Twelve members of this year's softball team were recently honored as All-America Scholar-Athletes.
Matching their achievements on the diamond, Lynx softballers led the way in being selected as 2021 Easton/National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s All-America Scholar-Athletes, tallying 12 of the 21 total awards won by New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) student-athletes.
The Lesley players honored are: Jordan Day, Kristen DiCicco, Tara Eldredge, Tallin Goldberg, Kara Haga, Lindsey Jensen, Samantha Jensen, Antonia Kieran, Mahlia Medina, Riley Pickett, Amelia Teta and Ilana Zack.
Zack’s leadership behind the plate as catcher, as well as off the field, also earned her the designation of Lesley’s 2020-21 Athlete of the Year.
In addition to their stellar softball achievements, all the honorees are academic standouts. Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete status is achieved by student-athletes posting a grade point average of 3.5 or greater for the fall and spring semesters.
Nationally, 8,800 fastpitch softball players were recognized with the honor. Rounding out the list of NECC’s 21 awardees were nine players from New England College.
So, what does it take to achieve this level of excellence?
“One word comes to mind when I think of being a Lesley student-athlete: tenacity,” says Pickett, who has become a nationally registered emergency medical technician and aims to become a physician assistant. “As an athlete at Lesley, you are pushed to do your very best with what you have.”
Her teammate, Day ’22, a pitcher from Seminole, Florida, and an MBA candidate in Business Management, echoes the sentiment. Her experience in our athletic program has underscored the importance of persistence and determination. As an athlete at Lesley, she says, “Nothing is handed to you. So, the ability to work through adversity at every single turn of my career is something I will carry with me always.”
And her career has been exceptional, being named 2020-21 NECC Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year.
While Day fell in love with Lesley’s program, Cambridge and Greater Boston’s history, architecture and great restaurants, and New England’s variable weather, she also has been made stronger by the fight — familiar to Division III female athletes — for facilities, equipment and even players and coaches.
“I know what it takes to push boundaries when necessary, never give up and always work hard, because nobody will do it for you,” she says.
Teta ’23, a Children, Youth and Family Studies major from Boston, also know the importance of perseverance and finding opportunity in setbacks. A transfer student from Boston University, and a catcher who struggled with injuries, she caught on as team manager. In her supporting, off-field role, Teta says, “Being a team player matters more to me than getting to play on the field,” whether she’s shagging balls during practice or simply being a good friend.
Teta plans to bring that service-before-self mentality to her career as a pediatric occupational therapist, becoming an integral part of a cohesive treatment team that reflects what she has experienced as a Lesley Lynx.
“As the only transfer coming onto the team, and as someone who was not allowed to play (due to injury), I fully expected to not be a part of the team,” Teta says. “I have never felt that. We worked so hard to come in second place last year We were playing while we had only been practicing since March (because of COVID-19). The team dynamic and the bond of the team is my highlight of Lesley as a whole.”
Similarly, DiCicco ’21 recalls that success came through the bond among the team members, forged during spring break visits to trampoline parks, arcades and bowling alleys when they weren’t on the diamond. As they grew closer, through travel and activity, DiCicco, an elementary education and American history graduate, realized something else about herself.
“Being an athlete has allowed me to meet people from all over the country. This also meant meeting people who are different than me and had different opinions,” she says. “I was not only able to work with those people but also become friends with them.”
Working hard, working together and working through tough times. That’s what makes a winning team and an auspicious future.
“We persisted when odds were against us and earned everything through hard work and camaraderie,” Pickett says. “This level of fortitude in such a small community is something I will always carry with me as I move forward in life.”