By Emily Iannaconi
Special to GoHolyCross.com
The early morning walks up to lift at the Luth Athletic Complex. The 10-hour bus rides. The pre-season workouts and the post-season training sessions. Every student-athlete at Holy Cross has experienced the thrill of playing in their first collegiate competition and now also their last. The goals scored, baskets made and races run have all led up to four years of rewarding and meaningful experiences that have shaped the Class of 2017 into who they are today.
BEING A CRUSADER
Senior Lauren Sutherland of the field hockey team knows that being a student-athlete at Holy Cross is a unique experience. “There is a strong sense of pride that comes with being an athlete at Holy Cross,” said Sutherland. “Not only are we expected to work hard on the field but we are also held to the highest standards in the classroom.”
Baseball senior Anthony Critelli agrees that being a student-athlete on Mount St. James is a rewarding experience. “To be able to represent all the great student-athletes that came before you as well as to be a part of all the talented student-athletes currently competing is a very unique opportunity,” said Critelli.
Senior women's ice hockey student-athlete Erin Hall felt particularly grateful to play at Holy Cross when her team defeated Norwich on home ice this past season to remain undefeated at the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex. “That game more than any other made me realize what it meant to truly play for each other and in doing so enjoy the invaluable experience of being a student-athlete at Holy Cross,” said Hall.
Many members of the senior class have experienced specific moments throughout their careers that they will never forget. For senior basketball player Malachi Alexander that moment came when the team revealed their 2016 Patriot League championship banner at the beginning of the season. “It felt like my team was being stamped into the history books and leaving behind a strong legacy,” explained Alexander.
Vince LaMonte of the men's rowing team will always remember the top finishes by the team. “One of my favorite moments is when we finished 17th at the national championship in 2015,” said LaMonte.
For hockey senior Mike Barrett, the defeat of Boston College as a freshman will always stick out to him as a favorite memory. “It is a night and experience that I will carry for the rest of my life,” said Barrett.
OFF THE FIELD
This senior class has also made an impact off of the field, ice, court and track volunteering their time for various organizations.
Luke Ford of the football team talked about the team's involvement in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. “My little, José is a nine-year old immigrant from Puerto Rico and my experience has been enhanced by the progress he has made over the last four years,” said Ford. “He still has a way to go, but watching him become a better person and friend has been very gratifying.”
The softball team has also spent their time off the field volunteering at Girls Inc. Senior Emily Krisanda enjoyed helping out as a team. “It was exciting to be able to give back to the community in Worcester which allowed us to expand our experience as a team outside of just the softball field,” said Krisanda. “Some of us have done volunteer work on our own or through SPUD but this experience was different as we were able to give back as the softball team rather than individuals, which was pretty special.”
INCREDIBLE SUMMER EXPERIENCES
In addition to training over the summer, members of the Class of 2017 have also spent their time away from school gaining experience in their desired fields of work.
Senior Madelyn Ganser of the women's basketball team kept particularly busy over the summer as she worked as a research assistant, intern at a healthcare consulting firm and travelled to Honduras to volunteer on a Holy Cross affiliated Action for Education trip. “I have luckily been able to leave school for all four summers, which has granted me a variety of different opportunities to travel, develop my professional experience and continue to train and play basketball,” explained Ganser. “Volunteering on the medical mission trip was a powerful experience that reinforced my passion and helped me gain a new understanding and appreciation for community service.”
Volleyball senior Mandy Sifferlen has also spent time over the summer gaining career experience. “I have had some wild (literally) summer experiences off the court between working hands on with cheetahs and teaching nature classes,” said Sifferlen. “All of my summers have allowed me to learn outside of the classroom and explore all different types of career possibilities.”
Senior Maggie Diggins of the women's rowing team, who attended the prestigious NCAA Career In Sports Forum in 2015, also broadened her perspective as a student-athlete by working in the Title IX office at Holy Cross. “I learned about everything from athletics compliance to the Clery Act,” explained Diggins. “Working in this office allowed me to see Title IX from a different point of view.”
As an intern at Pfizer, Isabela Bagi of the tennis and hockey teams was reminded how important it is to enjoy college before entering the working world. “I realized what a blessing college really is,” said Bagi. “My summers taught me to enjoy college while I'm still in it. This is the last time that I will be in a place surrounded by friends, faculty and coaches who push me and believe in my success as an athlete and as a student.”
