These three-sport athletes make juggling school work and year-round athletic commitments look like an easy hurdle.
The old saying “There’s no ‘I’ in team” is especially applicable to William Kennedy ’18, Cole Stephany ’17, and Alex Ventress ’17. These three-sport athletes excel at both academics and their year-round athletic commitments, but if you were to ask them about the secret to their successes, they’d quickly point to their teammates. For example, Kennedy was named first-team all-conference at safety and unanimous first-team all-conference at running back in 2016, but he is reluctant to take any of the credit. “The team should be more proud of those awards than me,” said Kennedy, “because it was a team accomplishment that I won them. Most of the work is done by the linemen in front of me—they have the hard job of moving people. I just get the ball and run,” he said. Added Ventress, “I really like sports. I like the bonding, the exercise, and being part of a team. High school sports, especially the level at which we compete, is more about winning for the team than showing your skills in a particular sport.”
Playing three sports a year while also tackling considerable school work is no easy feat. Yet the athletes insist that the separate commitments add to, rather than detract from, their successes. “I would say being an athlete helps me use my time more wisely,” said Stephany, who was inducted into USM’s Cum Laude Society in February. “I’ll check my schedule and see what I have the next day, how much I need to do that night versus another night, etc. Coaches stress that school work comes first, so athletics helps me be more focused.”
Sports is based on successes and failures, it’s like life in general. If you don’t succeed you need to change how you do things.
For Ventress, athletics gives her a much-needed outlet. “If I’m stressed about something, I’ll go to practice and probably forget about it. I’ll have some fun and then come back to it with a clear mind.”
Football, according to Kennedy, has made him a more well-rounded student and person in general. “A lot of things I learned from being a football captain are applicable to being a leader in school,” he said. “Sports is based on successes and failures. It’s like life in general. If you don’t succeed you need to change how you do things.”
In addition to learning new athletic skills, sports has served as a vital pipeline for meeting new friends. “In high school, the team is always changing so it helps you develop friendships with more people,” noted Stephany. Added Ventress, “I’ve met a lot of younger girls who I probably wouldn’t have known as well if we weren’t on the same basketball team.”
That said, few people would hold it against them if they admitted to feeling some burn out every now and again. “Sometimes it can be difficult, especially in the winter when I go to school in the dark and come home from hockey practice in the dark,” said Kennedy. “But in the long run, it’s what I want to do. Being out with my friends playing sports, it’s totally worth it. The effort you put in and the results you get, they’re totally worth it.”
Photo above, from left: William Kennedy ’18, Alex Ventress ’17, and Cole Stephany ’17.