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Athletes of the Week for 02/02/12 through 02/08/12

Ricky Mazella

Staff Writer

Jennifer Thompson of the women’s swimming and diving team and Jimmy O’Leary of the men’s volleyball team had stellar performances over the week and have earned the Springfield Student Newspaper Players of the Week award for 02/02/12 through 02/08/12.

Athletes of the Week for 02/02/12–02/08/12

Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson had a spectacular afternoon despite a women’s swimming and diving away loss to the Lord Jeffs of Amherst College.  The Cheshire, Conn. native managed to break the Pratt Pool facility record on the one-meter board with a score of 284.85.  Other SC members had above average performances as Kellie Pennington finished second in the 100 breaststroke event and Caroline Kosciuszko finished right behind,  with times of 1 minute 8.27 seconds and 1 minute 11.52 seconds respectively.  Now, the NEWMAC finals will be held on the weekend of the 17th through the 19th of February, as MIT will host.

Q. How does it feel to have broken the facility record at Amherst College?

A. I’m proud to have two records, the facility record at Amherst and the women’s one-meter record here at SC. It’s really gratifying to know that all of the hard work that I have put in this season is finally paying off. 

Q. What drives your motivation to compete?

A. I like to compete because I like to see how much I can be challenged by others.  My teammates are my best competition, and they are such a crucial part in all of the things that I have achieved.

Q. What did you perform to land your score of 284.85 for your best dive this weekend?

A.I think it’s important to focus on consistency and the little things that will help you improve.  I also didn’t go into the meet planning to break a record; in fact, I didn’t even know that I did until just before the three meter diving event!

Q. What new personal goals do you anticipate for next year?

A. My personal goals will essentially remain constant throughout my collegiate athletic years here at Springfield: I would really like to be able to participate in Nationals each year.  Hopefully I’ll also be able to break my own record next year!

Jimmy O’Leary

Jimmy O’Leary and the No. 2 men’s volleyball put No. 5 MIT to shame on Wednesday night in three straight sets as the Pride improved to 5-0 in NCAA play, while they retain a 6-4 overall record.  O’Leary had a .714 attack percentage Wednesday night, added to the .714, .786, and .818 percentages from last week’s three games, all wins for the Pride.  He has had his best form so far and is set to remain on track and continue boosting his numbers. The Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic hosts will face UC Santa Cruz Friday at 8 p.m. after the 6 p.m. match between Cal Baptist and Lees-McRae.

Q.How does the team feel about the off-season division change?

A. Now we have to work hard each match since every match has more meaning than before.

Q. Leading up to the MIT match, was there any pivotal match that stood out?

A.  I don’t feel that there was one. Every match will be of equal value.

Q. What does it feel like to play MIT and teams with the same style?

A. They’re a great team and we prepared for them just like any other opponent. We scouted them and did what we needed to do, and it worked.

Q. What is the main focus after tonight’s win?

A. The next match, we only need to take things day by day.

Ricky Mazella may be reached at

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