ONCE A CAPTAIN, ALWAYS A CAPTAIN
The senior class will also take the leadership qualities they have learned from being captains of their team while on the Hill and apply them to their real world careers. Women's soccer captain Claire Malone knows that she has acquired leadership skills that will help her in her personal and professional life. “At Holy Cross I have learned goal setting, empowerment and patience,” said Malone. “These are all transferable skills that can be easily implemented post-college.”
Women's cross country captain Mary Welsh hopes that she will have the opportunity to work with and learn from other motivated and likeminded people in her future. “The team is a truly very driven and hard working group of women,” said Welsh. “They have kept my job fairly easy as captain with their natural passion and commitment to both the sport and to each other. I've been blessed to be a part of it.”
In addition to learning transferrable skills that can be used in the work place, captain of the men's swimming and diving team Andrew Higgins has also realized the importance of being there for others. “As the team leader, the guys look up to you and how you carry yourself and communicating with members on your team goes a long way in dictating the team's success as a whole,” explained Higgins. “As a team captain I thought it was necessary to be approachable not only for the incoming freshmen, but for the team as a whole.
LESSONS LEARNED ON AND OFF THE PLAYING SURFACE
In addition to acquiring leadership skills that will prepare them for the world after Mount St. James, the senior class has learned the importance of working hard to achieve its goals. Women's lacrosse senior Mary Patalita will continue to apply a strong work ethic to her life after college. “Balancing school and lacrosse is hard at times but it really makes you prioritize tasks and work efficiently,” said Patalita. “Student-athletes know what it is like to work really hard at something and fail, then have to get up the next morning and work equally as hard. Being on a team and having other women around you working towards a common goal is really motivating.”
Jennifer Kimball of the women's track and field team also believes in the value of hard work. “From being a Division I student-athlete at Holy Cross I have learned that mental toughness is what's going to help you overcome your hard times,” said Kimball. “You need to train your body and your mind in order to perform at the competitive level you want to.”
Similarly, being a student-athlete has taught men's golfer Connor McGuirk how to maintain balance in life. “I learned a lot about how to work through adversity,” said McGuirk. “At Holy Cross we are students first and there are many weeks when there are multiple assignments are due, but you find time to get everything done and still compete at the highest level of college athletics.”
LIFE AFTER MOUNT ST. JAMES
These Crusaders will take their experiences as student-athletes at Holy Cross and be prepared to enter the real world.
Kristin Lane of the women's swimming and diving team is excited to continue to pursue her education. “After graduation I will be attending UMass to study Food Science and do research on produce safety,” said Lane.
Henry Dodge of the cross country team will also be studying next year. “After graduation I will be attending graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” said Dodge. “I am entering a five-year Ph.D program in inorganic chemistry.”
Additionally, Liam Driscoll of the men's lacrosse team will not be done studying after he leaves Holy Cross. “After school I will be doing a teaching program at Notre Dame called ACE,” explained Driscoll. “I will receive my Masters in education during the summer at Notre Dame, then during the school year I will be teaching at a Catholic School in Denver.”
FINAL GOODBYE TO HOLY CROSS
Ultimately, the senior class will be missed for their on the field and off the field accomplishments. And these athletes will of course miss walking up and down the hills of Mount St. James.
Men's track and field pole vaulter Michael Araujo will miss the camaraderie that comes with being part of a team. “It's tough to duplicate that feeling of solidarity that you get after completing a difficult workout with your teammates and watching each other improve,” said Araujo. “I know that after I graduate, it will be difficult to replicate that feeling without my teammates by my side supporting me. I will cherish the relationships I have made through competition for the rest of my life.”
Joey DeVivo of the men's soccer team knows that next year will not be the same without his teammates and best friends by his side. “The friends that I have made on my team will be friends of mine for a long time after I graduate,” said DeVivo. “We have all made memories that will last a lifetime. The guys on my team that I have spent my four years with here on the Hill are like my brothers and I could not imagine my experience at Holy Cross without them.”
The student-athletes in the Class of 2017 have certainly left their mark on Mount St. James. Together, they have impacted Holy Cross for the better. Congratulations to the Class of 2017!
Vote Critelli for Senior CLASS Award
Senior first baseman Anthony Critelli was one of 10 student-athletes in the nation to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which honors a student-athlete who demonstrates notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Click here to vote for Anthony Critelli in the Senior CLASS Award fan ballot! Be sure to vote every day until voting closes June 6!
Click here to read his announcement as a finalist.
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