Senior Spotlight: Ben Hauge, Yassine Derbani, Aly Freeman

Posted on April 7th, 2020 by

From left: Ben Hauge, Yassine Derbani, Aly Freeman

The Gustavus athletics department will hear from spring sport senior student-athletes throughout the remainder of the semester, honoring those who are unable to participate in their final season of college athletics. 

Today’s Q&A with senior student-athletes include Ben Hauge (Ramsey) of men’s golf, Yassine Derbani (Casablanca, Morocco) of men’s tennis, and Aly Freeman (Omaha, Neb.) of softball.

Q: Why did you choose Gustavus?

BH: I chose Gustavus because of the students and faculty I met on my overnight visit. I meshed really well with the golfers and coaches, and with the academic facilities and Drenttel Golf Facility at Gustavus it was the top choice for me.

YD:  I actually never visited Gustavus before deciding to come here. I hadn’t even been to Minnesota. Tommy Valentini reached out to me in the summer before freshman year and we had a few Skype talks, and he convinced me to come play for GAC. So tennis was definitely the main reason I decided to come to the USA and Gustavus.

AF: I chose Gustavus because of the fantastic community and because I knew I would be able to choose my own, unique path at Gustavus. It was a place where I was encouraged to be a student and an athlete and still get involved in several student organizations. Academically, I was also drawn to its strong science programs and the liberal arts education. Even though I didn’t know anyone when I came to Gustavus, it felt like home.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a Gustavus student-athlete?

BH: My favorite tournament memory was when we beat second place St. Thomas by 18 strokes this past fall. However my favorite moment was playing a practice round in Kentucky my junior year where Carter Czichotski – a sophomore then – put on probably the best ball striking performance ever which included hitting a 70 yard bunker shot to a foot; which is in my opinion the hardest shot in golf.

YD: It would probably be beating Chicago towards the end of the spring of my sophomore year. We played them in Wisconsin when they were ranked third in the nation and won 6-3 when everybody on the outside thought they would beat us comfortably. Everybody on the team played a huge role that day, and we proved everybody else that we were one of the best teams in D3. We got hit by a snowstorm on the way back to school the next day and had to spend the whole weekend in Wisconsin, which was not as fun but it made the weekend more special.

AF: I have a lot of good memories from playing softball at Gustavus. However, one that really stands out to me is our 6-3 10-inning victory over St. Ben’s last year. St. Ben’s was a nationally-ranked team, and despite having always battled with them in games, we had not beaten them in my three years at Gustavus. The game itself was an incredible back-and-forth affair. Every time one team scored, the other team answered right away. There were so many clutch plays both offensively and defensively, including amazing double plays and two-out RBIs. I remember pitching the final 9+ innings of that game, and I have never felt so much adrenaline with every play. It was truly a team victory, and it was just one of those games that felt so much more important than a simple mid-season conference matchup.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

BH: Everything is relative but my current plan is to finish off some prerequisite courses this next school year and then either apply to grad school or find a job.

YD: I am moving to San Francisco as soon as this Corona thing is over. I am starting my new job as a Tax Consultant at Deloitte on July 6, so the plan is to move out there as soon as I am able to and get settled.

AF: I was going to use my summer to travel to Europe with one of my best friends and also help coach a youth softball team from back home. However, both of those things are looking a little questionable right now. Long term, I will be attending medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center starting in fall. I hope to eventually become a physician in a Pediatric subspecialty.


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