Written by Garrett Ruggieri
All freshman students who come to Roanoke begin their college career with expectations, uncertainty and hope for what lies ahead. It is a journey like no other. A four-year experience that prolongs the expected reality of becoming an adult and being responsible for a full human, that is yourself. And yes, most of that is simply academics and a social life. I had the pleasure to talk with a couple of freshmen who are going through the same experience but additionally, they are student athletes. What does it take to be an athlete at Roanoke? How does this experience differ from high school? A few students gave me some insight on their first few weeks as a collegiate athlete.
First, Taylor von Schilling, field hockey player from Midlothian, VA. When asked how it felt to be a Maroon, Taylor expressed, “This was my top choice, when I stepped on campus, there was a certain feeling, this is where I needed to be both athletically and academically”. She went on to say that “people are held accountable here, practices show who has the heart and who truly wants to be there”. Transitioning from high school to college athletics has been a challenging and exciting journey for everyone, but Taylor ensured success. She credits her teammates and coaches, explaining, “it was an awkward first couple of days, but the upperclassmen did a really good job about incorporating us into team meals as well as providing advice or counseling”.
Next, basketball player, Morgan Micallef from Saddle River, NJ. She elaborated on being a Roanoke athlete, saying, “it feels good to be a part of the community vibe at Roanoke and be a valued member of the basketball team”. The expectations heading into offseason workouts differed from her typical routine, as Morgan said, “I didn’t expect early practices and conditioning”. She described everything being “faster” and “more intense” than high school, but she enjoys that part of it and accepts that it is best for the team to approach every day with that attitude. Although only experiencing offseason workouts, Morgan shared some experiences and goals that show great commitment, stating, “Everyone gets along, it’s a close-knit group. This is this warmest, most comforting coaching staff I have been a part of, and I can already see my improvements on the court”. When asked what her first bucket would feel like, she simply said, “I may run back on defense with tears of joy”.
That’s what being a Roanoke College collegiate athlete is all about. The love for the game, the team comradery, and the personal development of skillset and character. You should be proud to be a Maroon. Good luck to all freshman taking on this enriching journey.