April 16, 2013

A Diamond On And Off The Field

Fregenti demonstrates how to be a successful student-athlete.

By Caitlin Forrester
Special to GoHolyCross.com

Wake up, quick breakfast, morning hit or lift, class, working lunch, class, meeting with professors, practice, dinner to go, meeting, shower, library and finally… sleep. This is the daily schedule of senior captain of the softball team Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.). Fregenti embodies the persona of a true Holy Cross "student-athlete" who excels both on and off the softball field. Many wonder how she manages to be a successful varsity athlete while holding numerous commitments with her involvement in the Holy Cross community. Fregenti admits it is not easy, but she loves it!

Fregenti plays first base for the Crusaders. She is Holy Cross' all-time leader in career home runs (22), slugging percentage (.628) and batting average (.380), tied for first in career walks (57) and third in career doubles (36). Fregenti's success is not limited to the softball field, for she is extremely involved in the Holy Cross community and holds the presence of a student leader on campus. Fregenti is a Resident Assistant, is Co-Chair of the Neuronauts, was on the committee for Dance Marathon, and was an Orientation Leader and a Junior Student Coordinator for orientation. Fregenti is a psychology major, with a Pre-Med study and has excelled academically while a student at Holy Cross. This past summer she was a Summer Research Fellow, researching the implications of a neurochemical binder to the brain. She loved this opportunity of learning hands-on, which has led her to confirm her pursuit in developing her study of psychology in the future. Fregenti has been a member of the Dean's List and has earned All Patriot League Academic Honors during her sophomore and junior years.

Fregenti was drawn to Holy Cross because of the emphasis the college placed on the importance of the aspect of being a  "student-athlete" during her recruiting process. She recalls how other colleges and universities placed a greater importance on athletics rather than academics but Holy Cross focused on being a student first rather than an athlete. Holy Cross provided Fregenti with the perfect opportunity to compete at a high-level of softball, as well as a competitive field of academics that presented her with the opportunity to explore other interests and passions.

Fregenti's four-year Holy Cross softball career has taught her the basics of the sport, as well as lessons for life long achievement. Sam has been playing softball for 16 years. She has a love for the game that has driven her to become the outstanding player she is today. Softball is a game of victories and defeats, and has taught Fregenti the importance of resiliency and how to accept the fact that everything does not go as planned. When up at bat, how you react to the various pitches that are thrown resembles how you will handle the different situations you face throughout life. For this lesson, Fregenti attributes softball with making her a better player, student and person in general. For the 2013 season the Crusaders are applying a new team strategy, the "productive at bat philosophy". The strategy allows the team to approach the sport from a different perspective. The philosophy focuses on the overall success of the team and allows the team to work together rather than solely on personal achievement. A player is "productive at bat" when they get a hit, walk, or a sacrifice through a bunt, by doing this they are adding to the overall success of the team. The philosophy is not limited to the softball field for Fregenti, but she applies it to life in general. "By playing a minor role, I can help the general good of the team, and by playing a minor role in the Holy Cross community I can help the overall good of the campus".

Fregenti has always had a mindset to be involved but she has expanded this attitude to a new level throughout her college career. When arriving on Mount St. James, Fregenti discovered that she had many passions and interests that she wanted to explore. "Holy Cross provides me with an avenue to explore all my interests. I have so many passions and interests I do not want to be held to one thing, I enjoy exploring my different interests. I perform best when busy and involved, because I manage my time appropriately when busy, and acknowledge my responsibilities." Fregenti does not want to be perceived as a one dimensional person, as just a softball player, or a psych major or an RA, but she wants to be recognized as multi-talented. She wants to be known for being involved with the Holy Cross community.

Fregenti has the ability to motivate herself but she attributes her main source of motivation and inspiration to her parents. Fregenti's biggest fans both on and off the sidelines of the softball field are her mother and father. Her parents have always set an example for being very involved. They have always been present and have supported her both academically and athletically. Fregenti's mother and father have always been present coaching her little-league softball games, cheering on the sidelines, and being involved with her school commitments and outside functions. Her parents have taught her the importance of volunteering, and have set a prime example of commitment, passion and the importance of having different interests to pursue. Fregenti has taken to heart her parent's advice of dedicating time to community and the importance of exploring multiple interests and passions. "I thank my parents for providing me with the opportunity to go to Holy Cross and for always encouraging me to explore my different passions."

Fregenti is extremely grateful for the opportunities she has been given to meet different people through her involvement throughout the Holy Cross community. She has formed close bonds and relationships from all different pockets of campus, including her teammates, coaches, club members, professors and administrators. Fregenti knows that she will take away with her the precious memories and experiences from each involvement, all that have taught her something different that she can apply to her future endeavors. In return, she tries to give back to the Holy Cross community as much as possible. Fregenti knows she will miss the Holy Cross community the most after she graduates, but especially her personalized community she has formed, Fregenti's Holy Cross Community. Sam's friendships, interactions with faculty and coaches and the Jesuit community have all combined to form a profound and lasting Holy Cross experience. She has numerous interactions and pockets of friends but all combine to form one big Holy Cross experience. "I will miss the Holy Cross community but I know it will always be here to come back to, and will be existent even if not on Mount St. James."

Holy Cross has also provided Fregenti the chance to develop and pursue her faith. This past winter break she went on the Spiritual Exercises. While on the exercises, Fregenti reflected on some concerns regarding her last semester at Holy Cross and her last softball season. On the first day she was given suggested biblical verses, and one of the verses she instantly identified with, Luke 12:22 "Do Not Worry." Fregenti immediately knew this verse would guide her through her final semester and softball season at Holy Cross. She now writes this verse on her wrist when getting taped before games. "This verse is a good reminder to not worry and is a good mental check." This verse that Fregenti was presented with encompasses her four years at Holy Cross. Through her involvement with academics, softball and extracurriculars, Fregenti has learned do not worry, for everything happens for a reason and everything will work out.

Fregenti has engaged herself with all the opportunities that Holy Cross offers and has a passion for everything she is involved in. She is hardworking, focused, selfless and extremely enthusiastic and passionate towards all her commitments and is one of the most talented softball players to wear the Crusader uniform. After graduation, Fregenti will be volunteering in Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) in San José, Calif. She will be working at a law firm, where she will be involved with the mental health advocacy project by working in the housing rights department and interacting directly with clients that have severe mental illnesses. Through her involvement and community outreach, Fregenti hopes to work toward eliminating the stigma towards people with mental illnesses. "I am very excited, this is a great opportunity to see different aspects of psychology that I can't learn from textbooks. This opportunity will help make me a better clinical neuropsychologist for the future."

Fregenti's presence will be greatly missed on this campus next year but it is assured that she will continue to see success in the future in all her endeavors. With the support of the Holy Cross Community, her friends and family, Fregenti is heading towards a bright and successful future.