Briggs Havlik didn’t want to look back on his college career with regret.
He already regretted not trying college baseball as a freshman, and he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity again. When the chance to play baseball at NAIA’s Mayville State (N.D.) arose, Havlik got back into shape and jumped at the chance halfway through his college career.
Heading into his junior year, the Mount Vernon Mustangs shortstop and pitcher will take his talents from the amateur to collegiate ranks. He’ll have four years of athletic eligibility remaining with the Comets, who he chose over Dakota Wesleyan University and Mount Marty.
“I received a letter from them in high school, maybe like a brochure. I kind of wish I would have played right away after high school,” Havlik said. “... It sat in the back of my head during the two years I was (at the University of South Dakota). It got to the point where I said, ‘If I don’t do this now, I’m going to regret it.’ ”
Havlik thought being a business marketing student at USD was the right choice. He gave up baseball once he graduated from Mitchell High School, choosing to work during his final summer before heading to USD. Once he got to Vermillion, he went to the gym at times, but he gained weight once his athletic career stopped.
That summer proved to be only one without baseball for Havlik, who joined Mount Vernon last season.
“That definitely sparked that interest again,” Havlik said.
It also allowed him to knock off the rust and develop a routine from scratch, helping them to a second-round appearance in the Class B amateur baseball state tournament.
He turned it into another chance to play college baseball, too. Havlik remembered the letter he received from Mayville State in high school. Once he contacted it, the choice and process was easy.
“I really enjoyed talking to their coaches, especially with academic advisors,” said Havlik, who will major in business administration with a specialization in marketing and management. “Just a really easy process and seemed like they were excited to talk to me about the opportunity for me to go there.”
Havlik, who has lost 15-20 pounds since the COVID-19 pandemic started as he tries to get back in shape, is 3-for-7 with five walks through the Mustangs’ 3-0 start this season. Mount Vernon hosts the Humboldt/Hartford Gamecocks at 7:30 p.m. today.
And now, he won’t have to think ‘what if’ anymore.
“I think all my friends knew I really enjoyed baseball in high school and the sport in general,” Havlik said. “Just obviously got to the point where I told myself, ‘I don’t want to have any regrets.’ I already kind of regretted not playing college baseball. ... I had the opportunity, so I might as well go after it.”