May 7, 2012

A Tradition Of Togetherness

By Lauren Leary
Special to GoHolyCross.com 

One of the most beneficial aspects of attending a small, liberal arts college such as Holy Cross is the potential for the development of close-knit relationships among students. For senior baseball captain Chris Sintetos, the bond that has grown between his teammates throughout his four years on the Hill is one that is especially strong.

The Political Science major from Bethesda, Md., who is a starting outfielder for the Crusaders, maintains that as the team enters into their final stretch of the season, it has become clear that the success they've achieved thus far can be attributed to the relationships they've formed with one another both on and off the field.

The team earned the number two seed in the Patriot League Tournament after going 13-7 (.650) in the conference, which is the Crusaders' best record since they went 11-4 (.733) in the league's first season in 1991. The team completed the regular season with a 30-20 overall record, which ties the 1921 Crusaders with the most wins in program history. Sintetos has played a large role in this regular season's success in particular, as he has recorded career-best statistics in multiple categories, including 29 RBI, a .389 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage.

Sintetos's personal success on the field has not kept him from competing as a team-player, as the all-for-one mentality of the team that drew him to the program during his recruitment is still what motivates him to perform well as a senior. He credits his upperclassmen teammates and the coaching staff for maintaining much of the cohesiveness on the team. "I chose Holy Cross pretty much because of coach DiCenzo," he says. "The program wasn't in great shape when I was getting recruited, but just meeting Coach and talking with him, I realized that he was a guy that was going to take the program somewhere."

It was DiCenzo's confidence in particular that piqued Sintetos's interest in Holy Cross, as it was clear that the team at the time also believed its coach could lead them to future success. "When I was getting recruited I could tell the team really admired Coach," he says. "It was clear in the way they talked about him and how much he believed in the program. I realized right away that I wanted to be a part of it all."

The feeling of respect between Sintetos and DiCenzo is mutual, as the coach attributes the senior captain's success to his motivated and focused character. "Chris was voted captain this season because of his continued perseverance on the baseball field," DiCenzo says. "Over the last few years, he has continued to work as hard as anyone on the roster, putting himself in a position to earn a full-time starting spot as a senior."

It was also the confidence instilled in Sintetos by his hitting coach, Jeff Kane, as well as from his teammates that allowed him to fully recover from a pulled groin that occurred his freshman year. Now finally playing at full strength, Sintetos is thankful for both his own diligence and his teammates' close bond.

"We've been more successful this season than years past because this group of guys is kind of special," he says. "This is the closest the entire team has been since I've been here and the results on the field just show that." He contributes much of the team chemistry to the cohesiveness of the senior class, which has boasted at least 20 wins in every season throughout their four years at Holy Cross. Their strong leadership skills have set a positive tone for the team, as Sintetos says that the upperclassmen have done, "a great job of setting a good example this year by letting the underclassmen know what's expected of them on the field." In particular, the friendships Sintetos has formed with the underclassmen on the team mirror the closeness of the team when he was a freshman. He still keeps in contact with many of the seniors who graduated after his first year and continues to look to them for advice on baseball.

Sintetos also cites his relationship with co-captain and roommate Matt Croglio as a friendship of mutual respect, where they can "lean on each other" both on and off the field. The friendship between the two exemplifies what Sintetos will miss the most about Holy Cross. As a small liberal arts school, he says that the friendships he has made throughout his four years are strong mainly because of the intimate atmosphere on campus. Hoping to eventually attend law school, Sintetos is confident that regardless of where he finds himself after graduation, the relationships he has formed on the Hill the past four years with coaches, teammates and friends will remain largely influential in his life.