Senior year can be a year filled with eagerness, anticipation and happiness. However, for senior student-athletes, the year also means the end of the road. The University offers 18 sports, and every year seniors have to say goodbye to their respective sports.
As the school year progresses, fall, winter and spring senior athletes must each move on from their respective collegiate sports.
Alyssa Fania, co-captain of the field hockey team, had her athletic career end last semester. She said she is going to miss many things about playing a sport at The University.
“Not putting on a Scranton jersey ever again and playing competitively on Fitz (Field) and not playing with the other seniors … We had an incredible four years together,” she said.
Fania was a captain on the field hockey team and was named Landmark Conference Player of the year. Fania hopes the younger athletes have learned something from the graduating seniors.
“I hope the younger girls have learned not only from me, but the other seniors, how important it is to do the little things in a sport. Even with talent, there are other aspects as an athlete you must work on. Having fun and enjoying what you love doing makes all the hard work worth it,” Fania said.
Justin Klingman, a guard on the basketball team, recalls the moment he realized he was done with his collegiate athletic career.
“After our final game, I sat there with my jersey on for 30 minutes,” Klingman said. “The time I took my jersey off for the last time was when it hit me that it was all over, although it didn’t really hit me until the bus ride home the next day.”
Despite the tough final loss, Klingman said he has a lot he is proud of about his time spent playing baseball and basketball at The University.
He said he is proud of individual and team accomplishments in basketball.
“From a team standpoint, I’m most proud of winning three Conference Championships and being part of three NCAA Tournament teams,” Klingman said. “From an individual standpoint, I’m most proud of how I developed since my first year. I went from not playing at all as a first-year player to being an All-Conference player and leader in 3-point percentage in Scranton history by senior year.”
While his career at The University is now over, Klingman said he has no regrets.
“I would change absolutely nothing. This has been the best four years of my life, and I got to play a sport I love with some of my best friends,” he said.
Klingman averaged 10.8 points per game last season and led the Royals in minutes played per game with 33.6. Klingman was one of four captains on the basketball team.
With fall and winter sports over, senior spring athletes will soon be done with collegiate athletics as well.
Senior lacrosse player Will Mahle is in the midst of dealing with the conclusion of his athletic career, but he sees it as an extra way to get motivated.
“I’d have to say it really hasn’t hit me yet that I’ll be done with organized sports soon,” Mahle said. “If anything, though, it will push me to play better so I can extend it for as long as I can.”
Mahle also talked about his favorite moments from his four years on the team, including beating Catholic University last year and beating Muhlenberg College in triple overtime during his first year. Mahle, from Montgomery, New Jersey, is ready for the next phase of his life, and he considers his experience as a student athlete a big reason why.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned through sports is working as a team. Handling adversity and managing group dynamics are things I think will definitely help me after college,” Mahle said.
Although all three aforementioned student-athletes will graduate in May, they will take their experiences as student athletes with them wherever they go once they leave The University.