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The Freshman Year Perspective on W&J Athletics

Written by: Audrey Kough, Campus Sports Writer


W&J Field Hockey Team Plays against Oberlin College on Oct. 4, 2022. (Courtesy Regan Carlson)

APRIL 19, 2023 - The first-year students at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) have almost wrapped up their first year at school. Accompanying the end of courses, athletics are almost completed for the year. Fall and winter sports completed their seasons and now have off-season practices during the springtime. Spring sports are nearing the end of their seasons. Many of these teams at W&J are getting ready to compete in their championships.

As any athlete would, the class of 2026 had their ups and downs of their first collegiate appearances. Learning to navigate their new reality, one aspect of life that made it easier was playing sports. While it may have been harder at first to learn how to have balanced classes, homework, sports, clubs and so much more, sports were used as an outlet for stress.

The first-year athletes come from all over the country and represent a variety of high schools. By coming to W&J, old high school rivals may have turned into new college teammates. But all these athletes now have one thing in common: they all are Presidents, wear red and black, and represent W&J.

I interviewed a few first-year athletes to hear firsthand how some athletes’ first season went. Freshman field hockey player, Lindsey Blount ‘26, shared some moments from her first collegiate season.
“Coming in as a freshman on the team was nerve-wracking, but everyone made me feel welcome,” said Blount. “Balancing academics with playing wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be and overall, it was a great experience.”

Freshman wrestler Kevin Courseault ’26 agreed with Blount’s experiences while reflecting on his own first season as a college wrestler.

“It was a great experience for sure,” commented Courseault. “As [in] college there’s bigger opportunities and more to your sport. But the friendships and bonds you make with your teammates and coaches are the most important.”

“It was a great experience for sure. As [in] college there’s bigger opportunities and more to your sport. But the friendships and bonds you make with your teammates and coaches are the most important,” - Kevin Courseault ‘26

Lastly, freshman men’s basketball player, Josh Pelzer gave the inside scoop to what his first season was like on the court.

“I would describe my first year here as difficult but rewarding,” Pelzer shared. “It was hard at first, but once I got used to the work, it was a lot of fun.”

Blount, having experienced the college transition herself, offered a piece of advice to any incoming first year student-athletes.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” she said. “Being nervous and scared isn’t going to do you any good. If you make a mistake, that’s okay because we are all trying to improve together as a team.”

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Being nervous and scared isn’t going to do you any good. If you make a mistake, that’s okay because we are all trying to improve together as a team,” - Lindsey Blount ‘26

Courseault looked back on his first season and shared his favorite memory.

“My favorite part of my first year was the tournaments,” stated Courseault. “The team’s environment is fired up and us supporting each other makes [the tournaments] more fun.”

As the first years anxiously await their next season play, Pelzer shared what he is looking forward to most next season.

“I’m looking forward to getting better and spending more time with my teammates,” said Pelzer.
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