Monday, December 30, 2013

Endicott Student-Athlete Defends Both Field and Nation

Christine Todd
Photo by Dave Hicks
By Dave Hicks
Gordon College News Service
December 9, 2013
(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

As many college athletes prepare to go home for the holidays, some, like Lauren Todd, still have work to do.

Though Todd, 23, graduated a semester early from Endicott College with a degree in psychology and concentration in criminal justice and four years on the soccer and lacrosse fields, she began classes just days later in Endicott’s homeland security master’s program. She is one of a growing number of today’s students who move directly from undergraduate studies into a graduate program.

“She came on my radar as someone who’s not only very intelligent, but also manages her time well,” said Professor Michael Andreas, the director of Todd’s Homeland Security Studies Graduate Program who taught her as an undergraduate. “She’s a natural born leader and a very high performer.”

Her college career both off and on the field, she said, produced in her skills such as time management, leadership and excellence, qualities that began forming while growing up in New Field, New Hampshire. When it came time to attend college, she knew she wanted both to stay in the Northeast and to play lacrosse in college. But it was Endicott’s women’s soccer coach Jodi Kenyon who ended up recruiting her.

“She immediately struck me as a young woman who knew exactly what she wanted,” said Kenyon. “From day one at Endicott, she had everything mapped out for the next four years. That’s rare these days.”

As an NCAA Division III school, Endicott’s athletics department emphasizes balance between academics and athletics. Todd’s lacrosse coach, Meghan Fitzgerald, was impressed by the way she succeeded in both.

“She’s the ultimate example of a D-III athlete,” she said.  “She was so successful in the classroom that she was able to graduate early. To do that while playing two sports, and participating in multiple internships is a huge achievement.

Hoops Down Under

By Dave Hicks
Gordon College News Service
December 9, 2013
(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

While most Australian boys grow up dreaming of rugby and cricket, Lachlan Magee, 23, grew up hoping for a chance at college basketball. This holiday season, he will be finishing that dream, playing basketball for his fourth year at Endicott College.

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Magee came to Endicott as a freshman in the fall of 2010. Because he had earned college credits in high school, he was able to graduate early with a business degree in May 2012. But in order to play one final season, and to prepare for a professional life as a businessman, he immediately enrolled in Endicott’s 12-month, full-time MBA program.

Between classes and the court, Magee maintains a schedule that most college students do not.  In his last semester as an undergraduate, he even managed to maintain an internship at a private equity firm, write a senior thesis, and work as a tutor in Endicott’s writing center.

“Being a student athlete is a big commitment,” said Magee. “But playing basketball has helped me learn how to manage my time well. It’s given me many important skills to succeed in everything from academics to my professional life.” 

From Tennis to Travel

By Angie Sykeny
Gordon College News Service
December 10, 2013
(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

NORTH ANDOVER—When Alyx Barnes, 21, of Portsmouth, NH, graduated high school, Merrimack College asked her to play tennis on scholarship.

“I was unsure of what I wanted to do after senior year,” she said. “So I decided to take the offer.”

Now, as a senior, she said this season has been the best her team has played in her four years.

“When I was deciding to take this coaching position, Alyx was one of the players I was most looking forward to coach,” said head women’s tennis coach Paul Arsenault, 30, of Nashua, NH. “She has been a reliable player for our team and is a big part of why this team has improved so much in the past few years.”

Barnes is a business major with a self-proclaimed “indecisive personality.” Although she has no definitive career plans, she is excited to graduate and set out on her own adventure.

“I love to travel,” she said. “After graduating, I am going to move back to Portsmouth to work and save money so I will have the funds to go around the world and see other countries.”

Barnes said although she doesn’t have plans to continue tennis professionally, she will always play for fun with family and friends.


First an Athlete, Now a Trainer

By Angie Sykeny
Gordon College News Service
December 10, 2013

(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

NORTH ANDOVER—While many college students can take a break from the books this holiday season, Nicole Curtis will still be studying.

As a senior studying athletic training at Merrimack College in North Andover, Curtis, 22, of Billerica needs to take the Athletic Trainer’s Board of Certification exam in the spring to become a licensed trainer, something she has wanted to do since high school. She will then be one step closer to achieving her goal of going to graduate school, part of a growing trend for today’s college athletes.

Curtis played soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Billerica Memorial High School where she acquired a serious shoulder injury, requiring surgery. After spending much of her time with an athletic trainer in rehabilitation, she was inspired.

I saw so many athletes come in with injuries during that time and my athletic trainer was able to diagnose them, treat them and get them back on the playing field,” she said. “I knew then that I wanted to do that.”

Now, Curtis is living her dream. Because the Merrimack athletic training program requires students to be an athletic trainer for a sports team each semester, she has been currently working with the men’s basketball team, helping players with injuries and providing support at their games.

When she graduates next May, Curtis hopes to work towards a master’s degree in sports medicine. For now, she has been using the National Athletic Trainers Career website to look for schools with graduate programs in sports medicine and working with her adviser and the sports medicine department to create a resume and get reference letters.

