Committed Seniors: Round 1

The Harbinger will be spotlighting seniors who have committed to playing sports at the college level in multiple rounds. 
The Harbinger will be spotlighting seniors who have committed to playing sports at the college level in multiple rounds. 
Olivia Guckian, track and cross country
Olivia Guckian, track and cross country

Committed senior Olivia Guckian will be attending Merrimack College in North Andover, MA after being recruited for their Division I track and cross country programs. Guckian plans to study nursing.

When did you first start running for cross country and track and field?

“My freshman year, I started field hockey for the fall season, and then I decided I would try doing track when one of my friends told me, ‘You should do track with me,’ and I started it, and I really enjoyed it and loved it so I just kept doing it.”

What is your favorite thing about running?

“My favorite thing is probably the team. I love just going out and running with my friends. I think it’s really enjoyable… I love being able to have an instant group of friends on the team, it’s really nice.”

What position do you play and what do you most enjoy about playing that position?

“I usually do distance running [for track], so I run the mile and the two mile, and then at cross country, I run the 5k. I’d like to say I like to do the distance more. I can go faster with distance, and I like the mental stamina aspect of it, like the mental toughness you need to run many laps around the track.”

Why did you want to run at the collegiate level?

“The coach reached out to me, although originally I wasn’t planning on running in college. I just wanted to go to college since running is a lot, especially playing three sports. The coach was super nice and made sure I knew this wasn’t going to take over my whole life and that I still had time for other things. I also wanted an instant group of friends on campus.”

What about Merrimack College enticed you to play for them?

“Mostly they have a really great nursing program which made me look at their college. Again, the coach was super nice. I love the girls on the team. I went for an overnight visit, so I met with them and they’re super nice. I was between a couple schools, but I think the positivity of the team and the environment made me want to run for them.”

What are you most looking forward to in these next four years of your life?

“Probably the group of friends it’ll give me, and the team aspect of it. Obviously, the times that I can run. I’m really interested in how having a new coach will help me improve. Maybe I could even start running some different events. Mostly I just want to see how I can improve.”

Do you have hopes to run beyond the collegiate level?

“Probably not. I obviously want to try to run marathons after college as a hobby, but I am not looking for a career in this.”

Do you have any ideas of majors or other focuses you’d like to pursue at Merrimack?

“I’ll probably go into nursing; that’s my main focus. I already got into their nursing school, which is great. Obviously, nursing and running is going to be hard to balance, but I think I’m ready, so I’m excited.”

Do you have anything else that you think is important to include about your experiences with running track and cross country or your commitment?

“I think Algonquin has a really great track and cross country program; the coaches are super nice and supportive, and I think they have a great team atmosphere, which made me want to continue at the collegiate level.”

Olivia LaBelle, track and field
Olivia LaBelle, track and field

Senior Olivia LaBelle will be attending Williams College in the fall of 2024 after being recruited for their Division III track and field program in the fall of 2023. Her main event is hurdles and she will pursue a major in biology.

When did you first start running track and field?

“I started my freshman year. I have been a lifelong gymnast, so I always wanted to try specifically pole vault, but then I ended up being a really good hurdler, so that is what I have cultivated in the last couple of years.”

What is your favorite thing about track and field?

“Probably the team environment and atmosphere because I am used to being in a very individualistic sport [gymnastics], where it is all about how you can perform in each event on your own. Whereas, track and field has more of a team component because in outdoor track there are more than 17 events, so if you don’t have everyone who is cohesive and can come together, then you can’t accomplish many things.”

What position do you play and what do you most enjoy about playing that position?

“I mainly do the 400 [metres] hurdles, which is basically one lap of the track with ten hurdles, so it’s a pretty brutal event but I like it.”

Why did you want to do track and field at the collegiate level?

“I think I am just someone who loves connecting with others, especially over something that is a challenge because I think it brings out the best in us, and seeking discomfort can make us more able to form those connections. So track is definitely something that can be uncomfortable at times, but it can also form the deepest friendships.”

What about this college enticed you to play for them?

“I think just the atmosphere at Williams. It is a fusion between very intellectually curious people and also people who are driven athletically. I think that combination really suited who I am as an individual. I saw myself really fitting into that community. It is also a very scenic environment, so it is a beautiful place to play in the Berkshires and have just like a nature home away from home.”

What are you most looking forward to in these next four years of your life?

“Everything. I am really excited to finally go to college, as I have always wanted to go to college. I definitely want to start pursuing my dream of becoming a physical therapist. With track, I am really excited to have this opportunity to run because I never thought track would become my thing, but I guess allow your passions to come out in high school because you never know what can happen.”

