May 24, 2013

Crusaders Carry On

Senior captains reflect upon four years on the Hill. 

By Andrea Wiegman
Special to GoHolyCross.com

On May 24, the Class of 2013 will graduate from Holy Cross and walk through the Hart Center as students for the last time. Of these 701 seniors 124 of them are members of sports teams here at Holy Cross. They have spent the last four years forming invaluable relationships with their teammates, setting records and learning lessons that they will carry with them forever. Recently, senior captains of 25 sports teams here at Holy Cross sat down to reflect upon their time and share some of their thoughts as they prepare to begin a new chapter of their lives.

On being a Division I student-athlete. Swimming and diving senior captains Laura Webber (Hampden, Mass.) and Brian Lyons (Greenwich, Conn.), and women’s ice hockey captain Caroline English (Dorchester, Mass.) admit that balancing academics and athletics can be challenging at times, but are extremely grateful for the work ethic they will take away from their time as a student-athlete at Holy Cross.
Lyons: Being a student-athlete here at Holy Cross has definitely taught me how to handle my time well between working out, competing and studying. There were many times when the two would conflict with one another but the time-management skills and discipline that I learned early in my career at Holy Cross helped me manage all of my work and I know that these skills will carry over in my pursuits after life on the Hill. I believe that this aspect is what separates Holy Cross student-athletes from others.
Webber: I have learned a lot about self-discipline. You have to put in a lot of time and extra effort if you want to improve. Success does not come easily and if you don't put in the work, you won't see the results you want.
English: My experience as a student-athlete has been great. I have developed good time management and communication skills, as well as a strong work ethic. 

Not Ready to Stop Playing. Women’s soccer captain Maura Fox (Shrewsbury, Mass.), men’s golf captain Michael McCarthy (Tolland, Conn.), men’s track and field captain Nick Poles (Quincy, Mass.) and men’s tennis captain Jeff Paadre (Sutton, Mass.) all agree that they are not done playing their respective sports. All four are certain that they will continue doing what they love upon graduation.
McCarthy: I'll definitely continue to play golf most summer weekends after graduation. I'll also probably play in some local/state tournaments to keep golfing competitively at the amateur level.  
Fox: I definitely will play soccer in my free time! It's been a tough adjustment not being able to play this semester with all the girls, but thankfully there is people like Carly McCabe (the current goalie) that always invites me to come shoot on her and kick the ball around whenever she is up at Hart doing extra work (and I always take her up on those offers!). Eventually I would love to get into coaching. I've had some great coaches over the years (including my own father!), and I've seen how much a good coach can make a difference in a player's life, on and off the field. I would like to be able to touch people's lives like past coaches have touched mine... Plus it would be a lot of fun!
Paadre: I'm certainly going to continue to play tennis after graduation. The past few summers, I've played in USTA leagues and they've been a great way to stay active, meet people and have a good time. I'm definitely looking to join a league near Dedham, where I'll be moving to, in order to get to know more people in the area.
Poles: I'll probably need a bit of a break first but I definitely plan to continue running. I've been running since I was pretty young and it's just something that I'm used to doing every day. I don't have any plans for racing yet but I'm sure I'll find a competition or two somewhere down the line.

Becoming a Leader. Lacrosse captains John Hannan (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Sara Cox (Chatham, N.J.) reflect on their four years on the field. They attribute their growth as leaders and their ability to communicate well with others to their time on a Division I sports team.
Cox: I think from freshman to senior year, the biggest change I have seen is my communications skills. Over the last few years I have had to step up as more of a leader and been more of a voice both on and off the field.
Hannan: After looking back on my four years, I have grown considerably. As a freshman I had always looked up to our senior captains and tried to emulate their work ethic, both on and off the field. I believe my biggest change has been my leadership and ability to lead by example.

Favorite Aspects of Being a Division I Athlete. Field hockey captain Megan Bourne (Lake Forest, Ill.), women’s tennis captain Jessica DeSimone (Lincoln, R.I.), women’s basketball captain Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.), men’s rowing captain Mike Walker (Monson, Mass.) and men’s soccer captain Pat McCann (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) will all carry different aspects of their DI experience at Holy Cross with them next year. However, all agree on the fact that the relationships formed as a result of being on a team will always be the best part.
Lepley: One of the best things about being a DI athlete is being a part of a team that immediately become your best friends. Another good aspect is being able to do something you love at a high level.
Bourne: The best part of being a DI athlete was being immersed in the Crusader Pride every day. I loved being apart of the athletic community and establishing life-long friendships with my fellow student-athletes. I will always look back at my four-year career and remember the amazing time spent on and off the field with my teammates, coaches and trainers. 
DeSimone: I would say that one of best things about being a DI athlete is that it gives me a sense of personal validation for all the hard work, time and dedication I have put into playing tennis throughout my life.  I also love being part of a team and being a member of the community of student-athletes here at Holy Cross.
Walker: Looking back at my college rowing career, I realize that both the good and the bad allowed me to form friendships with my teammates that will last long after our last race. These relationships were critical in rowing, as trust and camaraderie went a long way in determining the success of a boat. Even if my rowing career may be over, I know that I'll never lose the memories and friendships I made along the way. 
McCann: Traditionally at Holy Cross the team has always been a compact and solid unit of guys who really play for each other and take care of each other on and off the field. Being a part of a brotherhood like that is really something special. On the same point, you can play good soccer and represent a very good school.

