ST. LOUIS -- As the 2019 season gets underway for the Washington University Bears, they have their typical roster of scholar-champions.
But there’s one guy who sticks out for various reasons.
His name is Tomas Quiroz. He’s the team’s punter and, as he described, he kicks bombs.
But it’s not his kicking that sticks out, or the fact that he’s also on the soccer team.
It’s the fact he's double majoring in economics and dance.
"Their first reaction is like, 'you do ballet?' But at the same time they know me and know I'm just one of the teammates, you know. I’m one of the guys," Quiroz said.
Head football coach Larry Kindbom, who’s been with the program for more than 20 years, said he’s run out of wow’s in terms of what these scholar-champions can do.
"A little surprising but not too surprised. I mean, that's Wash U," Kindbom said. "We have kids that just have incredible talents."
Quiroz started taking ballet lessons when he was 2 years old. Along the way, he’s learned not to care about what other people think.
"We have that connection, kind of that homophobic stigma connected with ballet, and I've danced all over the country with summer intensives and it did not reflect my experience," Quiroz said.
Plus, he said there are some huge benefits doing ballet and football, like injury prevention among other things.
"Well ballet helps with body awareness and having control over your body, so the coordination as well as the flexibility," Quiroz said.
Quiroz said it’s not easy juggling two sports and two majors. But it’s something he’s excelled at thus far.
"He's very good and has been over the years being able to balance, otherwise he probably wouldn't be here," Kindbom said.
There’s also one secret to his balancing act.
“I sleep a lot, that’s the trick -- you got to go to bed early. Sleep is a weapon,” Quiroz said.