Seniors Expand on this Year’s Athletic Mission Statement

As the school year comes to a close, those graduating begin to embark on the next chapter in their lives and reflect on how their time at Seattle University has impacted them. The athletes that have represented this institution have worked under the mission statement of “Together We Soar” this year. The class of 2018 athletes shared what the theme of this school year meant to them and how it has made them a better leader.

“We did not know what to expect, so us upperclassmen had to step in and be the mediators and make sure everything was going alright with the rest of the team,” senior Julian Morales said.

Morales, a senior on the men’s swimming team, is proud of how he and the other upperclassmen led the team when an entire new training staff entered the program. In a sport as individualized as swimming, coming together to unite as a team can be challenging and rewarding.

“I think being an athlete in an ‘individual’ sport like swimming is tough because you’re always around your team, but when it comes to racing, you are the only person in your lane,” Morales said. “We do a great job of bringing out the best in each other when times are tough and celebrate accomplishments as a unit.”

From a different perspective, Maddie Racine, who plays for Seattle U’s Women’s Soccer team, took the theme under a different consideration.

“Through our community service we not only grow as a team, but most importantly as a community, which is something that ‘Together We Soar’ embodies,” Racine said.

The women’s soccer team collaborates annually with Special Olympics and Bailey Gatzert, creating a unique experience for each young woman on the team. Those graduating, however, are about to take along with them years of memories from these community-driven events.

However, there have also been some challenges along the way. Racine commented on how she and her teammates handled a sudden decline in success this season. Experiencing these tests of unity and determination have become tools that Racine and her fellow teammates can carry with them after their time at the university.

“It took us awhile to get into our groove and see success in the standings, but we showed our resilience and continued to work diligently on the things that we needed to improve. I would say this was my favorite year, because although immediate and continuous success is great, our challenges and moments of failure really brought out the best in our character and ability as a team to work together and overcome adversity,” she said. “In the end, we were proud of our story and our ability to create the best.”

Continuing with experience, as Morales has worked his way up on the team his focus shifted to not only himself and how he improved as a swimmer, but how his team improved as well.

“I think it changed my view of how I approach the sport and my role as an instigator. It is safe to say that before this year I knew that I had not reached my full potential like I thought I would once I came here,” he said. “I focused more on making sure that the kids with real talent were held accountable and did not slack off. This honestly made me the happiest I have been since coming here and finding my purpose seemed to pay off for me and for those around me.”

With the major focus for this year being on unity, Morales commented on how he saw the change in the team as well.

“I think the theme has really helped underclassmen know that there is something bigger than the individual self when it comes to their efforts,” Morales said. “It is a lot easier to find more within yourself when you know that you are sacrificing for the team, the athletic department and for Seattle University.”

Racine talked about how the theme has impacted her relationships off the field, and how that has become a positive thing for the team.

“I think a main goal this year was to focus on reconnecting our team and developing solid relationships among the players and coaches. We all have similar values, which makes it easy to create a strong bond between each and every one of us,” she said. “We made it a point to work hard and put a lot of focus towards soccer, but we also knew that in order to have solid chemistry on the field we needed to build our relationships off the field as well.”

Creating an emphasis on togetherness this past year has reinvented the way those who participate in Seattle U Athletics operate not only in their team on the field, court or pool, but also how they interact with others. The unity instilled in these individuals is something they will carry with them, long after their time at Seattle U.

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