Maddie Lee

Maddie's roster picture.

Maddie was born and raised on Long Island in Massapequa, New York. She attended and played lacrosse for Massapequa High School. Maddie is a senior on the SUNY Geneseo varsity women’s lacrosse team and is currently double majoring in math and adolescence education with minors in communication and psychology. Maddie plans to graduate in fall 2019.

Maddie with her Coach.

Maddie and her father went through the recruiting process together when she was in high school. They emailed coaches and visited schools together during her summer lacrosse tournaments. Maddie had originally wanted to go D1 because she thought it would legitimize her skills and abilities, as well as provide the satisfaction of playing at the highest level possible. She concentrated on schools with recognizable names. As she visited schools like James Madison, Brown, and Villanova, she began to realize that they failed to mention the importance of personal growth — it was all about lacrosse and finding time for school in between lifts and practices. Maddie saw this as a red flag. At the same time, her father wanted her to explore SUNY schools. Her best friend committed to SUNY Binghamton, but Maddie’s family wanted her to visit SUNY Geneseo, and she fell in love with the campus. When as a tenth-grader she walked into the coach’s office unannounced, the coach made time for her, no questions asked. From then on, she was sold on Geneseo and its lacrosse program. Maddie always compared other school visits against Geneseo, and she knew it was the place for her. Coach and Maddie talked from tenth grade on, and by the time she had her overnight visit during her senior year of high school, she was already committed. She knew she had made the right decision when she watched a practice and saw girls laughing, wearing funny shirts, and having fun together. Lacrosse was something Maddie enjoyed doing, but she knew that it wasn’t a job and didn’t have to be her whole life. Coach also promised that she could study abroad and would become a better student-athlete, not just a lacrosse player. The school made sense financially for her, and she knew a few people from high school who played sports at Geneseo and loved it. It was no longer about the big name of a school but about where Maddie felt most at home and most welcomed.

Maddie with her coach and the other seniors.

Maddie’s typical day as a student-athlete is composed of classes and studying in the morning. She prefers morning study because that’s when she believes her “head is the clearest, and it’s the best way to start a productive day.” On Tuesdays and Thursdays, her team lifts at 7 a.m., so those days she goes right from lift to class. They have practice in the afternoon, but she arrives about an hour early to get physical treatment. Practices typically last two hours, but they get shorter once the team moves into the season. After practice, Maddie has some personal time for things like showering, eating, and finishing up her work for the night. She finds that the combination of academics and athletics gives her a routine, and she typically does well in school when she has a set schedule, compared to when she is out of season. Maddie sometimes wishes she had more time to do her work, but she always manages to get it done.

Maddie playing lacrosse.

Maddie loves the small-school feel of SUNY Geneseo. She said, “Everyone knows each other, so you don’t feel like just another name. This allows you to get to know your professors and fellow classmates as well as faculty in the athletic department and other teams. Geneseo feels like a family.”

Team huddle.

Maddie believes her team culture is very accepting. They have girls from different backgrounds with different personality types and different interests; however, when they are together (which is all the time) that all seems to go away. Their culture allows them to feel comfortable with each other and be themselves without judgment. While they may act silly and are extremely close socially, they are also very competitive. Their team takes “friendly” competition to another level. They get the most out of each other by challenging each other to competitions in practice. Maddie believes that they have a good balance between being a social group and being intense competitors. Maddie loves her coach. She can go to her for anything and knows she will always be there for her. She is like a “mom away from home.” Their practices typically start with a dynamic warm-up and some sort of stick work. Then they will conduct a few skill-based drills and conclude with some sort of competitive scrimmage. The coach typically likes to stop and explain concepts and talk things out so the team understands her expectations. They listen to music during warm-ups to get in a good mental state, leave other stressors off the field, and focus on lacrosse. Sometimes their coach mixes up their practice plans and has them do a lifting circuit or spin.

Maddie Scores!

Maddie could not be happier that she chose Geneseo.  Balancing lacrosse and her rigorous academics has made her into a more mature and well-balanced person. While school and lacrosse are extremely challenging, she enjoys the rewarding feeling after getting a good grade or playing well. Maddie has learned to ask her professors or coach for help when it is needed. She has developed a strong work ethic she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Her favorite part about being on a team at Geneseo is the feeling that she has a second family. There are always 26 girls she can count on to have her back no matter what.

Maddie with her family along with the other seniors and their families.

