Assistant Sports Editor
Every student athlete dreams of representing their school on the big stage and to get recognition for their ability at the national level. After years of rigorous training and preparation, six student-athletes from Springfield College will be doing just that.
Zach Joseph (Wrestling), Hunter Ayen (Wrestling), Alex Niemiec (Track & Field), Courtney Luscier (Track & Field), Carly Markos (Track and Field) and Emily Medeiros (Swimming) will represent the Pride on the national stage in the next few weeks as they compete in Division III Nationals for their respective sports.
Joseph (competing at 157, entering the tournament with a 27-2 record) will be making his first appearance on the national stage. He plans to enjoy every moment on the mat as much as he can.
“I just want to go out there and have fun,” said Joseph. “This is my last tournament for my college career, so every single match I am just going to tell myself ‘go out there and have fun’ and wrestle the best I possibly can, with that game plan, I should be able to win the tournament.”
Ayen (competing at 197, entering the tournament with a 17-5 record) will be making his second appearance in the national tournament this year. Ayen is familiar with the atmosphere that nationals and other big tournaments bring. He feels like he is ready for the opportunity.
“It’s a big stage,” said Ayen. “It can be frightening for some people when they go out there for the first time maybe, but [Joseph] and I are both from New York, we have both been to New York state’s before, which is a large tournament as well, so being on that stage and nationals makes it not as ‘wowing’ anymore. I am going to treat it as just another day and another tournament. That is the mentality I am going to take out there.”
Markos currently ranks sixth nationwide in the weight throw. She has competed at NCAA’s before and describes the atmosphere as something that is different than what most people might expect.
“Everyone there is very nice when you get there,” said Markos. “Which is shocking, because you would expect national competitors to be very intimidating, but everyone is so nice, I love it. I always make friends when I go so I am really excited to get back into that atmosphere.”
Niemiec ranks third nationally in the high jump and is taking a laid back approach to Nationals this time around.
“As long as I feel good everything should come together fine,” said Niemiec. “I am not worried about it too much.”
Luscier will be representing the Pride in the 60-meter dash. She ranks eighth in the country for the event and is a returning All-American. Pride swimming’s Emily Medeiros will be representing Springfield in the 100 meter and the 200 meter breaststroke.