Former BRHS scholar-athletes relate their college experiences

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 7:30am

This past fall, three former Boothbay Region High School scholar-athletes, playing at the college level had pretty good seasons. Sydney Meader,field hockey at University of Maine at Orono; Chloe Arsenault, field hockey at University of Southern Maine; and Cameron Crocker, football at University of New England.

All three are remembered from their playing days at BRHS. During her four-year career, Sydney set a record in field hockey by scoring 85 goals. Not far behind was Chloe, who finished with 78 goals. Cameron played both offense and defense on the gridiron. He had over 500 yards rushing and 100 tackles in his senior year.

Here are questions posed to these three and their responses.

1. How did you and your team do record wise? Playoffs?

Sydney – This season we were 14-5 and 7-0 in conference play. This was the first time in program history our team has gone undefeated in conference play during the season. It allowed us to host the America East Tournament for the second season in a row. We didn’t finish the season how we wanted as we ended up losing 3-1 to Stanford in the semifinals. At one point in the season, we went on a 10 game win streak, which tied our programs win streak record.

In my five years of being part of the field hockey team, we have made the playoffs each year, winning an America East Championship for the first time in program history in 2021. We had an overall record of 60-31. I was named to the America East All Conference 2nd Team. I was one of three Americans, who made either the first or second teams. Others named to the team were Internationals from Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Canada.

Chloe – Our team did pretty well this season having an overall record of 15 wins and 8 losses. This included a conference record of 10 wins and 2 losses for a conference championship. The first time in program history. Our goal as a team for this season was to win one more game than last season when our final record was 9 wins and 3 losses in the conference.

On top of that, our team made the playoffs, where we defeated Framingham State and then Keene State in the semi-finals. We played Castleton State in the Little East Conference Championship Game and lost by just one goal.

Cameron – We had a 5-5 record for the season, but were a much better team then our record showed. It was really cool playing with the same guys for the past five years. This program started when I first attended University of New England. It was nice seeing how much we improved each year. This year we finished fourth in our conference.

2. What is your major and your career goal?

Sydney – My major was biology with a pre-med concentration from which I graduated in May 2022. This fall I took two graduate level courses through our non-degree program to be eligible to play. Currently, I plan on getting a job in surgical medical sales, specifically related to sports medicine in the greater New England area.

Chloe – My major is biology with a minor in biochemistry. I am still not sure what I want to focus on for a career, but have always had an interest in pharmacy.

Cameron – I graduated last May with a degree in applied exercise science. Currently, I am working on a doctorate of physical therapy with my end goal becoming a physical therapist.

3. What are the differences between playing sports at high school and on the college level?

Sydney – The biggest differences for me were: the surface we played on, the pace of the game, and the strength of Division 1 female athletes. Prior to playing at UMO, myself and other Maine members of the team, had played mostly on grass surfaces in high school.

Our teammates from other countries had played on Astro Turf their entire careers. This meant I had to relearn all of the basics, because the differences in surfaces made the game 10 times faster than what I had experienced on grass or field turf. Playing on Astro Turf causes the ball to move much faster.

Coming into my first practice, I was in awe at how fast my new team was. I was a bit intimidated, especially since I wanted to play every minute I could. I figured out quickly I was going to have to learn to play at this level.

Looking back, I don’t remember being “small,” but I remember being “weak on the ball” as my coach would say. This is something every freshman experiences. They have to learn how to have the strength to possess the ball against other players, who are bigger or stronger.

Chloe – At USM we have many substitutes on our bench, who must be ready to play when needed when the starters come out. Another difference is time commitment and traveling. Away games usually require 2-3 hours travel time. This can interfere with class periods. You can’t miss a game for school, unless the professor won’t let you take an exam at a different time. Making sure to complete homework and studying either before or on bus rides is really important.

Cameron – High school and college are very different. I came in thinking it was going to be pretty easy. I was wrong.

All of my fellow players were in the same boat as me, being the top players on their high school teams. The dedication to the game was also at an all-time high. It was like a full time job, where every day we would start with an hour and a half of meetings followed by a two hour practice session. There would also be three one hour lifting sessions each week.

Game days were a full commitment and if it was an away game, we were lucky to be back by 8 p.m.

In high school, I would be in on every single play, playing both offense and defense. In college I just played defense. I came to realize very quickly everyone hits really hard! You must always be alert the entire time you are on the field and play with more physicality that your opponent. One of my favorite sayings is, “Be the hammer, not the nail.” I live by this when I am playing.

4. What coach at BRHS had the biggest impression on you and taught you things you remembered when playing on the college level?

Sydney – Donna Jordan, she is still one of my biggest supporters. She comes to many of my home games. It always puts a smile on my face seeing the person, who helped me get to where I am, cheering me on.