Men and Women For Others. Football captain Tom Mannix (Kenilworth, N.J.) and softball captain Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) have embodied the Jesuit tradition of men and women for others during their time at Holy Cross both on and off the field. After graduation, Mannix will be moving to Florida to serve with Teach for America for two years. Fregenti will be carrying on the Jesuit mission as she travels to California to serve in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Mannix: I decided to do TFA because looking back I recognize how fortunate I have been to have such great teachers and how so many of my teachers have had huge influences on my life. I want to be a positive influence and role model for kids and I think that TFA provides a great opportunity for me to do this. I chose Miami because I have lived in the Northeast my whole life so I want to experience something different. I am excited about getting in the classroom and working with the kids to try and help them reach their full potential.
Fregenti: I will be volunteering at the Silicon Valley Law firm in San Jose, California. The firm has a Mental Health Advocacy Project and I will be volunteering as their Housing Rights advocate for people with severe mental illness. I will be doing client intake as well as community outreach. I am most excited about working with a population of people suffering from mental illnesses and working towards eliminating the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses. I plan on attending graduate school for clinical psychology after JVC and I feel like my experience volunteering will offer me an incredible perspective on the issues people with mental illnesses must face outside of the clinical world. I also cannot wait to explore a part of the country that I've never been to before.

For the Team. Being a Division I athlete requires a tremendous amount of work and dedication. This means long hours spent practicing, traveling and hanging out with teammates. Women’s rowing captain Aleks Torres (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), women’s golf captain Kelly Reagan (Mendota Heights, Minn.), volleyball captain Liz Watters (San Francisco, Calif.) and women’s track and field captain Brittany Gorski (Tewksbury, Mass.) emphasize that their teams have had a significant impact upon their four years here and are what they will miss most about Holy Cross athletics upon graduation.
Torres: Next year I will mostly miss being a part of a team and working together toward something we all care so much about. I will definitely miss racing, but I will mainly miss my teammates. 
Gorski: One of the greatest things I will miss about running here at Holy Cross is my team. It sounds cliché, but we have all become extremely close. It is hard to think that I won’t get to see all of my friends on a daily basis anymore. I will also miss being able to compete at a Division I level. It has given me the ability to compete against many great competitors. 
Reagan: Being on the golf team has had a significant impact on my experience at Holy Cross, helping me to become a more well-rounded and balanced student. I have not only learned how to be an effective leader, but I have had the opportunity to create life-long friendships with my teammates and competitors. I will cherish these friendships, it really is the best part of being on a team; they are the reward for all the hard work and sacrifice that comes with committing to be on a team.
Watters: Being on a team at Holy Cross has been one of the best experiences of my life! It has taught me the importance of sacrifice; hard work and above all, I have learned that positive thoughts lead to positive results! I have met amazing girls who are going to go on to do amazing things! The ability to play a sport that you love surrounded by people you love, nothing better than that!

A Victory for the Underdog. Men’s hockey captain Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario), men’s basketball captain Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) and baseball captain John Colella (Herndon, Va.) have had several victories on the ice, on the court and on the field. Their strongest and most treasured sports moments are the ones in which their teams went into a game as the underdog and worked together to secure a win.
Vos: My most memorable team moment had to be beating Boston University at Agganis last season, coming in as the underdog on their family weekend, it was incredible beating a program with such a history and a sold out arena. 
Colella: My most memorable sports moment at Holy Cross was beating Texas A&M (ranked top five in the country last year) during our opening weekend. We pulled off a great upset in front of their home crowd, and that feeling is something I'll never forget. 
Beans: My most memorable sports moment at HC was beating Boston College, my junior year at the DCU Center. We had a great student turnout and my parents were also able to make the game. It was the first time Holy Cross had beaten BC in many years. 

Team captains are voted on by their teammates and coaches for their work ethic, leadership skills and their overall embodiment of what it means to be a Divison I athlete at Holy Cross. They have truly shown their love for their sports and have certainly left their mark on their teams. GoHolyCross.com would like to wish all the graduating seniors the best of luck as they embark on the exciting next phase of their lives and congratulate them for their successful four years on the Hill.