Farewell to the Fall Sports Class of 2016


Alden Glass

As the fall seasons come to a close, a number of Whitman athletes have suited up and stepped onto the field of competition for the last time. Seniors on the  men’s and women’s soccer teams, cross country teams and volleyball teams have scored their last goals, won their last races and served their last aces. While their programs will miss their dedication and talent in the coming years, they have given countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to have the honor to represent the blue and yellow. I had the chance to sit down with a few of the members of the class of 2016 to reminisce about their careers and get a chance to hear their future plans.

Danielle Audino. Photo by Keifer Nace.

In the last four years, there have been countless changes in these programs and senior Danielle Audino shared how the soccer team has drastically evolved in her time with Whitman.

“Probably the biggest change was getting a new coach two years ago. That really changed the whole dynamic of the team, and the culture of the team and made us a whole lot closer,” Audino said. “She really emphasized a sense of community and sisterhood by ensuring that there were no distinct cliques, or boundaries between the classes, the people who play a lot and the girls who don’t get much playing time. She also emphasized being accountable to yourself and your teammates.”

With a 22nd place at the western region meet, senior T.C. Heydon earned all-region status. Heydon described to me how his current ability is a result of the team’s dedication to the sport which has really grown the past few years.

“People are a lot more dedicated to what they’re doing. Freshmen year practice was a much shorter thing and less of a commitment, but now you know it’s probably two plus hours every day. It’s a very obvious year round commitment,” Heydon said. “I’ve improved since freshmen year. I’ve gotten faster and the runners on the team and in the conference have gotten faster. It’s a funny thing because I’m faster, but still in about the same place I was sophomore year in terms of other people.”

For all the progress in the past few years, there have also been times these seniors have had to deal with hard times. Overtime losses, injuries and heartbreak are fixtures of sports, and senior Hannah Linsenmayer shared how she feels the volleyball team has handled downturns in fortune.

“I think we faced a number of different adversities over the years, but something our team has been great at under Coach Helm is how we respond to those adversities. So I don’t feel like I have any regrets. Our team has done an incredible job facing up to hard times,” Linsenmayer said.

As seniors and leaders, these athletes were partly responsible for shaping the future of their programs through hard times. Whether by their performances in big games or their mentoring of the first-years, their impact has been immeasurable. Audino talked about the importance fun had in the soccer team’s ability to push past hard times and what she felt taught the team this past season.

“If you get super serious you can forget why you’re here and you also don’t play as well. So have fun with it and enjoy it. Savor it because that’s what you’re going to remember, not the final score,” Audino said. “I think I taught the value of hard work and making sure that no matter what happens, if you get 90 minutes or no minutes you’re always supporting the team and putting the team first. You forget about your own personal issues and be there for the team”.

Linsenmayer added what she has tried to teach the team about life outside of volleyball.

“One thing I’ve tried to pass on is how important it is to carry yourself in things outside of volleyball,” Linsenmayer said. “Obviously we play a lot of volleyball and it’s our focus, but it’s important to me to be respectful and responsible and self-directed in things outside. To create those types of relationships with mutual respect for your peers”.

As such selfless servants of their teams the school will miss them and their presence on campus next year, but what will they miss most about this place?

For Heydon it is the competition that a team provides.

“I’ll probably do trail races and longer races and eventually race marathons as well. Obviously it’s a lot different after college. It’s a lot more self-motivated. I’ve benefited from people around me who decided to take running and the team more seriously and that will be missed,” Heydon said.

Audino will miss those small moments with the team.

“I’ll miss most the time before practice. We were all just hanging out and doing a juggle circle. It’s so fun to be out playing with your friends and it gets really competitive,” Audino said.

Linsenmayer summed up the feelings for many of these seniors with her feelings for her teammates, past and present.

“Whitman would not be the same without having this family, both the teammates this year and the alumni, even those from freshmen year. That’s what’s made it so important to me. They make all the time and hard work you put into it worth it,” said Linsenmayer .