Exceptional Senior Athletes Say Goodbye

Batcheller looks forward to the future and keeping tennis in her life for years to come.

Each year, graduating student athletes who have balanced work, school, training and competition for years have to take a step back and examine what their lives might look like without a competitive sport. For years, athletics played a major role in their lives, and now that time and energy is finally able to be directed towards something else. These three prominent and high-achieving SUNY New Paltz athletes reflected on their careers as Hawks and gave their thoughts on moving forward. 

Onalee Batcheller

In her five seasons since joining the Hawks women’s tennis, co-captain and grad student Onalee Batcheller has helped the team earn a SUNYAC Championship four times. Most recently, the team defended their championship title with their win over Geneseo, where Batcheller and Isabel van der Veen, a doubles team for the Hawks, won 8-5, giving the team flexibility as they only needed two points out of the six single matches that would follow. Those matches were won, and the Hawks would win the 2024 Championship. “It’s a major accomplishment that shows how much hard work and dedication I have put into developing my skills and being the best player I can be, as well as my teammates,” said Batcheller.  

Batcheller paid respect to Coach Rob Bruley, who she said mentored her throughout her career. “My coach, especially, has motivated me to do my best and not only encouraged me to succeed on the court but also in the classroom. He knew that doing well in school led to succeeding on the court.” This commitment to education paid off, as Batcheller was awarded the SUNY Scholar-Athlete Award in 2023. “I’m most proud of how I’ve been able to juggle school, tennis and other extracurriculars without having to sacrifice one for the other.” 

Batcheller is currently earning her Master’s degree in business administration and reflected on leaving behind the school, athletics and competitive play. “It’s been a great experience, and I’ve met many amazing people,’’ said Batcheller. “It’s bittersweet to be leaving the team and New Paltz. I know they will do amazing in the future, and I can’t wait to visit and support them at future matches!”  

As for her future in competitive tennis, Batcheller is okay with putting it behind her. “I will continue playing at a tennis club in my hometown. I’m lucky to be playing a sport that I can play my whole life, so I never have to stop.” 

Elias Elcock

On April 11, the State University of New York announced the recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the most prestigious award that any SUNY student can receive. Four students from SUNY New Paltz received the award, with Elias Elcock being one of these recipient and the only student-athlete among them. Elcock is a fourth-year relational communications major, who also plays as a midfielder for the men’s New Paltz lacrosse team. Elcock joined the team in the 2021 season and played throughout the 2022 season. Elcock would then go on to study abroad during the fall 2022 and spring 2023 seasons, where he played lacrosse in both Spain and New Zealand. 

While Elcock’s play on the field was good, it was his off-the-field actions that would earn him the Chancellor’s Award. Elcock serves as president of New Paltz Athletes of Color and is co-chair of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Community Relations sub-committee. In addition to this, Elcock is also deeply committed to music and sits as a first chair cellist in the department of music’s orchestra. “I had a great college career with my athletics, academics and other campus involvement opportunities … I am happy that I was able to balance all the activities that I was interested in,” said Elcock.  

With his time at New Paltz ending, Elcock looks forward to attending law school at Roger Williams and specializing in family law. “I am nervous, but I am excited to be able to use my tentative career goals to help people who need it.” 

As someone so involved with the campus, Elcock’s departure from both New Paltz and as a Hawk is difficult. “It’s hard to accept the fact that I am done playing here at New Paltz,” Elcock said. “I became a lot more skilled with each season I played. I learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and make do with what was readily available to me. I became more understanding and determined to get things done in life.” 

“I truly experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows that a program could go through in my four years here. I am always rooting for the Hawks.” 

Pat Wing

Pat Wing, a fifth-year volleyball player, is another outstanding student-athlete. Wing played for the Hawks for all five seasons of his collegiate career, racking up impressive stats and accolades. This past season, Wing was given All-UVC and  All-UVCA honors for the third year in a row, while also being named as an All American and as the Frog Jump National Opposite of the Year. With the conclusion of his record-breaking career, Wing is ready to explore the various possibilities that his time at New Paltz has afforded him. 

“I loved my time here, wouldn’t change anything for the world … I’m not sure if I’m going to keep playing or not, possibly playing overseas. Or I might just pack it in … It was a good run,” said Wing. 

If Wing does decide to move on from the sport, he is well-prepared. As a student, Wing graduated with a bachelor’s degree in adolescent education and is currently working on a master’s degree in special education. After college, Wing’s goal is to land a position teaching high school math. However, Wing won’t leave the sport behind for good. “I also plan to coach boys’ volleyball and baseball at that school.”  

Wing has been an athlete his whole life, and the comradery that comes along with team sports has been one of his favorite aspects of his athletic career. “The best part of being a Hawk is hanging out with the guys,” said Wing. “The things I enjoyed most were hanging out with my teammates and going to P&Gs, R.I.P.” A particular moment with his teammates that stuck out to Wing was when the team took a trip to the Dominican Republic during his first year. The team had just come off a national championship, and Wing had the opportunity to spend more time with some of the players from that championship team that helped him progress into the player he would go on to become. 

Wing is satisfied with his time as a student athlete and is ready to move on to the next chapter. “Nobody necessarily wants to leave college and begin real life, but I was fortunate enough to stay an extra year and play again, so I am comfortable with calling this the end.”  

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