 Nicole is in a grueling major that has both an academic and clinical component,” said Curtis’ preceptor for her clinical rotation Heather Carr, 28, of Methuen. “Most collegiate athletic training jobs require a master’s. In professional athletics, you will see dual credentials.”

But Curtis did not only choose Merrimack College for its athletic training program. With a significant athletic scholarship, she has also been the goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team.

Ice Hockey Student Gears Up for Future

By Katherine Stephens
Gordon College News Service
December 10, 2013

(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

SALEM—Christmas break for Salem State’s men’s ice hockey senior Mark Macdonald, 22, of Norwell, will be short. Winter practice starts up again on Dec. 28 with the team’s first tournament on Jan. 2 and the Frozen Fenway event in Fenway Park on Jan. 7 against UMASS Boston.

“Hockey’s the sport that I’ve always revolved the schedule around,” said Macdonald. “You’re committed to the team from the middle of October to the beginning of March, and you’re with the same kids everyday.”

Macdonald first picked up a hockey stick at age four. He played on club teams until high school at the Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., where he played three years of varsity. He played one year of Midget AAA for the Boston Advantage Hockey club. After graduating in 2009, he took a year off and played junior hockey for the Bridgewater Bandits. In 2010, he enrolled at Salem State as a finance major with a minor in economics.

“The older I’ve gotten the tougher it has been to balance hockey and school, but I know hockey has 100 percent helped me in my academics,” said Macdonald. “I think you become more productive by being an athlete in school, because you have to be.”

Macdonald is committed to hockey practice everyday from 1:30 to 4:30, while also taking six classes and doing an internship with the athletics department. He is unsure about his plans after college, but he wants to gain some work experience before going on to graduate school.

“It’s going to be a tough transition to stop training for hockey everyday,” he said. “I’m hopefully going into a fulltime job, but I also want to stay involved in the sport, maybe even coach part time.” 

Salem State Athlete Puts Head and Heart in the Game

Lauren DiCredico
photo by Katherine Stephens
By Katherine Stephens
Gordon College News Service
December 10, 2013
(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

For Salem State senior Lauren DiCredico, 21, of Tewksbury, athletics has been all about heart. In fact, a heart condition forced her to take off two semesters from SSU softball and field hockey, but the honors student has been cleared to play for the spring. That’s why she’ll be spending her Christmas break preparing her pitching arm and re-gaining her strength for her last season before graduation.

“It feels great to be part of a team again,” said DiCredico. “I’m finally not feeling weak after my workouts or practice anymore so physically I am definitely getting there.”

A psychology major and sports science minor, DiCredico began playing softball at age six and field hockey her freshman year at Tewksbury Memorial High School. She competed at the varsity level for four years in both sports, which she continued into college after Salem State’s head softball coach, Leanne Doviack, recruited her.

“I knew she could be a two sport college athlete,” said Doviack. “She is an amazing, determined young lady in both athletics and academics. I never saw her leave practice without throwing a whole extra bucket of balls.”

DiCredico was named MASCAC Rookie of the Year her freshman year, and spring of her sophomore year, her softball team won the MASCAC Championship, which took them on to the NCAA tournament.

But during her junior year in field hockey, chronic viral symptoms began to plague DiCredico.

“I was able to play, but not to my fullest potential. I would play two weeks and then sit out for two weeks,” said DiCredico. “Nobody knew why I was sick.”

In January 2013, a few days before softball practice started, doctors told DiCredico she had a heart condition called Post-Viral Cardio Myopathy and could not be active for six months.

“I was definitely upset, and even had a little bit of regret thinking about what more I could have done to stay healthy,” said DiCredico. “But I thought about everything I had learned in sports psychology and realized that maybe this heart condition happened for a reason, because I needed to learn how to relate to athletes in the future.”

Why I'm "Settling" As a Small-Town Journalist

By Angie Sykeny
Gordon College News Service
December 29, 2013

Finally, after a long semester, I am home for Christmas break in Peterborough, New Hampshire—the inspiration for Thorton Wilder's Our Town. I spend most of my time next to the fire, inching as close as I possibly can before the heat is too much to bear. The view from every window is the same—trees. There are no sirens, no honking horns, just the occasional sound of snow falling from the roof.

On the coffee table sits a stack of the local newspaper, the bi-weekly Monadnock Ledger. As I peruse the headlines, I'm not surprised to see things haven't changed. A feature on the local food pantry; ornament decorating at the library; the police chief's retirement; the high school's ski club.

Too often people look at me with skepticism when I tell them I want to be a print journalist. "Isn't that a dying industry?" And they do have some ground to stand on. Many of us studying journalism have heard more than once in recent years how metropolitan papers around the country are being bought out or declaring bankruptcy.

The real misconception people seem to have about journalism, however, is that it is a primarily urban career. "So you're going to move to Boston, then?"