Many high school students cannot wait to get to college to make new friends and enjoy all the social benefits this atmosphere brings to the table. In many cases, however, college freshmen find it difficult to do this once they actually arrive on campus. It can be very intimidating for some to approach strangers and try to find a close friend out of it.
Montclair State’s athletic community makes this process simple for its athletes. All across the various sports teams on campus, it seems that everyone not only gets along with one another, but also has a close-knit group that they have formed thanks to their sport. These tight relationships aren’t so predictable, however, as some remain with teammates, while others include athletes of multiple different sports.
In the most predictable cases, there are definitely an abundance of athletes at MSU who would consider their teammates to be their best friends on campus. The girls lacrosse team is a perfect example of this. Four seniors on the team, Casey Provost, Leanne McCloskey, Dana Susse and Jessica Andreula have been living together since freshman year and do not hesitate when asked who their best friends on campus are.
“Not only are we best friends but family too,” Andreula, 21-year-old lacrosse midfielder and fashion major, said. “We really spend quality time together and that’s what makes us a family.”
In the end, a college sport only lasts up to four years, but the friendships formed are a priority to the athletes since they can last much longer. This goes for athletes who have completed their years of eligibility at MSU and have graduated, as well as some cases where athletes have quit or been cut. Four seniors, John Tedesco, Dom Lampasona, Jim Fasano and Tom Amiano all left the school’s baseball team at various points but remain best friends and still live together off campus.
“I will always be grateful for the baseball program giving me these close friends,” Lampasona, 21-year-old ex-outfielder and film major, said. “Everyone has a different time when they are done with their sport, but the friendships last forever and that’s the most valuable part of it.”
“It kind of just expands your friend group. We meet their friends, their teammates, they meet our teammates. It kind of just gives you more friends to know.”- Andrew Smith, senior catcher on the school’s baseball team.
Not all athletes, however, form such predictable relationships at MSU. There are many instances of MSU athletes’ close friend groups consisting of multiple teams or even some non-athletes, as well. One example is five junior girls that live together in Clifton. Emma McLaughlin and Emily Beenders play on the women’s soccer team, while roommates Patty Morales, Karlee Reiger and Kylie Mocarski do not play a sport at MSU.
“We met through mutual friends here at Montclair and have clicked so well ever since,” Mocarski, 20-year-old TV production major, said. “Those are my girls now and we’ll be tight forever. The sport aspect has never messed with that.”
Many athletes at Montclair State are close with those of other sports and often go to each other’s games to show support. Upon attending any MSU sports game, you can almost certainly find at least one group of athletes from a different sport in attendance. In many of these cases, these friendships go beyond just this kind of support. Senior captain Mikey Saalfrank of the soccer team enjoys these relationships he has developed over his four years at the school.
“It’s great to get that kind of support at each game,” Saalfrank, 21-year old goalkeeper, said. “Nothing beats achieving success at a high level and doing it in front of your friends. It’s a great feeling.”
Saalfrank added that Tuesday nights are a weekly time when various members of the athletic community come together and bond. He said that players on the men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, baseball, club baseball, and football teams as well as even more at times, come together and all hang out. This keeps up this camaraderie amongst this community and seems to really build up a tight bond between all sports at MSU.
It seems when talking to these athletes that the one thing they appreciate most out of their time playing a sport for MSU is these relationships they have been able to form from it. People often see these athletes as prideful and hard to approach, but in the end they lead very similar social lives to any other college student. These athletes work hard to succeed at their sport year round, but the most valuable experiences seem to all come beyond the lines.
Justin Epifanio is a senior Television & Digital Media major with a special interest in sports. He has played various sports througout his life, all the way up to 3 seasons with MSU’s baseball team. Justin has produced content in regards to most teams on MSU’s campus and is looking forward to interning with the school’s softball team in the spring, his final semester.