Maddie’s recommendations to future student-athletes: “Don’t take your resources for granted. There are so many people who are there to help you, whether in academics, athletics, or your own personal health. Being a student-athlete means you are never alone, so never take that for granted.”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Liam Dole

Liam Dole

Liam was born and raised in Delmar, New York, roughly five minutes from Albany. He attended Bethlehem Central High School where he played varsity soccer and basketball all four years, including one season of track and field his freshman year. Liam is currently a 21-year-old junior communication major planning to graduate in spring 2020.

Liam playing soccer.

Liam chose SUNY Geneseo for its academic promises, but he was very grateful to get a chance to play soccer here. He knew he wanted to go to a school away from home, but not too far. Geneseo was about a four-hour drive from Albany, which he thought was the perfect distance. Liam visited Geneseo with his friend in September of his senior year and fell in love with the campus. The “community feels” along with the campus size were perfect for Liam.

Liam making save.

Liam’s typical day as a student-athlete is a busy one, but one that he loves. His day varies depending on whether or not he’s in his soccer season. During the fall soccer season, he typically spends two to four hours with athletics, including routine practices, personal workouts, film sessions, and games. His schedule in-season is demanding, so most of his other time is allocated to academics. Although being a student-athlete is demanding, finding the right balance between both academics and athletics is very achievable. Liam said, “Once you find the right balance between the two, it all becomes much easier to manage, which allows time for my personal life.”

Team huddle.

The soccer team’s overall culture has improved considerably lately. During this past season, everyone bought into what the team was trying to accomplish. Members of the team get along with one another, which is vital to a good and functioning team. Liam gets along with his teammates perfectly. He is friends with all of them off and on the field; they support each other and hold each other accountable. Liam feels as if he has a fantastic relationship with his coach as well. He makes himself available to talk about anything, soccer-related or not. Because of his approachability, Liam feels comfortable talking to him about anything. Their team practices are productive and efficient, varying throughout the season depending on the game schedule. The night before and the day after a game, their practices are typically lighter. If a practice falls on a day where they do not have a scheduled contest the next day, they have a heavier practice.

Liam punts the ball away.

Overall, Liam is very satisfied with his decision to attend Geneseo and he’s grateful for that. He said, “First and foremost, the academics are challenging and rigorous, and because of this I truly feel as if I have grown a lot as a student since enrolling here.” Liam feels very lucky to get the opportunity to be an athlete and represent SUNY Geneseo on the field. Being a student-athlete at Geneseo is challenging but rewarding. Liam’s favorite part about it is the social structure it has given him and how it has forced him to find a perfect balance between academics, athletics, and his personal life.

Liam is currentlystudying abroad in Florence, Italy, . Here is a short clip of his experiences studying abroad as he walks to his class.

To hear from Liam on his experience abroad watch this short video.

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY THE STUDENT-ATHLETE, FOR THE STUDENT-ATHLETE, ABOUT THE STUDENT-ATHLETE

Jordan Silver

Jordan Silver

Jordan was born and raised in Penfield, New York, and her love for sports started as she competed for her varsity volleyball and track and field teams. Jordan was a junior in high school when she received her first recruitment letter from SUNY Geneseo. She was excited about this opportunity because the college was the perfect distance for her to have freedom as well as day trips home if she needed them. When she visited the campus after talking with Coach Popovici, it immediately felt like the perfect fit — “like home.”

Continue reading “Jordan Silver”

Tyler Wetzel

Tyler's roster picture.

Tyler was born and raised in Fairport, New York, just 40 minutes north of  Geneseo. He attended Fairport High School and played varsity lacrosse. He is now a 20-year-old junior on the SUNY Geneseo men’s varsity lacrosse team looking to graduate in May 2020 with a major in business administration and a minor in communication.

Tyler playing lacrosse.

Tyler was recruited to SUNY Geneseo, but he had many other reasons to why he chose the College, including the excellent academics and lacrosse program. Tyler’s mother, grandma, and cousin also attended Geneseo, along with a lot of his hometown friends. Everyone he knew who attended Geneseo said that it was a great experience. As he listened to others’ experiences, he knew that Geneseo would give him the best balance of academics, athletics, and social life. Tyler also came on an overnight visit that solidified his decision to attend. During his visit, the lacrosse team was awesome, and he said it didn’t compare to any of the other teams he had been part of.

Tyler making a save!

Tyler’s typical day as a student-athlete is both tedious and rigorous, as most are. He usually has class all morning, and when he doesn’t, he’s doing homework. After classes are done for the day, he will go to the trainers if he has an injury or wants to warm up for practice. After practice, the lacrosse team sometimes lifts; when they don’t, Tyler heads home to eat dinner and study. Not every day is the same, but Tyler typically spends six hours a day on athletics and three to five hours on academics outside of his classes. When he was a freshman, he said it was “challenging to balance academics, athletics, and social life.” Over the years, he has found it a lot easier to manage his time and find a healthy balance of academics and athletics, which allows him to continue to succeed on and off the field.