Do you have any ideas of majors or other focuses you’d like to pursue at Williams?

“Pursuing my dream of becoming a physical therapist will start with being an undergraduate major in biology and hopefully a minor in neuroscience. I do want to become a physical therapist and even though Williams doesn’t have a health/science program, they do have a really strong biology program. They also have a public health minor, so I think all those assets will come together.”

Do you have anything else that you think is important to include about your experiences with track and field or your commitment?

“I would encourage people if they are looking to play sports in college, to reach out to colleges and coaches on their own. A lot of times, people think that the best way is to have coaches reach out to them, but it is really about taking initiative and finding a place that you would think fits you well, and then seeing which coaches value you holistically. A lot of the coaches I talked to were viewing me as a statistic, and that was something that I knew wouldn’t be beneficial to my life.”

Sheila Purcell, track and field
Sheila Purcell, track and field

Senior Sheila Purcell committed to the College of Holy Cross in the fall of 2024 after being recruited for their Division I track and field program in the spring of 2023. Her main events are the mile, 800m and 1000m and she plans to major in psychology.

When did you first start running track and field?

“I started cross country my freshman year, but last year, junior year, was my first year doing track.” 

What is your favorite thing about track and field?

“My favorite thing is the team aspect of it. I really like all of the girls on the distance team, and I think we all bond and work together really well.” 

What position do you play and what do you most enjoy about playing that position?

“I do the mile, the 800m and 1000m.” 

Why did you want to run track and field at the collegiate level?

“I knew that I wanted to do track and field in college in the spring of my junior year. I started to really enjoy it and started reaching out to some coaches and then got a couple offers. So, around that time is when I knew.”

What about this college enticed you to play for them?

“Out of all the other schools I toured, I immediately fell in love with Holy Cross and knew that I wanted to commit there. I really liked the coach and the team overall.”

What are you most looking forward to in these next four years of your life?

“I am looking forward to improving myself as a runner and as a student. I can’t wait to meet all my new team members and bond with all of them.”

Do you have hopes to run track and field beyond the collegiate level?

“I hope to run marathons and half-marathons when I am older and continue running in general. But, I don’t want to run at a higher level than the collegiate level.”

Do you have any ideas of majors or other focuses you’d like to pursue at Holy Cross?

“I am going to major in psychology. I hope to be a psychologist or teacher when I am older.” 

Do you have anything else that you think is important to include about your experiences with track and field or your commitment?

“I would say if you are looking to play a sport at a collegiate level, reach out to coaches your junior year, and then going into senior year, tour all those schools and see what coaches, offers and schools you like the best.”

Kate DiTullio, track and field
Kate DiTullio, track and field

Senior Katie DiTullio committed to Wesleyan University after being recruited for their track and field program. She plans to major in chemistry.

When did you first start running track?

“My freshman year of high school.”

What is your favorite thing about track?

“I really like the people and the community because everyone cheers each other on; it’s great.” 

What events do you do and what do you most enjoy about those events?

“I mostly do triple jump and long jump and I enjoy them because they are unique events and they are really fun to do.”

Why did you want to run track at the collegiate level?

“I wanted to run track because it’s always something I’ve enjoyed doing and I wanted to take the opportunity that I had to continue doing it for the next four years.” 

What about this college enticed you to run track for them?

“I liked the coach because he had really good energy and it seemed like the team had really good dynamics. Everyone I met was really nice.”

What are you most looking forward to in these next four years of your life?

“I’m really excited to meet new people, to get in the college atmosphere and get into a new team dynamic and new everything because I’ve had so much fun at school doing track.”

Do you have hopes to run track beyond the collegiate level?

“Not at the moment, but it can change.”

Do you have any ideas of majors or other focuses you’d like to pursue at Wesleyan University?

“I’d like to major in chemistry and then maybe biotechnology as well.”

Kylie Tomasetti, soccer
Kylie Tomasetti, soccer

Committed senior Kylie Tomasetti will be attending Westfield State University in Westfield, MA after being recruited for the soccer program. Tomasetti was recruited as a defensive player or midfielder and will study within the business field.

When did you first start playing soccer?

“I’ve been playing soccer since I could run. I started playing Northborough town soccer, and I started playing club and high school soccer.”

What is your favorite thing about soccer?

“I really like all of the connections that I make with people. Especially with club [soccer] and playing [at Algonquin] I’ve gotten to make connections with people outside of the circle I already had with soccer. It’s people from different towns and things like that. Also, I like the competitive part of the sport.”

