Sean’s Journey Into Statistics and Spanish
Sean Floersch combined his love for math, sports and language to set a unique path for his future.
Not every first grader turns on the TV most mornings to watch ESPN and gets excited to hear about the statistics. Maybe it was because both his parents are math teachers, but for Sean Floersch, there is a love of numbers that started early on and even when he tried to push it aside for another option, kept roaring back. This passion ultimately led him on a path toward a career in sports statistics with some twists and turns along the way.
As a lifelong member of the District 191 community, Sean took advantage of a lot of opportunities from his time in Tiny Tots through his graduation in 2020 as class valedictorian. He became involved with sports early on, later playing varsity soccer and baseball at Burnsville High School (BHS), and discovered a love for Spanish after wanting to learn the language to connect with the family of his best friend who is from Chile. He stayed busy with sports, math and language as his passions, but there were challenges ahead.
In seventh grade, Sean was diagnosed with bone cancer, which required 17 rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove a section of his ribs. This time provided challenges but also sparked an interest in the career path of physical therapy.
“It was obviously not an enjoyable time,” said Sean. “I have been cancer free now for seven years and it definitely impacted my life, but I really liked the physical therapy and thought that I should try to pursue that to help others. I tried my hardest to shake off my love of numbers but it stayed constant and it really was what I needed to do. The fact that I was looking forward more to calculus class than chemistry class was a sign that science wasn’t for me.”
Sean continued to participate in sports and as a junior, he achieved something amazing on the baseball field when he pitched a no-hitter for the BHS varsity team. In the classroom, Sean dove into AP and College in the Schools classes which expanded his interest in learning more Spanish and gave him a feel for the college-level workload. His passion for math was also fueled by teachers like Mr. Croatt who made him feel like it was ok to like math as much as he did.
“There’s a stereotype about what kind of people really like math and Mr. Croatt helped me accept that it’s alright to love math and pursue it without worrying what others might think,” said Sean. “He was a big part of why I went down the statistics route and I’d recommend people to take his classes to see if they want to learn more about math and the things you can do with it.”
All that hard work paid off when Sean was able to graduate high school with enough credits to start college as a sophomore and dive right into his major-focused work. Thanks to those credits, he will finish college in just three years with a double major in Statics and Spanish. He ended up at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) after initially becoming interested in the school due to its physical therapy program and falling in love with it on a college visit. As he shifted to wanting to pursue statistics, UWL still had opportunities that interested him like the ability to do research projects.
“I have been part of undergraduate research all three years, including an Eagle Apprenticeship under a faculty mentor to explore sports statistics,” said Sean. “I was also able to work with the Mayo Clinic on research data about soccer players and fitness levels to measure workload and intensity after COVID-19 interrupted their seasons. I love research because it allows me to go a step further and apply the knowledge while diving into the data and statistics around sports.”
Sean was also able to travel abroad for a month in Spain which earned him enough credits to turn his minor in Spanish into a major and taught him important life lessons in observing different cultures, being independent and growing his language skills. As he approaches college graduation, he is looking forward to what comes next and is planning to enter the world of sports statistics whether it is for medical purposes measuring warning signs of injury, game strategy using analysis or measuring attendance or financial trends.
“Sports statistics is a growing industry with new leagues and teams applying statistics to what they do each year,” said Sean. “I would love to do broadcast statistics and use technology and models to support different branches of the industry.”
As for his love of Spanish, he hopes to be able to use that through travel but also sees the growing need for knowing an additional language in sports. Through all of the challenges, a few things have remained constant for Sean including his extreme dedication to learning as much as he can and embracing what he is passionate about.
“My advice for current students is to push yourself in the direction that you want to go in,” said Sean. “Don’t try to do something that is against yourself and go dive into different things through AP classes and find what you want. Explore options that you are passionate about and pursue them fully.”