Summer time brings sports camps, international teams, tournaments
Senior crew captain and Stanford commit Katherine Mote spent each of her summer days for eight weeks waking up at 5:30 a.m., working out and practicing for three hours, eating, napping, working out for another three hours, eating again and in bed by 7:30 p.m.
Over the summer, many ESD athletes spend their summers away at camps, tournaments and even championships devoted to their respective sport, sacrificing many benefits other high schoolers enjoy on their breaks.
“It was hard not having all of the fun summer things I [normally] would,” Mote said. “I would talk to my friends and see what they’re doing and hear about internships, so I was a little sad I didn’t get to participate in any of that, but I was really happy with what I was doing.”
Mote participated in rowing activities for the entirety of the summer. Students were let out in mid-May, but the varsity crew team continued to practice because they qualified for the national regatta in Florida the second week of June. After that competition, she went straight to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California and was evaluated for three weeks. She was one of the 20 girls chosen out of the 75 evaluated to compete in the Junior World Championships in Italy. She and her team practiced for six weeks before leaving for the competition on July 20. When she got home, it was Aug. 2, and varsity fall crew had already begun.
“I was never really homesick, but the environment was really stressful,” Mote said. “Especially [at the beginning], everyone’s just competing against each other. There [were] girls there that returned from [the world championships] last year, so a lot of people knew each other. It’s stressful being new in that type of environment and then also trying to compete against these people.”
Although there was fierce determination and willingness to beat out others for a spot on the team, Mote developed many friendships and was happy doing so
“I made friends pretty quickly, and that made it a lot easier,” Mote said. “Finding out who gets dropped and who’s leaving was really sad, but once it was just the world’s group, there was a lot of bonding, and it was really fun. We would play games, spend time together, [and] eat meals together. But you still are on such a regimented schedule, that it was hard to have time for anything else. It’s pretty much practice, eat, sleep.”
Although she had already made her decision about her college plans, this experience solidified her choice further.
“Going into the national team camp, I was down to my top three: Stanford, Yale and University of Pennsylvania. Once I got to camp, I knew I wanted to go to Stanford, and… not that it swayed my decision in any way, but I met a lot of the girls who were also committed to Stanford,” Mote said. “That reassured my decision, because I loved the people I met, and I really felt connected to them. About a week into camp, I had a phone call with the coach and committed.”
Also this summer, all six of the senior varsity football captains (Blair Brennan, Teddy Sparrow, Patrick Burke, Justin McCray, Jackson Bloomfield and Drew Chairuangdej) were preparing for the season and their future in football, hopping around the country to different camps.
“I enjoyed my experience as a whole because I was able to grow and learn a lot as a football player,” Brennan said. “Getting hands-on coaching from some of the best in college football is something I will forever appreciate, but I definitely also learned that college athletics are very difficult and [requires] so much work ethic and drive from players who are trying to get recruited.”
Brennan was missing almost every weekend at these camps or at tournaments for football, but also lacrosse, when he could have been spending them at home with his friends or traveling for something other than sports.
“Although I did miss a lot in town, I would not have made any different decision,” Brennan said. “I had so many great experiences playing this summer.”
Junior Camden Konradi took his lacrosse competition to the next level, or rather, the next continent. Through his cousin, he earned the opportunity to join in the European U21 Lacrosse Championships on the team for Latvia.
“I didn’t know any of my teammates besides my cousin who was on the team more as a coach,” Konradi said. “There was one other American on our team, the goalie, but it didn’t take too long to get to know my teammates [because] they were pretty much all funny and outgoing.”
After spending two weeks in Latvia for training, and two weeks in Dublin, Ireland for the championship, Konradi returned home.
“While I wasn’t super happy about missing my last few weeks of summer, afterwards I was so glad I chose to play because I made memories and friends that will last the rest of my life,” Konradi said. “One thing I learned from this experience was that lacrosse is growing at a much faster rate than I thought, [and] the fact that countries like Uganda and Korea had teams competing in the tournament was insane to me and made me happy to see that lacrosse is growing at such a fast rate.”
The discipline and commitment to the time spent over the summer taught these athletes different lessons before coming back to play their respective sports at home.
“I learned a lot about what I was physically capable of,” Mote said. “Again, I haven’t pushed myself to that level before and I learned how to be better because of the way we were rowing. [I learned from] the other rowers, their attitude and the way they approach everything was so inspiring. I think it’s something I’m trying to bring back to ESD crew and bring that level of discipline and maturity to practice every day.”