Tyler playing lacrosse.

Tyler loves the small, close-knit community of Geneseo and how close it is to home. He said, “It is a small school but it gives you a family feels because you know a lot of the people around the campus. A lot of the sports teams and Greek organizations interact, so you get to know so many different people.” Tyler believes that SUNY Geneseo has challenging academics, but it prepares him for post-graduation and future career endeavors. The Geneseo family has great alumni who are always willing to network with student-athletes, which is very helpful for future internships and job opportunities.

Team huddle.

Tyler says the men’s lacrosse team culture resembles a tight-knit group. They are always together outside of practice because they all have classes together or live together. The team is always willing to help each other out, whether in academics or athletics. Tyler has a great relationship with his coach. The coach stresses a good line of communication between the coaches and players. They have tough and competitive practices where they all strive to push each other whenever they are on the field together.

Tyler making a save!

Tyler’s recommendations to future student-athletes: “Academics are tough — you need to stay on top of your work. Even though it’s tough, you’re going to have the best time of your life at SUNY Geneseo.” Tyler believes the best part of being a student-athlete is being on a team with a great team culture where everyone is having a good time together.

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Taylor Clar

Taylor's roster picture

Taylor was born and raised in Scottsville, New York, a small suburb of Rochester, where she attended Wheatland-Chili Central High and Middle Schools. She played multiple sports throughout middle and high school — soccer, basketball, and track and field — and now is a member of the SUNY Geneseo varsity women’s soccer team. Taylor is an accounting major with a finance minor and plans to graduate in May 2020 with 150 credit hours needed to sit for her CPA exam. 

Taylor playing soccer.

Taylor knew that SUNY Geneseo was an amazing school from both academic and social aspects because her father and mother attended and her older brother played on the men’s soccer team for five years. The main reason she chose Geneseo was because of its successful sports programs. This was the best school on her list where she could play more than one sport, and Taylor came into her freshman year hoping to play soccer and basketball or play soccer and run track. She knew Geneseo was going to be the best fit for her because she wanted to stay local and relatively small, which is what she was accustomed to at Wheatland-Chili. She was recruited by Coach Wiley in high school and was lucky enough to attend multiple Geneseo games throughout high school as well as experience an amazing overnight visit her senior year. The girls on that team really played a huge part in her decision as they were all some of the nicest and funniest people she’s ever met.

Taylor playing soccer.

Taylor’s typical day as a student-athlete is full of balancing her time between athletics and academics. During a season, which is primarily the entire fall semester, she allocates the majority of her time to athletics. She suffered a very serious injury in her junior year of high school when she fractured her spine during a soccer game. This injury will never fully heal because of the nature of the fracture, and because of that, Taylor spends upwards of six hours a week in the training room during the season. On top of that, she has hour-and-a-half practices and sometimes hour-long film sessions, alongside time for lifting. She normally spends about four to five hours a day during a season dedicated to soccer. Her weekends are mainly game days, so those two days are heavily dedicated to athletics. That being said, Taylor has never had a serious problem balancing her time with academics. Their coach is very conscious about scheduling practices around the majority of the team’s classes. Taylor’s afternoons are all about soccer, and she has the entire morning and evening to focus on attending classes, studying, and completing homework. Taylor said, “During the season, it is definitely a little harder to do more of the personal things I enjoy, but I have learned to adjust and work around obligations to enjoy some personal time.” Her freshman year felt like a big adjustment from high school because she did not have the same set schedule every day. By her junior year, she had developed her own daily schedule that accommodates for athletics, academics, and personal time.

Taylor with her teammate.

Taylor loves many things about Geneseo. Her favorite thing is actually the small size of the school. Similar to her hometown and high school, Taylor knows so many people on campus. All the sports teams are very close, and she would describe her team as her best friends. She also has met some of her closest friends from other sports teams, like women’s basketball and volleyball. “All the sports teams support each other by attending everyone’s competitions, which I really enjoy. It makes me feel like the campus actually supports and cares about our team and creates a close-knit community.” By her sophomore year, she was able to meet many other accounting majors, and they now are in similar classes. Taylor believes it’s important to know every day she is surrounded by great people on campus. Some friends who attend big schools say they have a small group of friends and don’t have much to do around campus besides go to classes and go home. Having a large group of friends that is very close on a small campus gave Taylor more opportunity to have a social life. She, of course, is in love with her team. She was so close with all her high school teammates because the same girls played in all the same sports and attended all the same classes. Therefore, she was a little nervous that she would never be able to make those same connections in her four years at Geneseo. Taylor said, “I never been more wrong in my life. Every single girl on the Geneseo women’s soccer team can back me up when I say that my teammates are the closest thing to a second family we have ever known.” Taylor loves stepping onto the field and playing with them almost as much as she loves hanging out with them off the field. They are comprised of some of the best people she’s ever known, and to summarize one of their team’s core values, it is because of the “beauty of the end.” Taylor stated, “They are great soccer players AND great students AND great friends AND most importantly great people.”

