The Roar

Senior athletes say farewell

BHS seniors prepare for the end of their athletic careers.

Jacob Bilsky, Staff Writer

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As their time at Biddeford High School dwindles and academics seem to matter less, the senior athletes feel new pressure entering their final athletic season.

The class of 2016 now leaps into the spring sports season, trying to finish strong and enjoy their remaining playtime. Senior lacrosse and soccer player Peyton Janelle goes into the season ready to compete to the end.

“I will miss the challenge the most. People don’t often give girls’ lacrosse teams enough credit,” said Janelle. “It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and passion.”

For several years, Janelle cheered and participated in tumbling, but junior year brought the greatest struggle of her career. Multiple dislocations in her shoulder led to a detached labrum and nerve damage, requiring surgery and ending her time in those sports.

“I refused to accept how bad it was,” said Janelle. “It was to the point where my left arm was permanently lower than my right. Because of this, I was forced to give up a sport that I have done for as long as I can remember. I had to move away from cheerleading and was told I would never be able to tumble again.”

Unable to do what she loved, she decided to remain optimistic to recover.

“After being on a team that had so much success, it was difficult for me to walk away,” said Janelle. “However, I believe everything happens for a reason and I have been able to move forward and find new interests that I’m allowed to participate in.”

On the bright side, Janelle’s soccer abilities stayed intact, and she will move on to play for the University of New England in the coming fall.

“I am nervous to move on to college level sports, but I’m also super excited,” said Janelle. “It will be intimidating to play with such talented girls, but it’s another challenge that I can’t wait to take on. I’m blessed to have the privilege to continue on with the sport I’m most passionate about.”

The transition to college athletics should be a smooth one for Janelle, especially since she played a variety of sports in her time at BHS.

“I’m glad I got to play such a variety of sports because I know that I won’t be able to do it again in the future, so why not try now?” said Janelle. “They have all helped me become well-rounded as an athlete, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to play so many.”

Playing so many sports broadened her views and helped her find her passion.

“I was able to grasp a variety of different sports, and a lot of them intertwined and made it easier to pick them up,” said Janelle. “I got to meet a lot of new people and gain knowledge from all the different sports.”

Janelle encourages freshmen to search for a sport they love, but avoid overspecialization.

“I’d definitely recommend incoming freshmen try new sports,” said Janelle. “A lot of people will assume they don’t like basketball, even if they never played it before. I was timid to try new things at first, but now I’m glad I did.”

Many seniors changed their game with time including track runner Trevor Jordan. While starting off with basketball, tennis and soccer, in the last two years he found his passion in running distance, rising to the rank of team captain in cross country.

“Playing sports has definitely helped with my leadership,” said Jordan. “Being a captain for two years taught me what it’s like to be a role model for incoming freshmen.”

Jordan thinks that working hard and persevering when times get rough plays a major role in setting an example for new runners.

“During my junior year I had a very serious injury that lasted the whole season,” said Jordan. “I still showed up to practice and worked on recovering, using ice and taking it easy until I recovered. By indoor track, I was healed and ready to go.”

As a captain, Jordan learned to balance training and having fun; one of the hardest parts about leaving will be missing the time spent fooling around with the team.

“During this last season of cross country we found a patch of dandelions with the flying seeds,” said Jordan, holding back laughter. “Riley McNiel picked it and held it out, then Sam Mills opened his mouth and ate the whole dandelion.”

Mills, a freshman at BHS, can’t remember the context of the event, but still laughs at the mention of it.

“It had something to do with Trevor and Riley,” said Mills. “I spit it out and it was pretty funny.”

Mills claims the incident served as a decent bonding experience. William Fulford, who coached seniors like Trevor in track and cross country for several years, takes pride in their combination of work ethic and their bond as a team.

“I’ve known a lot of them since they were freshmen,” said Fulford. “They’ve grown by leaps and bounds. They came here in my second year of coaching and really improved.”

After four years of coaching them, he sees a lot of potential in his athletes whether or not they continue with running.

“Seeing them leave makes me kind of sad, but proud of their growth in racing and leadership,” said Fulford. “I’m sure they’ll go on to do great things.”

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Nicholas Phillips, Senior

Roaming the halls of BHS, one can see that the seniors built bonds with each other, as well as their coaches. Football player Nicholas Phillips remembers  his final football season this fall and the brotherhood he shared with his teammates.

“It [everyday life] is different because I don’t see them [my teammates] as often as I did when we had practice each day, but when I do it’s like nothing ever changed,” said Phillips. “You’re always happy to see each other and stop to talk about the game.”

Despite playing lacrosse this season, he can’t help but look back to football, questioning if he’ll be able to play again.

In past years around this time of year, I wouldn’t be missing football. Now I’ll get out of bed and look at my wall, and see my jersey and pictures from senior year, and I miss it more than anything. I would give a lot to strap on a black helmet with Tiger Pride on the side of it just one more time.”

— Nicholas Phillips

Many athletes don’t plan on playing in college, including baseball player Kerry Crepeau, who hopes to make this one a banner season.

“I’m sad to see the year ending,” said Crepeau. “I’m just going to have fun and enjoy it as much as I can.”

Crepeau believes sports made him a better person, and is glad to have played when he had the chance.

“I think sports teach you a lot about yourself,” said Crepeau. “You get to connect with people like you. If I didn’t play sports, I probably wouldn’t be friends with a lot of people I know now.”

Janelle’s teammate, Camryn McKeown, shows mixed feelings about the end.

“I think it’s really bittersweet,” said McKeown. “I’m really excited for this season and we have high expectations, but there’s a lot of pressure to end strong.”

Janelle echoes this sentiment, thinking it will be hard to leave her friends behind.

“The senior class has so many athletes and we’ve been together for so long,” said Janelle. “This season is our last chance to be together and it’s pretty sad.”

McKeown looks forward to the bigger picture, as many seniors do in preparation, ready to make her last athletic performances in Biddeford remembered.

“We want to go out with a bang,” said McKeown. “We want to make an impression on the underclassmen and our school for years to come.”

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Senior athletes say farewell