Athletes achieve outside the heart

Senior+Meg+Gerli+hangs+off+the+boat+as+she+competes+in+the+2013+i420+World+Championship+regatta+in+Valencia%2C+Spain.+

Senior Meg Gerli hangs off the boat as she competes in the 2013 i420 World Championship regatta in Valencia, Spain.

 

Senior Meg Gerli hangs of the boat as she competes in the 2013 i420 World Championship regatta in Valencia, Spain.
Senior Meg Gerli hangs off the boat as she competes in the 2013 i420 World Championship regatta in Valencia, Spain. Photo courtesy of Meg Gerli ’15

While many Convent of the Sacred Heart student-athletes gear up for the spring athletic season, some students explore their athletic passions beyond the school’s grounds through competing in horseback riding, dancing, sailing, and ice-hockey. Students dedicate a lot of time to their respective sports as they participate in high-level competitions around the globe.
Seniors Ailish Cunniffe and Grace Powers horseback ride year-round and spend most of the winter season riding in Florida. 
Ailish rides every day and competes Wednesday through Friday in the junior hunters, junior jumpers and equitation competitions. She aims to one day represent the United States in international competitions.
Like Ailish, Grace competes in the junior classes, which are high-level divisions for riders under age 18. Competitions like the junior classes give horseback riders the opportunity to travel and compete against people from all over the country.
This is Grace’s last year competing in the junior classes, but she hopes to continue competing and improving during her gap year before attending Southern Methodist University.
Sophomore Tatiana Lieberman also horseback rides at Lionshare Farm in Greenwich. She competes at horse shows in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Tatiana’s control of her horse, Broadway Bound, remains her top priority during a show. 
“Horseback riding is extremely difficult because you are essentially controlling a 1200 pound animal that can do anything at any moment,” Tatiana said. “A rider controls the body of the horse, speed, and distances of where it jumps from. It is the rider’s job to manage all of those things while also being aware of what is going on around her.”
Tatiana’s classmate, sophomore Erin Carroll, expresses herself through dance. Erin dances at the Armonk Center for Dance in Armonk, New York and at the School of Creative and Performing Arts in New York City. 
“Dance is a demanding sport that takes a great amount of effort and energy to perfect challenging choreography or steps. My goals for dance are to go on service trips around the world and teach young children the benefits of learning different styles of dance,” Erin said.
Sailing is also a sport that requires focus and determination. Freshman Sloane Kratzman is an avid sailor and participates on the Long Island Sound Youth Sailing Team (LISOT) year round. She competes in large regattas such as the Vineyard Race that begins in Stamford, Connecticut and ends in Buzzards Bay off of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She participated in this race last August. 
“The coolest thing was during the race, around 3:00 am to 4:00 am, the water was glowing, there were these shooting stars going across the sky, and you could see the lights from the Newport Bridge from the Atlantic. It was super quiet on deck and something about that feeling was indescribable but so incredible,” Sloane said.
Sloane hopes to compete at an international qualifier such as the International Sailing Federation Youth Worlds. She also aims to complete a TransPac, which is a sailing expedition from California to Hawaii, or a TransAtlantic, from New York to Barcelona.
Senior Meg Gerli is also a sailor with LISOT. She sails competitively and was ranked as the top United States ladies boat in the 2013 i420 World Championship regatta in Valencia, Spain.  Meg will race on the Stanford University sailing team next fall.
“At the championships, I was racing against people from all over the country who had been training since they were really young,” Meg said. “It was such a great experience because I met so many people who were passionate about the same sport that I love.”
Mary Livingston '17 playing competitive ice-hockey on the Westchester Wild Girls U19 team. Courtesy of Mary Livingston '17
Mary Livingston (left) playing competitive ice-hockey on the Westchester Wild Girls U19 team.
Courtesy of Mary Livingston ’17

Sophomore Mary Livingston aspires to follow in Meg’s footsteps to play sports at the collegiate level. Mary plays ice-hockey on the Westchester Wild Girls U19 team that is based out of the Westchester Skating Academy. She plays on the travel team from August to March and a club team in the spring.
“My father played hockey his entire life so he put me on skates as soon as I could walk. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t good at hockey and I had a lot of catching up to do, all that matters was that I was on the ice doing something that I love,” Mary said.
As students compete across the country and around the world, they are able to demonstrate their achievement and dedication to their respective sports.
-Arielle Kirven, Staff Writer