Post goal celebration.

Taylor believes that her team has a very good team culture. They know how to turn off outside distractions during practices and games and work hard for one another. More importantly, they know how to set aside soccer when they are off the field. Taylor would say she gets along very well with her teammates and believes everyone gets along well. The upperclassmen all live together every year because of how close they become. “They are really good from Day One explaining that it does not matter how old you are or how long you have been on the team, we are all there for each other every day no matter what.” Whether on the field or off, the team is close with athletes from every class year. Taylor thinks this closeness allows for better team chemistry and respect on the field. They are comfortable with each other and respect each other; they hold each other accountable for mistakes or lack of effort on the field. This is the first team she has been part of where your voice is heard, no matter if you’re a freshman or a senior. Taylor would say she has a very good relationship with her coach. Even before she came to SUNY Geneseo, the two got along very well, and he came to many of her high school competitions. Taylor knows she can talk to him about anything, sports-related or not. The relationship and trust between herself, her teammates, and the coaching staff make her productive and efficient during team practices. No matter how small the detail is, their coach trusts them to pay attention so they can succeed on their own during games.

Taylor with her teammates.

Taylor is very satisfied with her decision to attend SUNY Geneseo. Both the academics and the athletics are challenging in a way that has made her work hard, but not so hard that it’s impossible to succeed. Geneseo has proven time and time again in both areas that hard work pays off if you are persistent and passionate about what you are doing. Taylor believes it has been a privilege playing soccer and getting close with other accounting majors as well, as their experiences and advice have become beneficial to the student she is today.

Taylor with her teammates.

Taylor’s most important recommendation to future student-athletes: “Learn how to manage time as quickly as you can. It is hard coming to college with only a few classes a day and no parents to tell you what or when to eat and do homework. The most important thing I have learned is how to try and find a routine similar to one that I had when I was younger. That way it is easier to manage all your obligations. This means to practice at the same time, and if they don’t have practice, going to the gym at that time to stay active, attending all your classes, and eating around the same time every day.” These little steps seem like obvious habits people fall into, but Taylor has learned that if you don’t develop a routine when you get to school, it’s easy to get sucked into the college lifestyle of sleeping all day and staying up all night. Taylor’s last recommendation: “Meet as many people as you can as early as you can. Whether it be classmates, fellow athletes, or Greek life students, meeting new people expands not only your social life but also your academic life.”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Domenica Piccoli

Domenica Piccoli

Domenica was born and raised on Long Island in East Northport, New York. She attended John Glenn High School where she played soccer in the fall and competed in track and field in the spring. At SUNY Geneseo, she continued her athletic career playing varsity soccer. Domenica is currently a 20-year-old junior studying childhood and special education with a concentration in English. She plans on graduating in spring 2020.

Domenica heading the ball.

Domenica’s response to “Why Geneseo?” was “WHY NOT? Overall the school is well known for its exceptional academics, which was a major part of my decision to attend.” As an athlete, being recruited and having the opportunity to represent the school playing soccer influenced her decision. She knew a few friends who attended Geneseo and thought highly of the school, campus, and the community. The school is six to seven hours away from Long Island.  At first, adjusting to that distance from home was a little difficult, as adjusting to college life is for most people. But the process is self-reflecting and fun and growing to love it here came quickly.

Domenica playing soccer.

A typical day for the women’s soccer team and a student-athlete is definitely a busy one. Domenica said, “During the season we have practice two to three hours a day, and it could be more if we need special treatment or training for a particular injury or just want to keep healthy.” Sometimes Domenica’s days consist of running from class to practice or practice to class or even both, which becomes an exhausting day. As a student-athlete would know, during the season is no time to be lazy or even say “I’ll do that later.” Any free time during the day consists of doing homework for the week. With games on the weekend, Domenica would like to believe downtime would allow for doing some homework. However, getting work done on away trips or game days is not as easy as she thought it would be. Domenica said that managing time between academics, athletics, and personal life is sometimes hard and sometimes easy. Some weeks are more overwhelming than others, and added stressors like tests or important games played a role in how she personally dealt with her weeks. Overall, everything that needs to get done does, and staying on a set schedule has really helped her. Some people can just wing it, but Domenica said planning out her days and weeks, setting goals to get things done, and sticking to it has really been a big factor in managing her athletic, academic, and personal time.

