Chris Ferguson, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor

Transitioning from a high school athletic career to a college athletic career is always difficult. Balancing classes and a social life proves to be difficult at times, and adding in practices and games does not help matters. At the beginning of this semester, seven brave students decided to take on the college athlete lifestyle by joining the women’s lacrosse team.

As if participating on the Berry swim and dive team during the winter season wasn’t enough, junior Brittni Hoover and sophomores Sydney Partlow and Grace Bailey decided to continue their athletic pursuits into the spring. Joining them was senior Mallory Wade, junior Mary Grace Gaskin, freshman McKenzie Owen, and freshman Elizabeth Anne Boling.

Of these new recruits, only Gaskin had previously played lacrosse in high school. Despite their lack of previous experience, their addition to the roster may have very well saved the fate of the season. Between injuries and an already tight roster, the lady Vikings only had 11 healthy players at the beginning of this season. Because women’s lacrosse requires 12 players on the field, Berry would not have been able to field a team this season had these ladies not stepped up.

For Hoover, who also swims for berry, joining the team has definitely been an adjustment. The most influencing thing she has noticed was a change in her mindset towards learning a new sport.

“When it comes to swimming, I’ve set high expectations for myself because I know I should be hitting certain times,” Hoover said. “I get mad at myself when I don’t perform to the ability I know I have, but it’s a whole different ballgame with lacrosse. Because I have never played before, I embraced a mindset of grace for myself. I wouldn’t get mad at myself if I messed up and I’ve been able to play without the weight of having to play perfect all the time.”

As for Gaskin, joining the team has given her the opportunity to rekindle her love for the sport under an amazing new coach.

“Joining the team has allowed me to play a sport I loved so much that I never thought I’d have the opportunity to play again.” Gaskin said. “I’ve developed friendships with people I never considered I’d be friends with that I now consider some of my closest friends who I can go to for anything. The team really is like a family, and it’s given me an overall positive experience that I wouldn’t want to trade for anything.”

By pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones, these Vikings have helped support the team through their 4-7 season so far. The Vikings will take on the Sewanee Tigers for their senior day this Saturday.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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