UCA. “I have loved playing here,” she said. “The coaching staff has always been there for me and had my back in the classroom and on the court. UCA athletics has done a great job at implementing community within Conway and makes us feel like we have connections throughout campus to rely on.”

In her last season as a right-side hitter for the Sugar Bears, Bowles scored a total of 85.5 points in 21 games, with 63 spikes and 65 kills. Bowles also accomplished a total of 72 digs and 27 total blocks.

“Volleyball was a way for me to physically work hard and see a reward from my hard work,” Bowles said. “It is really encouraging to see your hard work being converted into success right before your eyes.”

While she enjoys seeing her own success manifest itself, Bowles takes the most pride in the hard work of her entire team. “We have dug ourselves out of bad standings and fought to semi-championships and overall played with a lot of passion,” she said. 

In her last season, Bowles found it hard to balance the life changes that come with the end of her volleyball career. “This made me value the previous seasons of volleyball and life that I have endured and showed me how to handle separating life and work in the future,” Bowles said.

After graduation, Bowles plans to get her doctorate in Physical Therapy. Then, as a physical therapist, she hopes to “carry out the same passion and fight” that volleyball taught her. 

“I will miss the friendships that I have made on the team and the family that I have developed at UCA,” Bowles said. 

Like Enlow, midfielder for the men’s soccer team, Vincent Abaso also wants to play professionally in his sport. 

“Soccer is a way of living,” Vicent Abaso, midfielder on the UCA men’s soccer team, said. Since he was six years old, Abaso, from Burriana, Spain, has seen soccer as his daily motivation. 

“It has built me as an adult and taught me through stages in life,” Abaso said. 

After former UCA soccer coach Russ Duncan traveled to Spain to see him play, Abaso said it gave him the confidence he needed to choose UCA and move to another country to pursue his college soccer career. 

In his senior season, Abaso scored four goals in 866 minutes from 13 games started. Abaso played in 16 games during his final season and made the single, game-winning goal against two teams, Belmont (1-0) and North Florida (1-0).

Now that his journey with college soccer has ended, Abaso shifts his focus onto his future. “My goal is clear,” Abaso said. “I want to play soccer after this, but I know that this is a difficult path.”

Abaso plans to utilize his major in Business Administration and Marketing to find a job if his dreams of playing professional soccer do not work out.

 His motivation to succeed in either of these paths means moving out of his comfort zone and “searching for new challenges and experiences,” Abaso said. 

 

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