Goal celebration.

Domenica loves the closeness and togetherness of SUNY Geneseo, not only the school but the community as well. Most importantly, she admires all the friendships she has made with her teammates, peers, and other organizations. She calls her team culture “awesome.” They all have so much fun playing the sport they love. Sometimes people dread practice, but they always find a way to have a good time. The laughs they share at practice make being part of the team enjoyable. Their coach has been fantastic as well; his main thing is “how the little things matter most, and when you think about it, they do!” Both Coach Wiley and Coach Faro have helped Domenica as a player, as well as their team, reach their full potential each year. She feels like she can go talk to her coach about anything; he has an open-door policy and encourages them to come chat or just stop by if they are passing his office. Their team practices are a mixture of tough and fun. Domenica believes their coach does a good job of knowing when they need a bit of a break by playing a fun game. The team members all try and be the best they can be and keep their focus on the big picture.

Domenica embracing her teammate.

Domenica is very satisfied with her decision to attend Geneseo. The friendships she has made with her teammates are very meaningful to her. Her favorite part about being on a team at Geneseo is definitely the bond she shares with her teammates. Domenica said, “Our season is just filled with so much fun, from practices to team bonding, and even away weekend experiences all are great times that leave everlasting memories. The academics at Geneseo are definitely challenging at times. However, staying on top of your studies is very important and with the right mindset is very doable. The athletics are definitely challenging as well!” Domenica remembers coming in as a freshman and seeing older and more mature girls defending her and thinking, “Wow, I am going to get destroyed!” It was definitely intimidating as the physical aspect didn’t compare to how it was throughout high school. Domenica said, “Athletics being challenging for me is what makes it fun!” She is very competitive and having that mindset makes the game fun for her.

Domenica scores!

Domenica’s recommendation to future student-athletes: “Take it in! I know everyone says this, but your time here truly goes by quick, so make every game, every practice, and every minute count!”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Mary Bartkus

Mary Bartkus

Mary was born on Long Island but was raised in Valatie, New York, right outside of Albany. Mary attended Ichabod Crane High School where she played varsity volleyball; she now plays on the SUNY Geneseo women’s volleyball team. Mary is a 19-year-old sophomore currently majoring in biochemistry and expecting to graduate in 2021.

Mary setting the ball.

Mary began looking at SUNY Geneseo as a junior in high school on her way to a volleyball tournament in Rochester. She and her parents were talking about the benefits of SUNY schools, and her parents encouraged her to reach out to the volleyball coach. Mary had already started her recruiting process and had other ideas about where she wanted to go. Everything changed when she received an email reply from the women’s volleyball coach at Geneseo saying she would be attending the same tournament that Mary was playing in that weekend. From there it was a normal recruiting process. Mary came to campus for a tour and went to a recruitment camp, and the coach showed a lot of interest in her. Mary came to watch the team practice in the preseason of August 2016, before beginning her senior year of high school. She was nervous to meet the team and spend time with them, but they made her feel right at home. The way the team interacted was very similar to the way her past and most successful teams had been. There was a sense of familiarity and home. Watching their practice, she felt excitement in knowing the way practices were run. Mary talked with the coach at the time and committed that day. She was positive nowhere else was a better fit for her. She had never known anyone who attended Geneseo before she committed, but every person she had spoken to had said something like “I know someone who went there and absolutely loved it.” It was exciting to gain the support of her family, friends, and community. Mary applied for an early decision during her senior year. She still remembers waiting three months for December 15, the early decision acceptance date that year. Mary said, “It sounds cheesy, but it was one of the most memorable days of that year for me.”

Team celebration.

Mary’s typical day as a student-athlete generally starts pretty early. Mary said, “I’m the type of person who needs a good breakfast in order to function for the rest of the day. In season, my team generally has morning classes in order to free up space in the afternoon for practice and for traveling to games.” So a typical morning for Mary starts at around 7:45 a.m. at Starbucks for coffee and breakfast before her morning classes. In between classes, she will be in the library with the rest of her teammates. She said, “It’s a great place for us to get work done during the day and be able to catch up with each other’s lives.” By the afternoon you can catch her at practice or the gym. Finally, she will grab dinner, shower, and either study at her dorm, make her way to the library again, or just hang out with her suitemates.

