Shaking off the rust

Most athletes in high school want to play at the next level. They want to continue what they started since an early age. But, sometimes that dream of playing in college doesn’t happen. It could be some circumstances that lead to a number of reasons why it doesn’t happen.

The one thing, however, is to never give up. It’s easy to say the dream is over and move on to something else. In the end, if you don’t try then you may regret it for the rest of your life.

Medialle College women’s lacrosse player Kelsey Beres isn’t your typical stud lacrosse player, which makes what she did last year for the Mavericks even that more interesting. Beres was a dominant force on the field while attending West Seneca East High School.

The Trojans aren’t known for their lacrosse pedigree, however. So, when it comes time to get looks for college not many were coming for Beres. Instead of pursuing lacrosse in college, she knew she was giving it up after graduation at West Seneca East.

“When I was looking for colleges as a junior and senior in high school, I didn't think I wanted to continue my lacrosse career, but rather focus on my education. Therefore, I didn't really look into colleges for lacrosse,” stated Beres. “There weren't many recruiters that came to our games unless they were specifically recruiting a player that was interested in their school and program already. I did receive some emails and letters from local schools and recruiters that came to some games. I feel like coming from a smaller lacrosse school, it was a little harder to get looks for college, but when I was in high school that wasn't necessarily what I was looking for at the time. If someone had really wanted to be recruited, they just had to reach out to coaches and programs and hopefully they would be interested in coming to watch a game.”

Fast forward a couple years and here is Beres once again on a lacrosse field. The junior got the itch to play again after talking to some friends who were already at Medaille. An up and coming program, the Mavericks have been recruiting the local schools hard - and Beres started thinking again what it would be like to get out there and be competitive.

She also thought about if she could play the game again after two years off. Mentally getting out there would’t be a problem, but physically could be a different story. Beres wanted to make sure she didn’t want to make a fool of herself when stepping out on the field.

She wanted to make sure she could contribute if given a chance. She was given a chance and succeed, finishing fourth on the team in points with (39) on 34 goals.

“I never could've imagined coming to Medaille and having such an awesome season with my team. Before coming to Medaille, I hadn't played lacrosse for about two years. I was nervous jumping back into the sport but everyone on the team made me feel so welcomed and comfortable,” stated Beres. “It came back to me easier than I expected and it felt like those two years hadn't mattered nearly as much as I had thought they would. It felt great to be able to contribute to the team and be a part of such a successful season.”

Beres didn’t come to Medialle just to play the sport of lacrosse again. It just happened to be an added bonus. She was looking for a good school that had a great childhood education program.

It just so happened that Medialle checked all the boxes. It also helped that she had a former teammate from hers in high school doing some strong recruiting. After looking into it, Beres found out that it was a good fit academically and now athletically.

“There were a number of things that led me to Medaille and to play lacrosse again. For one, one of my really good friends from high school played at Medaille. When she found out I was looking at Medaille, she urged me to play lacrosse again,” explained Beres. “Medaille also has a great early childhood/childhood education program as well which also set my sights on the school. What really drew me to lacrosse again was how much I missed being a part of a team and how much fun Division III lacrosse looked. I really liked how competitive yet fun Division III was and I also really liked the atmosphere and girls on the team at Medaille.”

Beres didn’t get the normal transition period most newcomers get. She didn’t have that freshman year to get used to the game. She had to get right back into the action, which meant going after it hard from the start.

As she noted the biggest part of the game is getting used to the physically part of the game. In high school, there are a few good teams and players, but the game is played more in space. In college, the game is played more with a physically aspect to it.

“I feel like the biggest difference between high school and college lacrosse is the physicality of the sport. In high school, there wasn't nearly as much physical contact allowed during a game,” stated Beres. “However, in college, there is a lot more allowed and the other teams can be very aggressive and physical. When it comes to college lacrosse, you have to get used to your defender not allowing you much space and pushing you around a lot more than you were used to in high school.”

While lacrosse has helped her get back those competitive juices, it’s the education field that’s calling her name. Everything she is working toward is for her post athletic career. Athletics can only get you so far in life, it’s what you do after that’s the most important.

For Beres, teaching is all she ever wanted to do.

“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to be a teacher. I love kids and I really want to be able to make a difference in my students' lives and education,” stated Beres. “Growing up, I had a lot of teachers that really impacted my learning and my life. I hope that one day, I can be that teacher for my students. I feel as though being an educator is exactly what I'm meant to do and I really enjoy the time I spend working in classrooms and with children.”

Beres also knows how important it is to have a solid work life balance. With so many people putting work above everything else, being able to have a great balance is important.

Sure being a college student-athlete is no easy task. But, Beres finds time to have other hobbies. She makes sure to be as well-rounded as possible.

“I think it is extremely important to have a solid balance between sports and other activities. Sometimes during lacrosse season, it can be very hectic and busy,” stated Beres. “It's really important to sometimes take time out of your day just to relax and do something you enjoy so you don't allow yourself to get too stressed out. College lacrosse and any sport is a big commitment, but it is also important to take time out for yourself to do other activities you enjoy.”