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Drew Welcomes Back Alumni Athletes for Nostalgia-Filled Weekend

by Lauren McAuliffe and Charlotte Wells

4 mins read
photo of person holding graduation cap and diploma
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

As alumni athletes gathered back on Drew’s campus this past weekend, spectators could not help but notice the sense of nostalgia that filled the air. Saturday’s games were a cathartic experience for many of our alumni athletes, bringing both a wave of emotions and fond memories to the surface. Both alumni and current students found themselves struck by the sentimental value of this weekend’s games, and found it mutually beneficial. Past athletes were offered the chance to return to their beloved college sport, while current Drew athletes found themselves with the opportunity to learn from their predecessors on how to deal with the trials and tribulations of college sports, both on and off the field.

Alum baseball player Joseph Grossane (C ’19) shared his gratitude for the experiences and wisdom he gained during his time as Drew’s baseball captain. Grossane stated that Drew baseball had taught him “a lot of valuable lessons,” including “how to deal with success and failure,” a skill that he claims has helped him both personally and professionally.  

This weekend’s events also gave a variety of alumni the opportunity to speak about their experiences of post-college life, and the impact of being a student-athlete at Drew for so many years and how it continues to influence them now. 

Chara Proud (left) and Abbey Poore (right) Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Wells

Two former captains of the Women’s Swim & Dive team, Abbey Poore (C ‘22) and Chara Proud (C ’22), both discussed what college athletics taught them and how they were able to transfer these skills and lessons into their lives post-graduation. 

Proud described how being a student athlete not only improved her time management skills, but she also learned to prioritize her responsibilities. On the other hand, Poore spoke more on the leadership skills that she developed. “Being a captain gave me a lot of skills to help problem solve and work as a group towards a common goal.,” Poore said.

This sentiment was echoed by a former member of Drew’s Fencing team, Jake KurtsFreilich (C ’22). Now working in finance, he explained how “working with a team teaches you to work on your own while also having a common goal, which correlates to working for a business.” 

Alum baseball player Jon Vilicich (C ’16) expressed the importance of current Drew athletes being able to “truly absorb the experience and take what they can from each opportunity.”

When it came to sturggles, the transition from being a student athlete for four years, to no longer having the collegiate athlete’s lifestyle structure and guidance is not easy. Poore explained that it’s much harder to stick to a good routine post-graduation, and commented that “having 20+ extra hours of free time is an adjustment.”

 Despite this, all the alumni emphasized the positive aspects of their college experiences, offering their advice to Drew athletes on how to make the most of collegiate life. In the end, they all had the same final piece of advice to offer current student athletes: enjoy it while you can because it doesn’t last forever. 

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