Leaving the court, field, mat, track or ice for the last time is an emotional moment. Every athlete has this feeling of leaving behind a passion that, for some, makes up a whole lifetime of practices, games and memories.
For Castleton seniors, this experience is upon them as winter sports enter the last few weeks of the season.
Senior women’s hockey goal tender Riley Wills is enjoying the ride.
“I try to put in 110 percent in every day and not think about the fact that it’s coming to any end. It’s important for me to play for my team’s future rather than my own collegiate career ending,” Wills said.
Fellow teammate Jocelyn Forrest has been playing hockey since she was 11 and can’t even describe the feeling of the last game approaching.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do when the season ends. Hockey is my life and I am so bored without it. I am, however, grateful for the opportunity to play for four years here at Castleton in front of the best fans and support system,” Forrest said.
Senior night is often one of the staple points of an athlete’s career when they are honored for their hard work with a program.
Senior basketball star Ben Mrowka waited a long time to have his career honored.
“Senior night was really great. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. It was awesome celebrating my career with my coaches, teammates and friends. It’s something I’ll never forget,” Mrowka said with a grin.
Wills was equally excited and pleased with her senior night experience as well.
“It was bittersweet, nerve wracking and exciting all in one. I wouldn’t have wanted to be recognized with a different group of seniors,” Wills said.
Luckily for these Spartan athletes, this may not be the complete end of their sports careers as they may have other opportunities.
“I hope to play hockey overseas in Europe next year. There are so many places to play all over so the opportunities are endless,” Forrest said.
“I plan on getting involved in coaching or beer league hockey,” Wills said.
Even Mrowka is hopeful for a comeback down the road.
“I’ve had an injury the past few years that I’ve played through. I am heading back home to Australia to get healthy again and find a job. Fortunately, there are some senior men’s state leagues that I can see myself playing in,” Mrowka said.
Four years in a Castleton uniform provides experience that can benefit a future for many athletes.
Wills wanted to leave Spartan athletes with one message.
“It’s cliché, but don’t take a single moment with a sport, in the weight room, or with your teammates for granted. Even the bumps, bruises and frustration will be missed when it’s all over. So, put your best foot forward in the time you have left.”