Alumna Mary McNally ’17 reflects on her participation in Walker’s athletics and how it has shaped her college experience at Siena College (NY). Mary is a captain and three-sport athlete, including cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
While at Walker’s, Mary ran cross country receiving the MVP award in 2014 and 2016. She served as the cross country captain in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Mary also was a member of the Ethel Walker Athletic Council (EWAC) in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
How did Walker’s prepare you for college as a scholar and an athlete?
There are many ways in which Walker’s prepared me for being a student-athlete. I think that the most important thing of all was that Walker’s provided structure and taught me how to manage my time. There is room to be an athlete and get all of your schoolwork done while receiving good grades and success on the field, track or wherever you may play. I have realized more than ever how grateful I am for learning that skill as it has been crucial to my success as both a student and an athlete.
What advice do you have on balancing academics and school?
I think the most important thing to remember when trying to balance both academics and your sport is that planning is everything. Your practice time is built into your day so it is your job to plan out your classes and study time outside of that. If you create a schedule for yourself and stick to the times you say you are going to get work done it is very easy to be successful.
How do you deal with injuries when you are a college athlete?
My freshman year I was injured and I was so upset. A senior at the time gave me the best advice and I give this advice to all of my teammates when they are injured. She said your job is to be the best at recovering, rehabbing and working hard on what needs to be healed. Your second job needs to be being the best teammate. This is your chance to focus on being a better leader, being a better friend, being more encouraging, watching amazing athletes play and learning from their strengths because when you come back you better hope you made the most of being injured.
What are your reflections of freshman year and how it now feels to be a senior and a senior during this COVID -19?
It has been a wild ride. When I came in as a freshman, I had no idea what it was going to be like. The seniors then would always say it goes by fast and i never believed them until now. It does go by very fast. Enjoy all of the ups and downs that come with it because there will be both and try to always leave practice or games with a smile no matter what the result. You will never regret it if you put your hardest effort forward every day.
How are the athletes at Senianna dealing with this pandemic? Do they meet online, do they have workouts? If you do meet, how important is it for you to meet with your teammates and why?
Siena is dealing with the pandemic very well. I am very proud of all of the wonderful teammates that I have. We hold each other accountable each and every day by checking in with each other. Our training has stayed the same and we are still getting out there each and every day to put in the work. Running is great because it is not something that has changed much for us. We can still put in the work with or without our teammates. However, we like to hold each other accountable to our runs because it helps reinforce our team goals for the upcoming cross country season. We are going to come back stronger and better than ever from this because we are good at just putting our heads down and silently grinding.
What can you say to encourage Walker’s athletes to play in college?
To all the girls thinking about playing a sport at the college level, you should go for it. Know that it is going to be hard work however, you are going to be surrounded by a team full of amazing other athletes who all share the same passion and love for the sport as you. That is something that very few experiences can give you. Do not give up on your dreams. It is hard and it is very time consuming however, it has been the best experience of my life.