Student-athlete: Trailblazers are innovators
Sarah Murphy ’15 of Valatie, N.Y., knew she wanted to play tennis in college, but even more than that, she wanted to play at a college where she wouldn’t be “just a tennis player” who also took some classes.
“I wanted tennis to be fun, instead of a burden,” Murphy explained. “MCLA was the only school that gave me that.”
She continued, “Being a student-athlete at MCLA is incredible because of how connected I feel to the campus community. It’s amazing to be on the court and see my teachers standing on the other side of the fence, cheering me on. I love that MCLA is a small school because it allows for this bond to form between the athletes and the faculty.”
Joining MCLA’s tennis team as a freshman was one of the best decisions she’s made in her life. “It was comforting to have a close group of friends while starting this new chapter of my life,” said Murphy (right). “They grounded me and made me feel comfortable.”
During the 2014 tennis season, Murphy was selected by the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) as “Player of the Week,” and to the First Team All-NAC Singles and First Team All-NAC Doubles.
The English/communications major – who has concentrations in film and writing – aims for a career in college athletics, such as a sports information director or an athletics communications specialist. “I love the passion that comes with college sports, and would love to promote that spirit.”
In addition to playing tennis, Murphy works in the Athletics Office, and has worked as a peer advisor and an academic peer advisor. She’s also served as a program coordinator for the H.A.L.F. (Health, Athletics, Lifetime and Fitness) Times program.
H.A.L.F. Times is for local youth, who work with MCLA’s athletic teams and clubs, including the Dance Company and NeXXus, the campus’ step team. In this program, they learn fun and different ways to be active and stay in shape.
“It’s really an outlet for the kids to come in and have some fun with college kids,” Murphy said. “My volunteers and I love playing with them and hearing their stories.”
At MCLA, she accomplished something that many didn’t think was possible.
“I grew up just me and my mom,” Murphy explained. “She used to worry when I was a child if we would be able to afford college, and here I am, completing in three and a half years.
“If it wasn’t for MCLA, I wouldn’t be able to save as much money as I did by graduating early, while still getting an amazing education. MCLA is a hidden gem, and I’m honored that I got to be a part of its success, as much as it was a part of mine.”
Murphy is proud to be a Trailblazer.
“I love how I have an instant connection with so many other athletes here, and how we support each other during games,” she explained. “We all genuinely care about the success of each other’s seasons. We’re here to support each other when we win, and to encourage one another when we fall.
“I also love being a Trailblazer because of what the word means: an innovator. I love that I don’t necessarily fit any type of ‘mold,’ that I’m an individual,” she continued. “We’re all individual, and that’s what unites us.”