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Former Wooster Athletes Playing Collegiate Club Sports

Former Wooster Athletes Playing Collegiate Club Sports
Jack Zahner, '24

Club sports are an attraction to many incoming college students who were formerly high school athletes. NCAA sports are competitive and may not be what a student is looking for, and club sports allow a similar level of competitiveness while still allowing students to focus on academics and their social lives. Some former Generals (and WiNK Athletes of the Week) are taking part in club sports at their colleges. Some of these former Wooster athletes have volunteered to be interviewed to give insight into their experiences in club sports. Enjoy!

ELISE NEWMAN ‘23: SOCCER & LACROSSE

Elise Newman was a phenomenal athlete at Wooster, racking up trophies in girls soccer and girls lacrosse. She was a standout captain and defender in girls soccer and a rock solid defender in lacrosse. Here are her experiences playing club lacrosse at Colgate!

How much of a difference do you see between Wooster athletics and your college’s club sport? Do you see any similarities?
There are definitely some differences between Wooster athletics and Colgate's club sports teams. At Colgate both for club lacrosse and club soccer, the teams are less competitive than at Wooster. We have fewer games and fewer practices. Colgate is very small so our club teams are not as intense as they would be if Colgate was a bigger school. However, there are also some clear similarities. Due to Colgate's size and encouragement for students to join activities, the club teams have a wide variety of players. There are plenty of girls on both of my teams who take their sports extremely seriously and are very technically talented. There are also some girls who hadn't played the sport since middle school and just wanted to join something. All the players are very athletic and competitive but the attitudes of my teammates here at Colgate match those of my previous teammates at Wooster which is really nice. 

Favorite moment from the sport? (or past seasons)
Club lacrosse has not been very active since it's not Spring yet but club soccer has been active and I have had some great moments. One of my favorite moments from club soccer this fall was mid-season when we got to play a game on the turf and my parents were visiting so they were able to watch. It was really fun to play on the same field that the varsity athletes play on and to have my parents cheering for me in the stands. 

Do you feel that your level of competitiveness is higher or lower than Wooster's?
I would say that the level of competitiveness in regard to the scheduling, games, and practices is lower at Colgate than at Wooster. However, the level of competitiveness within each individual on the team is definitely higher at Colgate. 

Least favorite moment?
My least favorite moment this season was when my club lacrosse team and I were waiting for the rest of our players to show up for our scrimmage against Cornell. It was about 30 degrees and pouring rain. None of us were dressed accordingly and we were all pretty miserable until the game started. 

Is it hard to balance your workload and your sport as well?
Both sports have slowed down since Thanksgiving due to finals coming up as well as the increase in snow. I didn't find it too difficult earlier this season to balance both my workload and my sports, I think because I had so much practice at it from Wooster. However, I do think that if I had consistent practices and games during this week and the following two weeks, I would have a hard time balancing them both. 

Were you able to make connections from this sport?
I was definitely able to make many connections from my club sports. I have gotten to know some upperclassmen girls who have been really helpful and fun to get to know. I have also made some of my closest friends from club soccer which I am very thankful for. It is so fun getting to play with people you really like and connect well with. I have also been able to strengthen previous connections through club lacrosse. Cece Purkiss, who also attends Colgate, plays on the club lacrosse team as well which is super fun for me. Not only is it great to go to a school with your friend but it's also nice to play lacrosse with someone you've been playing with since 8th grade. 


MARCUS DUPREE ‘22: ICE HOCKEY

Marcus was a standout player for lacrosse and hockey here at Wooster. His leadership and discipline set him apart from the rest of the players on the field or rink. Here are his experiences playing Club ice hockey at UCONN.

How much of a difference do you see between Wooster athletics and your college’s club sport? Do you see any similarities?
It's difficult to compare the two. My experiences playing both at Wooster and UConn have been amazing. Wooster hockey allowed me to become a versatile player and have fun throughout each position, although our team wasn't the most competitive at times, it was always the most fun. Wooster hockey gave me the tools to become a better rounded player and learn what it means to be a good teammate, whether as an eighth grader or a senior. At UConn, it's much more competitive, our tryout pool was over 100 students and it was definitely daunting. Hockey at UConn has been very strict, formatted, and competitive. Each player contributes to their position and is extremely skillful but it's hard to stray away from your first position and line. We have to come to practice and games prepared knowing that there is a player waiting to take your spot. This leads to success and a well structured team but it's nowhere near as fun as Wooster hockey. 

Favorite moment from the sport? (or past seasons)
My first season at Wooster was the most fun I've ever had playing the sport. I was an 8th grader and we had morning practices at 6AM and it was never something that I thought I would have enjoyed. As I began forming connections with the players on my team these practices transformed from something I dreaded to my favorite part of the day. Even after practice I felt a part of the team as we raced to bagelman and had to sprint to class, which we were never on time for. Although we weren't the best team, that season was the most fun I've ever had playing the game. 

Do you feel that your level of competitiveness is higher or lower than Wooster?
At UConn our club team plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association in which we play against many other large schools with extremely skilled, and large, players. Most of our competition are fellow club teams, but we do find ourselves facing off against Division 3 schools such as Connecticut College and Trinity College. My club team has been the best team that I have played for as each player has come from prep school hockey or junior hockey, even now as a sophomore I'm still the second youngest on the team.

