By Taylor Viles & Josh Wolmer – Sports Editor & 1851 Contributor
With the decision to cancel collegiate sports in the spring due to COVID-19, another decision followed shortly after; allowing every athlete affected by the season’s cancelation another year of eligibility.
Suddenly, seniors who thought their last moments as a Laser had ended in tears and uncertainty, realized there was a chance to end their college athletic career the right way. The only question remaining for student athletes was whether it was worth it for them to pursue their masters degree at Lasell just to play one more season.
Of the 36 senior spring athletes in 2020, 12 of them opted to exercise their extra year and return to Lasell. Having one-third of the athlete’s return is not something that could have been predicted, but the maturity coming along with these rostered graduate students is unparalleled.
The baseball team has five players returning which captain and four-year-veteran Joe Sullivan (‘20) says is important for the long-term development of the team, especially with the younger players. “We have a really strong freshman class coming in,” said Sullivan. “Being able to teach them the ropes and show them how things are done is going to help them a ton down the line.”
Devastated when his final season was cut short, Sullivan said it was a no brainer to return for another year. “I had been debating whether or not I wanted to get my masters degree for a while. I knew if we were given an extra year of eligibility I was 100 percent coming back,” he said. “I couldn’t end my baseball career that way.”
Another longtime Laser, women’s lacrosse star Jordan McComb (‘20) was thinking about beginning her collegiate coaching career following graduation, but decided the opportunity to return was one she couldn’t pass up. “I knew it was my last chance to be able to play lacrosse with my best friends,” said McComb.
If sports return in the spring, McComb will have played in parts of six seasons for the Lasers due to an injury in her sophomore season and pandemic in her senior season. This gave her two more years of eligibility. She is not ready to put the chapter to bed quite yet. “Lasell University has a very special place in my heart,” she said. “The community here has helped shape me into the person and athlete I am today.”
This is the mantra many of the returning athletes assume. Many want that final chance to win a championship, and others aren’t ready to let go of the friendships they’ve built over a few years at college.
One recent graduate who decided against returning for her extra year was softball infielder Essie Plouffe (‘20). Plouffe says many options were on the table but with the rest of her team’s senior class pursuing other possibilities, joining the team again as a player didn’t make sense for her. She will, however, still be a part of the team. “I talked to my coach about assistant coaching which she was all for,” she said. “I thought that would look a little better on a resume.”
Plouffe may even return for her master’s degree in the spring semester but wants to get a jumpstart on her career in the athletics industry, something she will now do from the sidelines of Taylor Field.