Mary her embracing teammates.

The volleyball team is basically a group of sisters. They’ve all gotten to know each other well and definitely prioritize their relationships because they know it makes them better on the court. They have a unique group of people, but it definitely is a big part of their team dynamic. Their coach cares about them as players but even more as people. She prioritizes their education and all the other aspects of their lives. The coach is dedicated to making the program the best it can be, but she really wants everyone who comes out of the program to be the best people they can be. Mary said, “Practices are intense and fun.” They have a whiteboard listing everything they are doing in practice for the day. It’s exciting to see what is scheduled for practice that day, but the team then knows if they’ll have a challenging drill or conditioning coming up later in practice. It allows everyone on the team to stay focused at that moment, rather than worrying about what could be coming up next. Before practices and games, they’ll write down something positive from the day on a piece of paper and something negative on a different one. They throw away the negative and keep the good to read aloud to the team. On game day, they keep the positive notes in their socks during the whole game.

Mary pregame with teammates.

Mary is glad she chose to come to Geneseo. “The academics are definitely challenging, but learning about new things in class is exciting. Athletics are definitely competitive. It’s a great balance here if you are looking for a good Division III program that allows you to put academics first. The best part about being on a team at Geneseo is being able to meet new people and relate to teammates and other athletes about our similar college experiences.”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Lydia Volpe

Lydia Volpe

Lydia was born and raised in Nassau County on Long Island in Lattingtown, New York. She attended Locust Valley High School, where she was a three-sport and three-season varsity athlete. Lydia played basketball, lacrosse, and filed hockey (her personal favorite). Lydia is a 21-year-old senior who majors in communication with a minor in environmental studies.

Lydia playing field hockey

Lydia chose Geneseo because it checked off all the boxes she had when looking for a college. She said, “Geneseo is a great school academically, which gave me a number of options freshman year because I was undeclared. As well as the great academics, there were outstanding athletics.” Lydia had no relatives who attended SUNY Geneseo, but some had attended other SUNY schools and were student-athletes as well. Her recruitment was a big reason for her attending Geneseo, but more importantly, she wanted to study abroad for a semester, and Geneseo was one of the few colleges that encouraged student-athletes to do so. Lydia was able to study abroad the spring of her junior year and traveled to Florence, Italy, for the semester.

Lydia playing field hockey.

During field hockey season, a typical day for Lydia would be going to class in the morning, making sure all her work was completed. If her class schedule came close to practice times, she would go directly to practice without going home. During the day she would make sure her body was “properly fueled” to perform successfully at practice. Practice typically ranged from one to two hours on the field, though the team would commit more time by arriving early to prepare and staying later to stretch and break down equipment. If they had team activities, they would stay later, but otherwise, the majority of the team would head home to shower, eat dinner, and go to the library to do their school work. Lydia said the toughest thing coming in as a freshman was “managing athletics, academics, and personal life. But once I was able to find a routine, it became easier and easier and I was able to successfully manage all three aspects of my life. It is important to not procrastinate school work so you are not scrambling at the last second.”

Lydia with her team.

Lydia loves Geneseo for the amazing people it has brought into her life. The team became her second family, and as a freshman, she felt immediately welcomed into their team culture and Geneseo community. She stated, “The campus atmosphere is very inviting, and everyone was and still is very friendly after four years of meeting new people.” Lydia’s team is very close and loves spending time on and off the field with each other. They bond by working hard at practice, and they have all created long-lasting relationships with one another. Their coach for the first three years and the new coach were both extremely approachable and helpful regarding anything to do with field hockey or life in general. They both often checked in with the team multiple times a season to see how they were doing athletically, academically, and socially, demonstrating the family culture the team and the community portrayed.

Lydia and the other seniors and their families.

Lydia is extremely satisfied with her decision to attend Geneseo. She found the perfect balance between academics, athletics, and social life. Lydia said, “The coursework at Geneseo can be daunting at times, but there are so many resources to use for help, including your professors, the library, tutors, and more.” The athletics in the SUNYAC conference brought a solid group of teams to compete and challenge each other. One of Lydia’s fondest memories is winning the SUNYAC Championship title her sophomore year.

Lydia on senior day with her parents.