The biggest thing she did to prepare me for college was always telling me to “Trust the process.” As cliché as that sounds, it is what you need to do. I remember texting her many times when I was frustrated because in my eyes I wasn’t getting enough playing minutes.

Coach Jordan would always respond to me, I was doing what I needed to do and my playing time would come. This season she text me after many games, congratulating me on a good game or a great team win. She has been there for me since the beginning. The impact she has had on my life is way bigger than she knows and bigger that I may realize. I will forever be grateful for her.

Chloe – Coach Donna Jordan had a great impression on me. She taught me a lot of the field hockey I know today. She also let me know it was all right to be selfish sometimes. It is something I still need to work on today.

When playing there are times you need to pass the ball. You also need to be confident in yourself and take the shot on goal when you have the opportunity.

My basketball coach, Brian Blethen, taught me to be disciplined on defense. I can still hear him yelling my name to keep me going.

I have an assistant coach at USM, who carries this same idea. I have to be disciplined when defending to see where the offender is moving. I hear the new voice yelling from the sideline, just as I heard Coach Blethen.

Cameron – My dad/football coach-Ed Crocker pushed me to be the best I could. He played me in positions where he knew I would succeed. In my senior year he was my football and baseball coach. There would be times we clashed, but at the end of the day he was a big reason I was so successful.

Coach Crocker was named Coach of the Year my senior year. It was very well deserved. He prepared me not only as my coach, but for my whole life and is the reason I am where I am at today.

5. How have you changed/progressed in your sport since starting at college?

Sydney – Since starting playing filed hockey at UMO, I’ve gotten so much more confident with my abilities. I have also developed more understanding of the game as a whole.

Chloe – I was very offensive oriented in high school. I would play high up and stay more on the offensive side of the field. I played center forward a lot in high school and sometimes dropped to midfield when I needed a break.

In college, I play mid/link, (the two lines behind the forward line). I tend to find myself playing more defensive for my line. As a team, we learned we need to be able to give enough space between the defender and ourselves to be able to get our feet around and sprint with your opponent and contain them.

If you can contain the player with the ball, they will make mistakes under pressure. This gives your teammates enough time to get back to support you. I have added a lot more defensive ideas to my playbook since high school.

Cameron – I played linebacker in high school, where I would seek out the ball and make the tackle. I started as a linebacker at UNE. On the third day of camp, my coach called me into his office and talked to me about switching to the defensive line, which I did.

It was a lot of work learning all the moves and proper technique. With hard work and dedication, I realized success and have started every game since my sophomore year.

The switch from linebacker to defensive line was the best decision I could have made. I have had so much fun playing on the line. It is scrappy in the trenches. I have to make sure I hold my ground so other players are able to make a play.

In college, I have found the more you do your job, the more your team will succeed. When I do my job and the linebacker makes a tackle for a loss, this is just as good as me fighting off a block and making the tackle. College showed me you need 22 players to all be on the same page and you will see a lot of success.

6. Can you talk about something showing character, helping or mentoring someone?

Sydney – This past season after one of our home games, there was a little girl, who ran out onto the field. She was running and dribbling a field hockey ball on her own. When our team talk ended, I went over and started playing pass with her.

She shared with me how she comes to games with her mom. I asked her if she had a UMaine field hockey shirt and she said, “No.” I brought her to the locker room, got her a shirt and brought her back to her mom.

When I was saying bye to them, mom asked if I knew Donna Jordan, who was her coach in high school. It was such a special moment. Fast forward a few weekends later, the young girl is waiting for me after my game. She gave me a picture she had drawn of the two of us playing pass.

On the front she wrote, “Thank you Sydney I love you.” On the back it said, “Will you be my friend?” It was the cutest thing ever and I will forever keep this drawing. I have tons of memories, but this is one of my favorites.

Chloe– When I was a freshman, I found it intimidating starting my classes and field hockey. Upper classmen/teammates were very helpful with advice on professors, finding my away, and playing field hockey. I was grateful for all they did for me. I appreciate now, I am able to do the same for incoming freshmen.

Cameron – I am proud I could be part of starting the football program at UNE. You set the foundation and set a standard for all of the future teams. Our team members looked at what we were doing the same as building a house.

We set the foundation and culture of the team during my first two years. As this continued, we won more games and were able to add more talented players. When the players, who started the team were graduating, we were finishing the house.

This made for a great culture for our team and set a standard all new players will look to meet each year. I am hopeful future players will continue to play at a high level. I am sure the team will be even better in the future. They will be in charge of decorating the house!

I am glad I chose to go to UNE. It is a small school and reminds me a lot of the Boothbay Region, where we are a small community and you know everyone. I made a lot of friends during the past five years, which helped me succeed in school. The best part is I got to play my favorite sport while doing so.