What position do you play and what do you most enjoy about playing that position?

“I play defensive midfield or anywhere in the midfield, and the best part about that is that it’s not just defending or just attacking; it’s a little bit of both.”

Why did you want to play soccer at the collegiate level?

“I’ve always loved soccer and wanted to play in college. I saw at the end of the season how much it had impacted me and made me happy, so I figured why not?”

What about this college enticed you to play for them?

“I was looking at them for a while and the coach seemed really nice, and he was pretty upfront and honest with me. I met some of the players too when I went up to visit, and they were super nice. Also, they were looking for specific positions and one happened to be midfield.” 

What are you most looking forward to in these next four years of your life?

“Definitely making more connections again with a lot more people and people out-of-state are a bigger circle of people that I can meet. Also to play. As I get older, hopefully I can get a starting spot and more playing time. Also, we are going on a trip in my freshman year so I’m looking forward to that.”

Do you have any ideas of majors or other focuses you’d like to pursue at Westfield State University?

“I’m probably going to major in the business field. Management or business in general but probably management. I may do a minor in criminal justice but I haven’t decided yet.”

Do you have anything else that you think is important to include about your experiences with soccer or your commitment?

“Definitely perseverance. There have been setbacks in my life with soccer and without it, but everything seems to work out if you keep pushing so never give up.”

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Connolly, soccer
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Connolly, soccer

Committed senior Lizzie Connolly will be attending Springfield College in Springfield, MA after being recruited for the soccer program. Connolly was recruited as a center back and will study to become a physical therapist.

When did you first start playing soccer?

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was four or five. I started with town, and then I started playing club when I was seven or eight because my brother did.”

What is your favorite thing about soccer?

“I love the competition. It’s such a good outlet for me to forget about everything when I play soccer. Any problem I have from school or the day goes away and it’s just fun. Also, my teammates and friends, especially playing Algonquin High School soccer, are just so much fun. You’re with your teammates at school, at pasta parties and at practice, so you’re just hanging out.”

What position do you play and what do you most enjoy about playing that position?

“I play center back. I like that to be a center back you have to think about it sometimes. You have to play a particular way against different players. Our coach would scout teams before we’d play games, and we’d have to listen, and sometimes we’d play a really fast girl and we would have to defend her differently than we’d defend someone who’s really big and strong. I like that piece of it.”

Why did you want to play soccer at the collegiate level?

“I find that I love it. I’ve heard with a lot of kids that as they get to senior year they fall out of love with soccer, and their passion isn’t there. I feel like I’m the exact opposite. I feel like the past two years I’ve liked soccer more than I ever have, and I’m not ready for it to be done.”

What about this college enticed you to play for them?

“My dad went to Springfield [College], and he’s a physical therapist, and I also want to go into physical therapy. Springfield has a really good physical therapy program and that was the first thing because my parents were very much ‘academics come first’. My attitude was I was going somewhere for school and if soccer worked out, great, and it did. I talked to the coach during my junior year a bit and then we started talking again senior year. The coach is really nice and I’ve heard from the girls on the team and they had nothing but good things to say, so between my dad going there, wanting to go there for school and the environment and the coaches, it was something I wanted to be a part of.”

What are you most looking forward to in these next four years of your life?

“I’m looking forward to growing as a person. I think it’s going to be some of the best four years of my life. Meeting new people, having a good time and learning because it’s our last few years before we have to go to work.”

Do you have any ideas of majors or other focuses you’d like to pursue at Springfield College?

“I chose physical therapy because I’ve grown up around it and my dad is a physical therapist who owns his own practice around where we live. Also, I just love helping people. I know I love the medical field; I’ve always been a science and math person. I love finding this thing when you can make connections with your patients and help them get better. I also love the physical aspect of being up on your feet, moving around all day and having to figure out stuff because every patient will have different needs.”

Do you have anything else that you think is important to include about your experiences with soccer or your commitment?

“I think it’s important to put yourself out there. I know a lot of people have stopped playing their sport in high school, but I think playing sports in high school is such a special thing. Anyone who has the opportunity to do it should do it because it’s so much fun.” 

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Arushi Kohli
Arushi Kohli, Staff Writer
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Nora Kurtz, Staff Writer
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Jax has been involved with the Harbinger since his freshman year as a graphic designer, but taking Journalism as a junior got him truly excited about journalism. He has discovered a passion for storytelling, advocating through his work and sharing news, recently becoming an Editor-in-Chief. In his free time, Jax enjoys playing tennis, ceramics and performing music.
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