Lydia’s message to the future student-athletes of SUNY Geneseo: “Take it all in and savor every moment on and off the field … it goes fast! Before you know it, you will be graduating and finishing your last season of playing a sport you have loved for years. But make sure to stay ahead on your studies — since the student does come before athlete — and make sure to reach out for help if you are struggling with balancing it all. Having a great attitude and mindset will help you every day to push yourself to be the best you can be.”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Sean Avery

Seans player profile picture

Sean was born in Greenburgh, New York, and moved in ninth grade to New Rochelle, New York. He attended New Rochelle High School where he played varsity basketball and has been a four-year student-athlete at SUNY Geneseo. He is a 21-year-old senior communication major in the personal and professional track.

Sean playing basketball

Sean chose Geneseo because he wanted to play college basketball as well as receive an outstanding education. Geneseo had the best combination of rigorous academics and competitive athletics. Sean’s family, unfortunately, did not attend Geneseo. What made Geneseo a good fit for him was how the close-knit the community gave him a sense of “home feeling.” Sean said, “Everyone can attest to enjoying the friendly environment, outstanding valley views, and how seriously athletics and academics are taken by the students and the community.” Geneseo is five hours away from New Rochelle. This played a critical role in Sean’s decision because he did not want to be too close to or too far from home. He liked the option of being close to home but far away enough to live his life and play college basketball while attending a highly touted school.

Sean Shooting.

Sean has a typical day as student-athlete. “It is a very long and tedious process of eating meals from home or campus, classes all day, along with some homework in between, rehabbing before practice, practicing, rehabbing after practice, eating dinner, then doing more homework, and then finally some personal time at the end of the day.” Although this may seem like there isn’t enough time in his schedule to balance academics, athletics, and personal life, Sean believes being a student-athlete forced him to have better time-management skills in order to excel in academics, athletics, and his personal life.

Sean at the Riviera theater
Photo Provided

Sean loves a lot of things about Geneseo: the community, the kindness, the interesting classes and major choices, the breadth of the general education requirements, the vast options of extracurricular activities, the social life, the variety of athletic events, the care and knowledge of the trainers, the closeness and openness of the faculty to the students, and the views of the Genesee Valley.

Sean and senior teammates on senior night

“The men’s basketball team culture is amazing,” said Sean. The team likes to spend a lot of time together and are always trying to make each other laugh. They love to have a good time. Sean said, “We know that we could ask anything of one another and without any doubt, they will come through for us. Playing on a team together at SUNY Geneseo brought us together more than any other team I’ve played on.” He found that was especially true in Geneseo over intercession, when almost no one is at school except a few teams. Sean’s relationship with his coaches and teammates is extremely strong. He knows he can count on them for anything and vice versa. He feels that his coach truly cares about him and everyone on the team; he’s essentially the “father” of all the students who decide to come to Geneseo instead of staying home with their families.

Sean catching a pass against Oswego

Sean is extremely satisfied with his decision to enroll in SUNY Geneseo. The academics here are a lot harder than he thought they would be simply because he didn’t know about Geneseo before he was recruited. Sean thinks that Geneseo basketball is overall competitive and fast-paced than high school basketball. His favorite part about being on a team are the lifelong memories and brotherhood that you get from playing on a team in college.

Sean scoring a basket versus Oswego

Sean’s recommendations to future student-athletes at SUNY Geneseo: “Enjoy every second of it. Even the moment where you don’t want to go to practice or don’t want to run. It will all be over before you know it, so just cherish the now. Also create a very strong relationship with your coaches and community, not only for the time that you play here but also for after. More times than not the coach will have more connections than you can think of, and it’s a good idea to have someone of that caliber in your corner to vouch for you when the time comes.”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES

Alyssa Lesakowski

Alyssa Lesakowski

Alyssa was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where she attended Nardin Academy and played varsity basketball. She is now a senior at SUNY Geneseo playing for the women’s varsity basketball team and studying business administration with a biology minor. She plans to pursue a career in medical sales.

Alyssa with the other senior on faculty recognition night.

Alyssa has fallen in love with Geneseo for many reasons. In her college searches, she was looking for a school that had a great balance of academics and athletics. She wanted to be part of a competitive and dedicated sports team, but she also wanted to be challenged in the classroom and receive the best education possible. Alyssa said, “There are not a lot of schools that can compare to Geneseo when it comes to both athletics and academics.” She has believed from the first time she came to campus that it was the place for her, and this has held true throughout her four years.

Alyssa with her family on Senior night.

On Alyssa’s first trip to Geneseo, she fell in love with the campus and community around it. SUNY Geneseo has roughly 5,000 students, which Alyssa found appealing as she wanted to feel that close-knit community. As a senior, she has built strong relationships with students from different sports teams and organizations, but she seems to see a new face every day and has loved how the campus overlooked the valley of Geneseo. Additionally, “Geneseo is close enough for me to go home occasionally for a quick visit, but I am far enough away to feel independent.”

