Peyton Walsh’s biggest memory of his Daytona State College experience is not the challenges of his academics, but rather the early season workouts he had to endure as a member of the Falcons Baseball team.
“We called it Hell Week, and it truly was a very tough week of conditioning that the coaches put us through,” the 19-year-old catcher and first baseman said. “But it was all worth it because on the last day when we were finished, everyone had a great sense of accomplishment.”
Accomplishments are nothing new to Walsh, a graduate of Park Vista Community High School near Lake Worth, FL, who earned a full scholarship to play baseball at Daytona State two years ago. Since then, the soft-spoken, unassuming student-athlete has left his mark on the college through his achievements both on and off the field.
“Peyton is the best combination of student and athlete that I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my 11 years at Daytona State College,” said his coach, Tim Touma. “He not only maintained a 4.0 GPA and was a great ballplayer, he was involved in everything we did as a team up until his last day as a Daytona State Falcon.”
The high-honors graduate has earned his associate of arts degree with an emphasis on economics and business administration and this fall will transfer to the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where he will play baseball as a walk-on.
Touma said Walsh was a team leader in the college’s annual Heart Walk fund raiser and Christmas Food Drive. He also participated in the college’s No Butts cigarette butt cleanup.
It was these character traits along with his academic accomplishments that led him to be nominated by the Athletic Department for the Daytona State College Hall of Fame, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a student.
“Peyton did a great job of taking big loads of course work and getting A’s,” Touma said. “Being able to do that alone is special, but with the time demands of being a student-athlete, to be able to do that takes tremendous discipline. He showed up mature and ready to handle college. He came prepared to do what he did.”
Walsh had equal praise for Touma and one particular math professor, Brian Smith. He said Daytona State faculty overall are clearly dedicated to their students. “They love their jobs and it shows,” he said. “I especially liked Professor Smith’s teaching style. He went out of his way to help students understand the material. And, Coach Touma, he does a great job of helping his players prepare for the long run. He teaches them things they will use throughout life, such as being a good person and going out of your way to help others, not just winning.”