Q and A With Football Offensive Lineman Matt Hasmonek, Jake Lewis and Joe Rhein
By Sahil Patel
SID Student Assistant
What do you hope to accomplish by the end of this season?
JOE RHEIN: In my years playing for Washington University, two major accomplishments have always been close, but have eluded me; winning the conference championship and tying my tie correctly on the first try before the pregame meal. Both will take determination in the face of adversity and an unhealthy amount of sweat, but I believe that they are conquerable.
MATT HASMONEK: I think everyone on the team has the same two goals, win the UAA and play an 11th game.
JAKE LEWIS: By the end of the season I want to be UAA champions and play an 11th game in the playoffs. That is the overall goal for our team right now, but it is important that we don’t look towards the final goal and take each week, game, and practice one play at a time. If we do that, I think we have the talent to be in good position for our goals.
What would you say is your favorite memory of Washington University football, and why does it stick out to you?
JR: One year ago, Wabash came to Francis Field ranked as one of the top teams in the country. The game was one of the toughest and funniest game I had ever played. Both sides took and gave licks the entire game and it came down to one must execute drive. Two plays and a few bruised egos later we were looking at a long third down. Magically, we convert and finish the drive and earn the win. I’ll always remember how exited we were on the field.
MH: I definitely can’t pick just one. There have been some great memories on the field, but just being around the guys during team meals and bus rides is what I’ll miss the most.
JL: My favorite memory of Washington University football is the six-game win streak we had last season. That was the most fun I have ever had playing football and I have been playing for 10 years. It felt like no matter what we were going to win. The peak of that win streak was obviously the big win over Wabash. They were a nationally-ranked team and it felt great knowing that we can play with and beat the best in the country.
What do you think has been the key to your success on the field?
JR: The key to my success has always been my teammates. I have been blessed with great support. Players like Nate Frogge and Dan Elliot, seniors when I was a wide-eyed, angry freshmen, introduced me to what was expected from a Washington University lineman. This year, it’s guys like Tim Thannum or Ryan Simpson (whose parents you always hear cheering) beating up on the D-linemen that hesitate when it’s my turn to take what’s left, or a setup block from Matt Hasmonek for a decleating lights out shot. Even younger guys like Connor Meneough are stepping up.
MH: Personally I feel the biggest thing is having a great team around me. It makes it easy to do what I need to do when I know the guys around me are going to do their job.
JL: I think that our weight training and off-season conditioning program helps everyone on our team progress faster than other schools. Coach Mueller does a great job of putting together a program that has us peaking at the right time and maintaining our strength throughout the season.
What does it mean to you to be a student-athlete at Washington University, and how does it feel to be honored for your accomplishments both on and off the field?
JR: The best way to describe how it feels to be a student-athlete at Washington University could be best described by an observation I had while our seniors were climbing Pike’s Peak earlier this summer. It was the first time we had seen each other that summer and we were exchanging stories of our various internships. We hiked most of the mountain talking about the global economy, politics, investment banking, aircraft engine design, and many other conversations I wasn’t even involved in. There was another football team climbing that same day with us. The only thing I they did was complain to one another. My favorite quote of which was “Hurry up, I’m missing shark week.” Having the kind of conversations we had on that mountain are what it really means to be a Washington University student-athlete. It has made all of the difference.
MH: Being a student-athlete at Washington University is a special experience that very few get to be a part of. The people and the culture are like nothing else. And as for being honored it felt great, definitely one of my proudest accomplishments.
JL: It is certainly nice to be recognized for my off the field accomplishments in the classroom. Being a student-athlete at Washington University means that you have to be very efficient when you study. Football is a big time commitment so when you study you have to get the most out of it.
What made you choose to come to Washington University?
JR: I had no idea what I wanted to study in college. I knew that here I could make the most of my education, having chances to study abroad and find engaging internship opportunities, while still having a chance to compete at a high level.
MH: I got along great with the coaches while being recruited and the academics at Washington University speak for themselves. It was just a great opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
JL: Obviously the balance of academics and athletics was a major part but most of the schools I was looking at offered this. The biggest thing that I noticed was different at Washington University is that it was okay to be “undecided” coming into school because it is easy to switch majors and between schools. I started off in Arts & Sciences undecided and soon transferred to the Business School to pursue Finance. This would not be possible at a lot of the other schools I was looking at.
What are your future plans upon graduation from Washington U.?
JR: I am currently applying for a position in Frankfurt, Germany with a company that manufactures air support systems for aircraft.
MH: I got nothing set yet, but I’m looking for an engineering job in the medical field.
JL: I am fortunate enough to have already accepted a job offer. I will be working for Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets in New York. I worked there this past summer and really enjoyed it. This past summer I was on the Equity Long/Short desk in the Global Arbitrage Trading division of RBC. The job starts with a rotational program in sales and trading for a few months before being placed permanently on a desk. So I don’t know exactly what I will be working with but I am really excited about it.