Seniors carry on their athletic legacies

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Seniors bring carry on their sports through college. Karina Badey ’19

As senior year comes to a close, opportunities for Sacred Heart Greenwich student-athletes are opening. Four Sacred Heart seniors will continue to play their high school sport as they transition into their college careers.  From lacrosse to crew to track and field, athletes will bring the skills of the Sacred Heart athletics program to each of their colleges.
Senior Grace Paletta started playing lacrosse at the beginning of elementary school.  Inspired by her sisters and father who played in college at Cornell University and Brown University, Grace always knew that she wanted to follow the same path. From playing on and off Sacred Heart fields, Grace expressed that the atmosphere of the game has always been something special.
“My high school teams at Greenwich High School and at Sacred Heart really confirmed the fact that I wanted to play in college because being on a competitive team and having a group of girls to have your back on and off the field was so incredible. Lacrosse was always something I looked forward to, and I did not want it to end with high school, so I chose early on that I would pursue lacrosse through college,” Grace said.
In the spring of Grace’s sophomore year, she confirmed her commitment to Cornell University.  Grace had visited Cornell in previous years and the university has been a continuous presence in Grace’s life as her mother, father, and sister attended college there.

Senior Mackenzie Jordan comes in first place at the Fairfield Athletics Association Championship.
Courtesy of Mrs. Suzanne Myette

Additionally, with the guidance of the coaches and the Goals and Criteria, Grace states how playing a sport for Sacred Heart has helped shape her as an athlete.  Having a balance of academic and athletic success is a contributing factor to the prosperity of Sacred Heart student-athletes.
“Sacred Heart really emphasized the importance of academics with athletics. Not only my teachers, but my coaches held me to an academic standard that helped me to be successful all throughout high school,” Grace said.
Across the fields from the lacrosse team are the cross country and track and field teams, both led by captain senior Mackenzie Jordan.  Since a young age, Mackenzie has been a runner and consistent member of the Sacred Heart running community. She started running competitively at Sacred Heart in the seventh grade on the cross country team with Middle School mathematics teacher Mr. Michael Maida and Middle School history teacher Mrs. Samatha McCoy as her coaches.  Since eighth grade, Mackenzie has been running at the varsity level.
When the cross country and track and field head coach Mr. Bradley Miller expressed that Mackenzie had the skills and ability to run at the college level, she began to realize the opportunities that lie ahead.  Being a college athlete was never a top priority for Mackenzie. However, entering senior year she realized running in college is exactly what she wants to do.
After the varsity cross country season of Mackenzie’s junior year, she began to email college coaches as she had broken the 20-minute mark in the five-kilometer race.  As a result of her success, she expressed her gratitude to the Sacred Heart athletic coaches.
“The community of Sacred Heart has cultivated a strong work ethic balancing rigorous academics and athletics, which will definitely help me in college.  Sacred Heart and my coaches have instilled in me a drive to persevere and overcome obstacles with grace and poise,” Mackenzie said.
In the end, Mackenzie chose to attend the College of the Holy Cross.  At this school, she will have the opportunity to take her running career even further.
“Making a decision on which college I would call home for the next for years was extremely tough.  Ultimately, I chose Holy Cross because of the Jesuit education and I wanted to see where the Division I running opportunity would take me,” Mackenzie said.
Off of the fields and in the water is Sacred Heart rower senior Lilly O’Sullivan. Lilly began rowing during the spring of her sophomore year. Only a few seasons later, she officially confirmed her commitment to George Washington University (GW).
The second I arrived on the campus at GW, I fell in love. Just the whole atmosphere of Washington, DC is truly life changing and something that words cannot even capture,” Lilly said.
Additionally, the idea of college athletics was always in the back of Lilly’s mind.  Although she only began rowing three years ago, with the support of her family and friends around her she was able to shape a new sport into a strong and successful athletic career.
Seniors carry on their sports through college.
Karina Badey ’19

Despite the fact that Lilly only rowed with Sacred Heart for one season, the athletics program, coaches, and her teammates had brought notable values into her rowing career.
“I hope to carry the sense of self-worth that Sacred Heart has helped me to realize, and my ability to speak my mind,” Lilly said.
Since the beginning of senior Maeve Hogan’s athletic career, she knew that she wanted to play a sport in college.  In the fall of junior year, Maeve entered the water to try crew after playing soccer as an underclassman.
“I had always wanted to give it a try after reading the book Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown in middle school, but since I played soccer in the fall, I never had the opportunity. I stopped playing soccer in my sophomore year, so when junior year came around, and I finally had an open sports season to give it a shot, I joined the team, and ended up loving it,” Maeve said.
Later that year, Maeve’s crew career took a rapid turn and rowing became much more than just a sport.  At the end of October 2016, she went on an official recruiting visit to Columbia University and accepted the coaches’ offer later that week.  Furthermore, through her two older brothers, who were athletes in college, she saw the team dynamics and experience of a college athlete.
“While they did not specifically inspire me to row in college, they had always been an inspiration to me and taught me about hard work and dedication. I’ve grown up with high standards for myself, and I see a continuation of my rowing career at a higher level than I’ve ever experienced before as a challenge that I will welcome with open arms and strive to succeed at,” Maeve said.
With her love for the sport, the team, and the dedication, Maeve hopes to carry these ideals throughout her college career.  Honored and humbled to be chosen to row for a school that she felt a connection to, Maeve looks forward to integrating herself into the new school community.
Similar to other Sacred Heart student-athletes, the coaches and teammates have brought a set of values as she joined each of her teams throughout her time at Sacred Heart.
“Rowing at Sacred Heart really taught me to love the sport. The group of girls that I met on that team really helped me learn to love the hard work that goes along with it,” Maeve said. “Sacred Heart has taught me how to manage my time and balance the responsibilities of being both a high performing student and a dedicated athlete.”
– Karina Badey, Staff Writer