Senior athletes look back as they head forward
On Nov. 1, senior soccer defender Mo Rockwell had no intention of playing her last game. However, her team was knocked out of the Western Athletic Conference tournament by Seattle University.
Rockwell said she thought she would have had at least another game but it never happened. Now at the end of a journey, she said it is unbelievable how quick her college career ended.
“It comes faster than you expect it to,” Rockwell said. “You think about it your whole career but when it actually happens it’s hard.”
Saying goodbye to what people love most in their lives is never an easy task.
Several senior collegiate athletes at Tech are on the brink of saying goodbye to their college careers.
As the time winds down closer toward the end, Rockwell said she thought more about life after college soccer.
“You kind of get anxious because when high school ends, you know you have college,” Rockwell said. “When college starts coming to an end, there is nothing after that, unless you can get on a professional team.”
Rockwell said now that her college career is over, she won’t be able to practice with the team anymore. She also urged her fellow student athletes to cherish the time they have left in college sports.
“To everyone who is not a senior, don’t take practices and games for granted because it goes by really quick, so enjoy it while it’s still going,” Rockwell said. “When it’s over you don’t get to go to practice anymore, and you sit and wish you practiced or played harder.”
For senior wide receiver Quinton Patton, who said playing in his senior year is a joyful phase of his college career as a football player. Patton said, even the simple moments, grinding through tough workouts during camp with his teammates, is something he will remember.
“It means a lot because everything I invested in my whole life comes down to one season,” Patton said.
Being a senior can be a mental drag on some players, and Patton said he thinks about it every game because he is never certain he will get another opportunity to play. He said he uses this to motivate him in playing every game like the last.
“You always have that in the back of your head, like what am I going to do after my senior year?” Patton said.
Patton may be one of the fortunate seniors to make it to the professional stage, but he said his current focus is to help the Bulldogs to the last second of the last game he plays. Patton said the thought of being considered for the National Football League is somewhat comforting, knowing he will have a chance to continue to play football.
“It gives me a lot more confidence because I know I can work toward something else beyond college football,” Patton said. “Most people don’t make it to college football, but to make it to college and become a senior out there playing, that is something special,” Patton said.
Senior volleyball player Stephany Salas said she already knew this season would be her last. However, coming out of summer then heading into this volleyball season, she said it began to seem more real as she played her last two home games.
“It’s sad because I’m not going to be able to play anymore in college,” Salas said. “Hopefully if I keep developing myself and find opportunities to play professionally, it would be great.”
While some athletes may be afraid of never playing sports after college, Salas said she is not afraid. She said she gains equal amounts of pleasure in teaching and sharing volleyball with others.
“I’m not scared of not being able to play competitions,” Salas said. “I know I’m going to be there as a coach and teach people to play volleyball.”
Like many other senior college athletes, Salas said though she is excited to move on from college, apart of her will miss playing on the collegiate level. Not many adjectives could adequately describe her love for volleyball, as she played with a broken bone in her hand in her senior year.
“Volleyball means everything to me, it is my life,” Salas said. “I love volleyball and my family more than everything else.”
All three of the seniors want to do something beyond just college sports and be successful in their future endeavors.
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