Getting instruction from Coach

Before attending Geneseo, Alyssa’s coach connected her to Buffalo natives on the basketball team. It was extremely helpful for her to meet teammates before arriving on campus in the fall. SUNY Geneseo’s recruitment process was another reason for her decision to attend. Alyssa’s coach demonstrated extreme dedication in attending multiple sporting events of hers during her senior year. She visited Geneseo for a campus tour with her dad. Alyssa said, “Coach made sure to expose me to the athletic department by sitting in on practice and spending time with the team after.”

Alyssa in action

Basketball’s season tends to go from mid-October until March. On a typical day, Alyssa attends her classes in the morning and then heads to practice, where she will spend two to three hours in the gym. The basketball team conducts strength training in the varsity weight room about three days a week; watches film on themselves and opponents two or three days a week; and practices on court every day for about two hours. After practice, Alyssa usually spends a few hours on her academics in the library, depending on her workload that week. When it comes to balancing academics, athletics, and her social life, she finds that during her season she has a more organized and productive schedule. Alyssa said, “I tend to plan my academic assignments around my practice times, which allows me to complete assignments and set time aside to study for tests and quizzes.” Between academics and athletics, some might believe that a student-athlete’s personal life is difficult to balance. This does not seem to be the case at SUNY Geneseo because many student-athletes have similar goals and are very supportive of each other. Alyssa loves Geneseo because of the support her team receives from many other sports teams on campus. Attending a basketball game, you are likely to see at least four other sports teams in the stands. Student-athletes tend to build friendships with other teams through common classes and out-of-season activities.

Alyssa celebrating with her teammates.

Alyssa loves the balance of athletics, academics, and social life that SUNY Geneseo brings to her. “As Division III athletes, we have the independence to focus on ourselves aside from our sports,” she said. Coaches and staff really care about their players off the court and provide them with the resources they need to succeed in the classroom and post-graduation. Geneseo has student-athlete tutors available for almost every class. Additionally, Alyssa loves Geneseo’s close connections with its alumni. Throughout her four years, she has created friendships and relationships with other student-athletes that she believes will benefit her after graduation. Alyssa said, “Networking relationships with alumni have allowed us to feel prepared for life after Geneseo.” She believes the basketball team culture is the reason for their success throughout her four years. Being a small team of 12 to 15 girls each season, they can truly get to know and respect each other for who they are as individuals. Their work in the community, like leaf raking and passing out water during annual track competitions and fundraisers, has brought the community to a lot of the basketball games. They pride themselves on the relationships they’ve built with each other and the community around them.

Alyssa with the other seniors and their families on senior night along with their coach.

Additionally, the basketball team has a great relationship with their coach. Although this year was Coach Polosky’s first year as head coach, she has been an important part of SUNY Geneseo’s program for many years as an assistant coach and former student-athlete. The coach’s previous experience as a student-athlete has led each player to develop a close bond with her. Alyssa said, “Our relationship with her is more than just basketball; Coach Polosky truly cares about our success in academics and shaping us into the leaders we need to be in our careers.” Alyssa has gone to her for advice on courses, post-graduation jobs, and even babysitting jobs around town. When it comes to practice, the team and coaching staff are good at balancing focus and fun. Getting through conditioning drills with a lot of focused energy has led to successful preparation against their opponents. Alyssa looks forward to going to practice because it’s a time to set aside everything happening off the court and do something she loves for a few hours.

Team huddle

Alyssa is more than satisfied with her decision to attend SUNY Geneseo. The College has done more than just prepare her for a career in the real world, and Alyssa vallues the friendships and memories she’s made here. “Academics were very rigorous and challenging for me, which was the push I needed in my undergraduate years,” she said. Being a student-athlete has taught her many skills, especially time management and leadership. Alyssa’s favorite part of being on a team at Geneseo is the memories she made with friends that will last a lifetime.

Alyssa going up for a shot.

Alyssa would recommend that future student-athletes utilize the sources they are given. “Sometimes it is challenging to adjust to the college lifestyle and properly balance what you need, and it is okay to ask for help. Coaches want their athletes to do well in more than just the sport they play in. There are so many resources like tutoring and mentorships that would be great to get involved in. Most importantly, I would also recommend to have fun and live in the present!”

Written by Anthony Marra ’19 (communication) and Andrew Romano ’20 (communication; geography minor)

BY STUDENT-ATHLETES, FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES, ABOUT STUDENT-ATHLETES