BY STEPHEN CHOTT
For many college students, these four years is the best time of their lives and a time where they develop as a person through their studies, the people they meet and the activities they participate in.
With the fall sports season winding down, seniors from all sports teams are playing in their final games as a Sea Gull.
“It’s crazy to think about,” Courtney Jantzen, a forward from the field hockey team said. “Sophomore year I heard the seniors say that the time goes by so fast and it’s crazy that it’s finally here now.”
Jantzen has played all four years as a Sea Gull, and is an important part in the team’s current playoff run through the CAC tournament. She’s led the team on the field with 11 goals this season, but she’s also become an all-around leader.
“There’s definitely a lot more pressure on me because I’m a senior and they expect me to perform. I’m looked at as a leader,” Jantzen said.
With people of all ages on the various teams, seniors are typically looked at as leaders no matter what the sport is.
“I’ve grown by becoming more confident and more of a leader” Jenna DeLetto, a forward from the women’s soccer team said. “Previous years, when a teammate would say to me ‘pass me the ball’ even if I was close to the net they were older than me so I thought they knew what to do and that they would lead us in the right direction. Now there’s no one older than me to say ‘Pass me the ball’ even when it would be a better opportunity for me to shoot it. I’ve become that leader as the oldest one on the offensive line.”
Playing for Salisbury has helped many athletes, including men’s soccer forward Matt Greene, develop off the field just as much as they have on it.
“The kid that I came into college as is not the same person I am today,” Greene said. “When I finished up high school I was thinking about partying and playing soccer. Those were the only things on my mind. My last fourth quarter GPA in high school was a 2.1 and since then my GPA here has been a 3.75. I’ve been able to study abroad, I’ve been able to play four years of college ball and get the full experience. I’m honestly grateful for it.”
Greene has become an important part of a men’s soccer team that won the CAC regular season championship this year. He had two assists in the tournament clinching win against Wesley and another assist in their tournament semifinal win against Mary Washington.
Being a part of a playoff team was a highlight for DeLetto, who remembers beating Frostburg in penalty kicks her sophomore year, as well as wide receiver Isiah Taylor who says his playoff experience his sophomore year was one to remember.
“My sophomore season against Rowan and getting that playoff win was my favorite memory,” Taylor said. “There’s something about playing in the playoffs that is pretty awesome. The atmosphere is more intense and the stakes are higher”
While playoff experiences are among their favorite moments, the one thing that most Sea Gulls’ players will remember is playing with their teammates.
“I’ll miss my guys, my brothers on the team. Our bond is pretty crazy,” Taylor said. “A lot of the guys stayed here during the summer and then we go through camp. We win together, we fight together. None of this would be enjoyable without my teammates.”
Playing alongside her teammates even made practice bearable for DeLetto, who says it’s one of the things she enjoyed the most.
“A lot of players don’t like practice but I like it because you’re with your friends every single day. If you had a rough day at school or you bombed your test, at the end of the day when you go to practice you’re with all your friends you’re extremely close with and doing the thing you like,” DeLetto said.
Fellow teammates aren’t the only ones that can make a large impact. Jantzen believes field hockey head coach Dawn Chamberlain has helped her mature and develop.
Greene also said it will be hard to walk away from head coach Gerry DiBartolo, who is retiring after this season and has been like a second father to him.
Now with their careers coming to an end, the seniors will leave their respective teams behind to the younger players to carry the torch for the new group of Sea Gull athletes.
“You won’t have an opportunity like this again regardless of what level it is. DI, DII, DIII, you’re playing on a team that you committed to better yourself and those around you and those are skills applicable for the rest of your life. So if you work hard now it will pay off,” Greene said.
Four years is a long time, and besides the things learned in the classroom there’s plenty to take away from being a part of the team. It can be something as big as playing under the pressure of a playoff game, learning to be more confident as a leader or a ritual that you share with your teammates.
“We say this chant ‘I’ve been a Sea Gull all my life, and I’ll be one till I die,’ and I’ll always remember that chant my whole life because of the time me and my teammates put in here,” Taylor said. “It went by fast, but I wouldn’t change anything, and I wouldn’t want anything to be different