A disclaimer to our usual “Know Your Athlete” series: Braden Tennill, U1 Engineering, is not technically a McGill-affiliated athlete. His baseball team, along with eight other sports teams, were cut for the 2021-2022 school year due to a lack of medical staffing.
As a pitcher and dedicated student, Tennill is an ace on the mound and in the books. It was the combination of these two hobbies that led the athlete to McGill.
“I had a couple of criteria for schools,” Tennill said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “I wanted to go to a big school that had a good engineering program, [and] a baseball program I could play at.”
Tennill remembers coming up with an initial list of universities in the U.S. based on these requirements, which didn’t include McGill.
“I was mainly looking at schools in Chicago and New York,” Tennill said. “McGill was not really on that list until they contacted me. But once I looked into Montreal and McGill, it ticked all my boxes. I visited Montreal my senior year [of high school] and fell in love with the city.”
Although Tennill has pursued baseball at the collegiate level, it was not always in the cards for him. In fact, baseball was not the sport his parents wanted him to play.
“Originally my parents wanted me to be a hockey player, which was weird growing up in Texas,” said Tennill. “But, I would not ice skate. I hated falling. So, hockey was out of the picture […] I switched to baseball when I was nine and I was a little bit late to the game […] It was not until high school when I realized I wanted to play at the college level and made [baseball] an active part of my life.”
Tennill also chose McGill for its high-calibre engineering program. His mechanical engineering prowess has led him to develop a growing passion for 3D printing. Over the summer, Tennill took part in an internship that opened his mind to the possibility of turning this passion into a career.
“I’m really into 3D modelling and designing my own products,” Tennill said. “Most of my stuff at home is self-made. I had an internship over the summer where I made antenna mounts for warehouses. I had a 3D-printed baseplate for this mount that hatched to very different types of antennas.”
Tennill also noted that his team, coach, and teammates alike have encouraged his interests outside of the diamond.
“Our coach [Casey Auerbach] is really understanding and gives us academic days,” Tennill said. “Chatting [with] the older guys between innings has been awesome. I’ve learned a lot of career and McGill tips. I’m glad I have access to that resource through athletics.”
Despite the team not being an official McGill varsity sport this year, the baseball team is still competing in a travel league for The North. Thanks to this opportunity, the team still gets the training and practical know-how that they would in a normal season—experiences that Tennill views as a hallmark of the program.
“Half the appeal of the baseball team is that not only is it an athletic team, but it is also 30 or so close guys of different backgrounds that have been there and done that, meaning they can give you advice,” Tennill said. “It’s almost like an instant friend group.”
If there is someone on campus fiddling with mechanical parts like a mad scientist, do not judge too quickly—there is a decent chance they can throw a hell of a baseball. Additionally, if they have a thigh tattoo in Japanese Kanji that means “trusting the chance,” it is most certainly McGill baseball’s very own Braden Tennill.