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Panthers Express Appreciation for a Season That Almost Wasn’t

By: Maxmillian Robinson

Though this athletic season beat out last spring when all sports were cancelled due to Covid-19, the pandemic still changed the experience for Adelphi’s Brown and Gold players. Each day they would have to take Covid tests and maintain distance before and after practices, all while balancing in-person and Zoom classes. As the athletic year comes to close, it's only fitting for athletes to reflect on the season. Panther senior stars, tennis player Luke Attride-Stirling, golfer Nicholas Maclean and softball player Nicole Mengel explained their motivation behind having a great season.

Maclean taking note of score during the match. Photo from AU Athletics.

“My goal this year was to take initiative as captain and guide my team to perform as best as we could this season,” Attride-Stirling said. “We have a relatively new team compared to when I first joined Adelphi [men’s tennis] as a freshman and because of this, our team bond had grown exponentially. We trained hard, motivated each other which was an aspect, which had never really existed on our team due to problems we faced within the team the previous three years.”

He was referring to injuries and the Black Lives Matter movement, which he said brought the team closer.

Mengel said, “My inspiration for the year has been that it is my last year of collegiate softball and I want it to be the best along with great memories.”

For Maclean, the importance of honoring the people who got him this far mattered the most. “My inspiration this year has been my family,” he said. “Due to Covid-19, they have not been able to come visit or watch me play, so I played for them. I would mark my golf balls with their initials, just so I had a piece of them with me at my tournaments. This helped me through the tough stretches because I would see the initials and it would remind me what really matters.”

While these athletes may value the accolades or achievements that they’ve already accomplished, the fact that the season has been impacted by continued Covid restrictions affected them.

Luke Attride-Stirling took pride in the opportunity to be team captain this season. Photo from AU Athletics.

“We were unable to play in my last tournament ever [due to Covid-19], so it was definitely not the end I had envisioned,” Maclean said. “If I had known it was going to end this way I would have told myself to cherish every last bus ride, practice and tournament like it was my last. I took for granted that there would be another tournament and now I cannot get that experience back.”

Attride-Stirling shared that sentiment. “The main thing that I would do differently would be to have more trust in the process, taking every rep, every routine seriously. Working hard into the early morning practices, lifts and to have faith in my teammates to put in the work. There is no doubt about this and therefore I am extremely proud of my team this year.”

But Mengel was more direct. “I have no regrets about this season so I don’t need to go back in time.”

The theme is clear: The appreciation for the season is here living inside each of these three athletes, with Stirling returning to compete again next season, Mengel with her softball team heading into the NE10 tournament as the #1 seed, and Maclean giving us a bittersweet tribute to his time at Adelphi.

“I will be graduating in a couple weeks and I just want to say thank you to everyone at Adelphi,” Maclean said. “ This was truly an unforgettable experience!”

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