One of the most difficult aspects of playing a sport is when your career as an athlete comes to a close. For most athletes, they face this reality after high school and have to cope with no longer competitively playing their game. The game that was once your life with practices, workouts, games and tournaments suddenly leaves the picture, and the question you’re left with is, now what?
According to Patrick O’ Rourke, a statistical editor from Washington D.C., over seven percent of high school athletes go on to play their sport at a collegiate level. Playing any sport at a collegiate level is far more demanding than it was in high school.
The stakes are raised. You have to balance more challenging courses for your major, minor, concentration (or all of the above), perform well in workouts and go to practice, work a job, make time to study and fit a social life in there somewhere.
With all of this hard work, time, and dedication, sadly even these college careers do come to an end. The NCAA estimates less than two percent of all NCAA college athletes go on to play their sport professionally. So again, we are faced with the question, “where do we go from here?”
SUNY New Paltz has had a tremendous number of accomplishments this year in its athletics, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge them, including their senior athletes.
Men’s basketball finished their season 20-14, with the most wins the team has seen in 20 years. The women’s basketball team won the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship and went on to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 round.
Women’s field hockey won their fifth SUNYAC Championship in 10 years. Men’s soccer made it to the SUNYAC semifinals, and finished their season 11-6. Women’s tennis finished the regular season undefeated 17-0 and are waiting to see their placement in the NCAA tournament.
Men’s volleyball won the United Volleyball Conference championship, and were later crowned NCAA National Champions. Women’s lacrosse had a record-breaking season with the most overall and conference wins of any prior team.
The women’s equestrian team finished third this year and qualified seven riders to regionals, with one rider moving forward to Zone finals. Both men’s and women’s swimming finished fourth in the SUNYAC championship.
Women’s volleyball won their third SUNYAC championship title and made it to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament. Women’s soccer had their first SUNYAC victory over the Golden Eagles this season.
Men’s cross country placed fourth in the SUNYAC championship meet, as well as 11th at the NCAA Atlantic Region Cross Country meet.
Women’s cross country took third in the SUNYAC championship meet and 15th at the NCAA Atlantic Region Cross Country meet. Softball clinched their first playoff spot in SUNYAC playoffs since 2017, and finished 26-12, the most wins and best record the program has ever seen.
One senior from each team was given the opportunity to say what playing as a Hawk has meant to them, or give their favorite motivational quote.
Rachael Purtell, Women’s Lacrosse & Soccer:
“It was truly an experience like no other and I am forever grateful to have the privilege to wear orange and blue. Here we go Hawks!”
Mike Delio, Baseball:
“Becoming a Hawk was my second shot at playing baseball after switching schools. The transition I made to New Paltz ended up being one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made and I was fortunate enough to make some life long friends along the way.”
Lindsay Haley, Women’s Tennis:
“I love the winning, I can’t take the losing, but most of all, I love to play.”
Cory Garcia, Men’s Basketball:
“Playing as a Hawk has meant a lot to me especially because I had to walk on to the team four years ago. I felt that in order for me to move up in rotation, (let alone make the team). I had to work a little bit harder and do a little bit extra than others.”
Barrett Celecki, Men’s Cross Country:
“If you’re going to be one might as well be a good one.” – Mark Celecki
Mike Gallagher, Men’s Lacrosse:
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison
Meredith Dignan, Women’s Volleyball:
“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” -Derek Jeter
Sebastian G-S-Archer, Men’s Soccer:
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”-Nelson Mandela
Taylor Howell, Women’s Basketball:
“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” -Rudyard Kipling
Nicole Lee, Women’s Swimming:
“Swimming has taught me how strong I can be, whether that be in the pool or in the classroom. I am exceedingly grateful to my past and current teammates, all whom have each been supportive of myself and others during the stresses of being a student athlete.”
Jessica Mosher, Women’s Equestrian Team
“Riding as a Hawk has changed my life. Being on the team has taught me more about myself than I ever could have imagined.”
Joe Galante, Men’s Swimming:
“Competing for SUNY NP has made me grow very close with all of my teammates and realize how big of a family I truly have.”
Congratulations to all the senior Hawks graduating this year!
Men’s Baseball: Danny Campbell, Michael Delio, Ryan Frost, Justin Ganca, James Magnuson, Justin Stybel, Ryan Votypka
Men’s Basketball: Cory Garcia, Nick Paquette, Paddy Parr
Men’s Cross Country: Barrett Celecki, Thomas Rizzo, Stephen Smith, Brendan Sutta
Men’s Soccer: Victor Dowsley Lifschitz, Manny Flory, Sebastian G-S-Archer, John Guzzo, Brendan McGaley, Khalil Scott-Ludwig, Michael Sguera
Men’s Swimming: Barrett Celecki, Joe Galante, Matthew Kessler, Rory Neal, Yaya Toure
Men’s Volleyball: Bradley Schneider, Nick Smith
Men’s Lacrosse: Mike Gallagher, Lucas Cooper, Mike Hull, Justin Levare, Marco Gonzalez
Women’s Basketball: Lindsay Bettke, Taylor Howell, Rachel Simon
Women’s Equestrian: Jessica Blonder, Emily Brown, Jessica Mosher, Susan Pew
Women’s Field Hockey: Samantha Ackerman, Serena Capsello, Maggie Cottrell
Women’s Lacrosse: Rachael Purtell, Sarah Raynock, Taylor Russell, Ashley Seiter
Women’s Soccer: Raven Blake, Alicia Fanni, Rachael Purtell
Women’s Softball: Nicole DePaola, Shannon Fee, Madison Rappold
Women’s Swimming: Katie Donlevy, Jaimie Kaefer, Whitney Knowlton-Wardle, Nicole Lee, Degen Mariniello
Women’s Tennis: Lindsay Haley
Women’s Volleyball: Taylor Cimillo, Meredith Dignan.