AARON SKUBBY, News Editor—The seniors haven’t given up.
When the North Coast Athletic Council announced the suspension of athletics for the remainder of 2020, it seemed that Denison’s senior athletes would be losing out on the highlight of their college athletic career. But in spite of the circumstances, Denison’s seniors are determined to make the most out of their final year.
It’s no secret that sports play a key role in the lives of student athletes at Denison. As a school that prides itself on both academic and athletic achievement, Denison University is home to 24 varsity teams that have won over 150 conference championships combined.
Senior track and field athlete Molly Smith ‘21 highlighted what her sport means to her: “Track and running in general mean a lot to me,” she said. “Running keeps me sane and helps me relieve stress after a long day of classes. Track is a great sport because you have the team aspect but you’re also constantly competing against yourself to improve your times.”
Though the track season has been cancelled, Smith is able to continue running and connecting with her teammates by running with the cross country team this fall. “My senior year marks the final chapter of college, so I’m really just trying to focus on having fun and becoming closer with my teammates,” she explained.
Tennis player and fellow senior Natalie Overby ‘21 also talked about the importance of her sport and relationship with her teammates. “I absolutely love tennis and will hopefully play for the rest of my life,” she said. “Tennis has always been a place for me to relieve stress and just enjoy the game and being active. On campus, my team is really like my family and I can’t imagine my college experience without them.”
The senior season of a sport is undeniably an important milestone for any college athlete.
“The significance of the senior season is that you’ve invested the previous three years watching, learning, and growing into the position that you find yourself in as a senior,” said swimmer Dayen Wilson ‘21.
For many athletes, their senior season could possibly be one of their last chances to participate at a highly organized level, but that does not mean that all is lost.
Several of Denison’s seniors mentioned what they “We’ve all worked really hard to build a strong foundation and hopefully leave a legacy behind us that we can all be proud of. I think back on some of the really amazing seniors we’ve had and I’m just really proud to be a part of this family and program,” said Overby.
Wilson expressed a similar sentiment. In regards to the swim team, he said: “We have a mantra that it is your job as a member of the team to leave the team in a better place than you found it. So that to me is the importance of my senior season.”
Although it may be the end of their formal athletic career, the value of college sports stays with athletes for the rest of their lives. Wilson offered parting words for any athletes struggling to contend with the end of their college sports experience.
“The lesson I would give to anyone out there is that there is no finish line,” he said.
“Everything that you learn through these sports is something I would hope most people try their best to carry on beyond college. You gotta embrace the journey, and not just think about your senior season as the finish line.”