Least favorite moment?
My least favorite moment was my last game at Wooster, which I believe was against Wilton. The game didn't go as we would have liked but I wasn't sure if it was going to be my last time playing hockey. I was uncertain of my ability to play club hockey in college and thought that I might be hanging it up. This was an emotional game and I couldn't believe my time in high school was over. Reflecting on this, this moment was not sad or angering, I miss playing with some of my best friends that I had been with for five years and enjoyed every moment. 

Is it hard to balance your workload and your sport as well?
Balancing schoolwork and hockey has been something I always struggled with. Wooster prepared me for this early on as we bussed to athletic affairs during the school day. Now, it's still the same sort of idea but scaled much higher. I've had a lot of practice doing work on a bus or a plane as we travel wherever we have to play. I've had the most difficulty juggling my schoolwork and our late night practice schedule. I have to make sure to get my work done before practice because it's grueling and I usually crash on the couch in my dorm immediately after. 

Were you able to make connections from this sport?
Coming from a smaller high school, UConn was intimidating and I was genuinely worried about creating connections. However, just like at Wooster, hockey at UConn opened the door to an entire team of people that I'm now extremely close with. Hockey has allowed me to make connections at each level throughout my life and I feel so lucky that I'm able to continue playing the sport I love with new and old friends. Our team can be seen just like any other collegiate club, whether it be academic or athletic, they all operate in the same way. In my opinion clubs and societies in general are the easiest way to make a wealth of connections extremely quickly in a new environment. 


HANNAH BREEN ‘23: BEACH VOLLEYBALL AND DANCE

Hannah Breen played basketball and volleyball here at Wooster. Her height played a key role in her success. But if you watched Hannah, you’d see a smiling face who is always helping her teammates up and staying positive. Here are her experiences playing beach volleyball at the University of Miami.

Why did you choose to pick up this sport?
I actually had no intention of trying out for this team. I ended up trying out for beach volleyball because I went to the club sports team fair looking to get involved. While there, the beach volleyball group called me over because they told me I look like I play volleyball because of my height and had me sign up to try out. Since I enjoyed playing volleyball at Wooster, I decided to try out. I ended up making the A team so that means we get to travel and get coaches. 

Do you enjoy it?
I love it.

Do you see yourself getting competitive in these games? Or just for fun?
I think our team is pretty competitive. We practice 3 times a week for 2 hour practices and have conditioning coaches that come to our Sunday practices.  We just had our first tournament against FIU and it was a lot of fun! Playing in sand with only two people is definitely a lot different from playing indoor volleyball. 

Favorite moments?
One of my favorite moments was going to South Beach for the first time for one of our Sunday practices. We played on the courts there all day against different players and ended the day getting dinner and watching the sunset. 

Were you able to make friends and connections from this experience?
Yes! I love the vibe that this team has and a lot of us hang out outside of practice. 

What about the dance team?
I auditioned because I needed to find a way to keep dancing in college. I love it.

Do you feel that your level of competitiveness is higher or lower than before college?
We do not compete but we have a showcase that we put on in the spring semester. We also danced at the hip hop team’s showcase in the fall. Each class we learn combos or work on technique which is a lot of fun.
 
Favorite moment from the sport? (or past seasons)
One of my favorite moments was our dance team pool party. 

Were you able to make connections from this sport?
Yes, love the dance team girls!

LILLIE SHIPMAN ‘22: LACROSSE

Lillie was a captain for the lacrosse team here at Wooster, her toughness and size separated her from the competition and led to four successful years here in Wooster athletics. She plays lacrosse at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. Here are her experiences.

How much of a difference do you see between Wooster athletics and your college’s club sport? Do you see any similarities?
Since my school is so much bigger, playing lacrosse has been such a great way to meet people I would not have met otherwise. At Wooster, I felt that I knew almost everybody and there were not many people I played with that I didn’t know.  It also has been quite different since I’m in a different country! The rules of lacrosse differ from the US which has been interesting to me. Overall, though, it has been quite similar. Competitive but super fun. 

Favorite moment from the sport? (or past seasons)
My favorite moment of lacrosse ever was beating Harvey my junior year at Wooster. It was incredibly fun and rewarding since we had aspired to beat them for a long time before then. In general, I also definitely enjoyed my youth lacrosse days being able to play all year round in summer tournaments or winter box lacrosse games. 

Do you feel that your level of competitiveness is higher or lower than Wooster
I would say the level of competitiveness is similar, if not a little bit higher. We play in the Scottish BUCS league, which is quite a competitive level of University sport in the UK. It’s definitely way more chill than the NCAA, but it still has been a great way for me to continue lacrosse and be active. The lacrosse season is from around September to April as well, not just the spring, so it definitely keeps me busy. 

Least favorite moment?
My least favorite moment so far was when we had to say goodbye to the semester study abroad students that came from the US.  It’s sad having to say goodbye to them after getting to know them and playing with them. Also another thing is the weather here. It can get really bad in Scotland so that’s been quite a struggle playing in some wet or snowy matches. Just last week I played in terrible snowy conditions and it wasn’t easy!

Is it hard to balance your workload and your sport as well?
In terms of the workload and sports balance, it hasn’t been too bad. Since I have to plan the practices and games and such it definitely takes more time out of my week but I enjoy doing it and it gives me something to do other than schoolwork. 

Were you able to make connections from this sport?
Definitely. I have met so many people from the US, UK, and all over Europe through lacrosse. Some of my best friends play on the team with me. I would definitely recommend anyone in college to join a sport!

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