Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Cross Country, Football, Field Hockey Celebrate Senior Night

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Phillips
Oberlin’s field hockey seniors pose during Senior Night.

This past week, three varsity teams hosted their annual Senior Night, a ceremony to honor the graduating class. The seniors were celebrated for their continued dedication and hard work, as well as their accomplishments in their respective teams throughout their time at Oberlin. 

For the first time, cross country had their very own Senior Night, organized by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. In previous years, the cross country seniors were celebrated alongside track and field during one collective ceremony at the end of the year. This year, however, SAAC organized a ceremony to celebrate cross country on their own during the women’s soccer game against Hiram College. 

Fourth-year Margo Lee, who has been running track since she was five years old, expressed how personal this ceremony felt. 

“Definitely sad,” Lee said. “I have been playing at Oberlin for only two seasons, and I think that has made it especially personal. Wednesday was Senior Night, then we had our conference Saturday, which made me super aware going into Senior Night — like, I’m a senior and it’s my last one. But yeah, I’m feeling good.” 

Lee had the unique experience of being a transfer student-athlete, which has impacted her experience at Oberlin. When asked how her experience may have been different if she hadn’t joined cross country, she explained that her team served to ease the anxiety that came along with transferring. 

“I honestly can’t imagine my time as a transfer student at Oberlin without being on the cross country and track teams,” Lee said. “Transferring to a small school, especially halfway through an academic year, is such a scary thing to do, and I feel so grateful that I was greeted by a group of wonderful people who quickly became my closest friends.”  

Each senior expressed how different this year was compared to previous years playing their sport. Lee notes how this year she felt acutely aware of the fact that she is graduating in the spring.

“As a result, I am intentional about being present, definitely more so than in my previous year and a half at Oberlin,” Lee said. “I’m definitely emotional about having limited time to be a part of something so incredible as Oberlin cross country and track and field, so I try to soak up every moment, whether I’m in the middle of a tough workout, writing mantras on my teammates’ arms before a race, or walking with teammates from the locker room to [Stevenson Dining Hall] for dinner.” 

This past weekend, the cross country team participated in their first round of conference meets hosted at Denison College. Despite the meet being two hours away, they were greeted by 20 of their fellow track teammates who carpooled to cheer the team across the finish line. Lee described the comfort this brought her, making the away meet feel like home. 

“Our coach, Ray Appenheimer, often talks to us about the importance of making every meet feel like a home meet, and our team made sure that happened last weekend,” Lee said. “Throughout most of the race, I could hear my teammates cheering, and that energy gave me strength and pushed me forward. Perhaps most notably, they delivered a Yeo Baby cheer that I could hear for an entire mile.”

The cross country team is known for their exceptional spirit on the course. Lee highlighted how Oberlin was the only team who was covered in glitter and mantras they had written on each other in Sharpie. 

“I’ll write like ‘I’m strong,’ ‘I’m fearless,’ ‘I’m great,’ that kind of thing,” Lee said. “This weekend I wrote, ‘For the love of OCXC, OBLITERATE YOURSELF’ and I think that kind of thing lightens the mood. It’s like, I’m about to endure 20 more minutes of being drenched — but [I’m] having fun.”

Hunter Wilson, a fourth-year on the football team, emphasized hoWw rejuvenating his last season has been with new head coach John Pont. Wilson described the end to his football career as bittersweet.

“I would say that being with the guys for so long and growing such a strong bond with them has meant a lot for me,” Wilson said. “And it has really brightened my experience at Oberlin. But now that it’s coming to the end, knowing that I’m not going to be able to see them as much and interact with them and get to do all the things that I was doing like practice in the morning, lift, things like that — that’s gonna hurt a little bit, but obviously I really enjoyed my experience, and spending time with my family on Senior Night meant a lot for me.”

When asked how this year’s Senior Night differed from previous years, Wilson emphasized the impact that Coach Pont has made on the team’s camaraderie. The team won 37–35 on home turf against Concordia University Chicago for the first time in four years. 

“So this season, under our new head coach, Coach Pont, I felt a greater sense of faith and camaraderie amongst our team as opposed to previous seasons, when there was a lot more negativity in our program,” Wilson said. “Whereas this year, you know, when things have gotten difficult, we’ve all maintained positivity, and we also were able to get a big win in our second week of the year, and the season is not over yet. So, we still have two more opportunities. So, you know, obviously we’re moving in the right direction. There’s a lot of growth from last season just in terms of the faith that people have in our team. That just continues to build.” 

Wilson expressed how the recognition he received during the ceremony brought him immense satisfaction. 

“I felt recognized, especially for my contributions to the team,” Wilson said. “I really cherish the discipline that being a collegiate athlete taught me. It required me to create a schedule. It required me to be on time and attend everything that I had set in my schedule and give it my full effort and ability, which I feel like moving on into post undergrad and my life taught me a lot of lessons that I can continue to maintain.” 

Field hockey competed in their Senior Night game on Saturday, putting up a strong fight against Allegheny College, but ultimately losing 1–0. For fourth-years Abbie Patchen and Dee Pegues, the celebration evoked many heartfelt emotions. 

“I was feeling super reflective and sad that this was my last year playing field hockey,” Pegues said. “I’ve put so much work into the sport for so long that it feels weird that it’s over. But that moment on the field surrounded with the best team in the world, I felt nothing but pride and happiness. I am so glad I could spend my last game with them.”

Similarly, Patchen explained how nervous she was for the last game of her career. 

“I was more nervous for that game than I probably had been for any game in my career,” Patchen said. “There’s a lot more pressure when it’s the last game and all of our families were there but once we started warming up it all went away and we were all just able to have fun and enjoy our last time playing together.” 

A common Senior Night tradition is for all non-seniors to decorate the locker rooms for the graduating class prior to game day. Pegues expressed how not participating in the decorating was particularly moving. 

“I think the biggest difference was not decorating the locker room,” Pegues said. “I remember spending hectic late nights decorating the locker room for previous seniors. It felt so weird being on the other side of that experience. I know it seems small, but not decorating the locker room really stuck out to me.” 

When asked what they’d miss most about the season, both players emphasized how the time they spent with their teammates meant the most to them. 

“What I’ll miss most is getting to see them at the end of every day,” Patchen said. “Getting to laugh with them, just while we practice. Sometimes school can be really stressful. But practice and playing feel like it’s a time where you get to be outside, run around, and spend time with all of my best friends.” 

“I’m going to miss the team so much,” Pegues said. “Not just interacting with the team, but also playing with them, especially the seniors. The seniors and the team have been the one constant in my four years at Oberlin, and seeing us all improve over the years has been so special to see. I’m going to miss playing with them so much.”

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