THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2012
JU seniors are going to miss their family
Four seniors, including the last remaining original member of the JU women’s program, will make up the first Senior Day festivities for the women’s lacrosse team Saturday.

Three-time captain Jess Hotchkiss, Mel Hicks, Kayleigh Hynes and Melissa Jaworski will be honored as the first senior class.

Hicks, from Jacksonville, transferred to the program from Detroit Mercy two years ago and the finality of her situation didn’t hit until about a month ago.

“It didn’t hit me for a while and it was like another season,’’ she said’ As it’s going down it’s like ‘wow, I have to think about my real life, my adult life, not playing sports for the first time in my life’. Part of me didn’t want to accept it.’’

Hicks only began playing the game as a junior at Bartram Trail High School.

“(Coaches) Paul and Mindy (McCord) got me involved and I owe them a lot. I never thought I’d be playing sports in college but lacrosse let me.’’

She said she expects some emotion but wants to finish her career big.

“I will be sad but I want to go out with a bang,’’ she said. “I want to do well; I want the team to do well. I was only here two years but this team became my family.’’

Jamesville, N.Y. product Jaworski, who transferred in from Binghamton, knows she’s going to miss the team and the family atmosphere it fosters.

“I’m going to miss it so much,’’ she said. “I have another semester but I am going to miss being on the team, guidance from my coaches, support from my team mates.’’ J

aworski said even though she wasn’t with JU originally, the honor of being in the first senior class isn’t lost on her.

“Although I’m not a member of the inaugural season of this team, I’m honored to be in the class,’’ she said. “I’ve enjoyed this so much and have grown so much from this program I’m proud to call myself a JU Dolphin.’’

The marketing major (with a minor in economics) has sent a few resumes in preparation for her fall graduation but had no definite plans.

“I have some time to decide,’’ she said. “It doesn’t matter where I am, I’ll make something of it.’’

Hynes, from Albany, N.Y., finds it hard to believe how fast her college career has gone.

“It’s crazy,’’ said Hynes, who transferred from Louisville after her freshman year and will graduate this fall. “These four years of college has gone by so fast. I’ve had a lot of changes and I’ll really miss the team but I’m glad I’ll still be around.’’

Like her peers, Hynes said the team has been her family.

“It has been like a family for me,’’ she said. “I have made some great friends here and friends I will have for the rest of my life.’’

The impact lacrosse and the team have had on her may be hard to measure, but Hynes said there clearly are things she will take with her.

“Responsibility and teamwork,’’ she said.

Hynes, too, is still figuring out what to do after graduation but has one idea in mind for the future.

“I have really big plans to win the lottery,’’ she said.

The lone original JU program player, Hotchkiss, has been playing with a sense of urgency all season of what may be her last.

She will be the first program graduate, this spring, but is working on getting a fifth year of playing through a medical waiver.

“Right now, it’s kind of this weird limbo,’’ she said. “Not knowing if I’ll have a fifth year I have been playing with a lot of intensity.’’

The Manlius, N.Y., product says she is having mixed emotions heading in to Saturday’s game against Presbyterian College.

“I’m really excited but kind of sad at the same time,’’ she said. “Lacrosse has been such a big part of my life for so long and such an important part that it’s going to be weird to leave that behind.’’

As for what history will show …

“It’s awesome to leave a legacy like being one of the first people to start this program and it will be awesome to come back as an alumni and see where the program goes,’’ she said. “I know coach McCord will take the program to great heights. I’ve made some really, really great bonds throughout the whole thing. Probably the best thing about a team sport is the family aspect we have here.’’

- Jim Nasella