Finley Edmonds, Trumansburg
College is often a time of discovery. Whether socially, academically or otherwise, college students are often trying new things for their first time in their lives. Rarely, however, does that include athletics.
But Trumansburg’s Finley Edmonds is taking on a new sport as she heads to Ithaca College in a couple of weeks. A soccer and track and field standout at Charles O. Dickerson High School, Edmonds will begin rowing for the first time as a member of the IC crew team.
Her journey to the water began with a painful moment on the grass.
“I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus, and fractured my femur playing soccer,” she said. “I knew then that my plans to play soccer in college were probably over.”
Edmonds called a friend of hers who had suffered a similar injury playing soccer and started rowing afterward. The friend encouraged Edmonds to talk with IC crew coach Becky Robinson.
“The coach took one look at me and said, ‘Yeah, you can probably row,’” said Edmonds, who is 5’10”. “She then told me about rowing and showed me some videos. I happened to be reading ‘The Boys in the Boat’ [a book about the U.S. crew that won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin] in English class and began to like the idea of rowing.”
Edmonds, who was also a sprinter on the Trumansburg track and field team, rowed for the first time this summer as part of a learn-to-row program at the Cascadilla Boat Club.
“It was cool, but I didn’t realize how unstable the boats could be,” she said. “I had to use my muscles in a different way, but I really enjoyed it.”
Being a true rookie to rowing will require Edmonds to continue to adjust when she gets into the boat with the Bombers this fall.
“I’ve been playing soccer and running track almost my whole life, so I’m eager to change things up and do something different,” she said. “Having a capable coach and helpful teammates will make it a lot easier.”
While her athletic environment will be new, Edmonds is familiar with the college. Her oldest brother started attending IC in 2010, and she’s loved the school since her first visit.
“It’s a homey campus that doesn’t feel super huge,” she said. “It’s easy to fit in there.”
Edmonds advises other athletes who suffer serious injury to not assume it means the end of their athletic careers.
“Don’t let it slow you down,” she said. “I had a major injury and now I’m stronger. You may have to look in a different direction, but you can still live your dreams.”
Reese Lockwood, Groton
Going into the college selection process, Groton High School graduate Reese Lockwood made a couple big decisions. He was going to major in childhood education and wrestle, having chosen the winter sport over soccer. Where he would do so was still to be determined.
Then, last fall, Lockwood met with Don Murray, the head wrestling coach at The College at Brockport, and the “where” fell quickly into place.
“He’s very invested in the team,” Lockwood said. “His focus is on the athlete as a whole, not just on their performances.”
Murray, who is entering his 50th season at Brockport, has led the Eagles to five national team titles and 13 national semifinal appearances and is one of three college coaches to coach 100 or more All-Americans.
“I was also considering Oneonta and Cortland because they both had childhood education majors,” Lockwood said. “But coach Murray was so awesome that I decided on Brockport.”
It didn’t hurt that the Brockport roster included several wrestlers from the Armspin Army Wrestling Club in Big Flats, Lockwood’s summer wrestling home.
“It’s always nice to see people you know when walking into a wrestling room for the first time as opposed to seeing nothing but strangers,” Lockwood said.
Lockwood has seen less time with the Army this summer since he aged out of many meets as a high school graduate. But he did join the team for a trip to Virginia Beach for the National Team Duals in May. Lockwood won four of his seven matches as the Armspin Army went 7-1 to earn a top-24 finish out of nearly 200 teams.
This came on the heels of a senior season that saw Lockwood reach the sectional finals and post a win at the state tournament.
“I had gone 0-2 at states the year before, so I really wanted to win at least one match this year,” he said. “It was a great feeling.”
As a freshman at Brockport, Lockwood will move to the bottom of the seniority ladder while moving up a weight class from 152 pounds to 157 pounds.
“It will be different to be one of the young guys out there, but it will be good to have worked my way back to the top,” he said.
Bryan Meeker, Newfield
As Bryan Meeker wrapped up his Newfield High School baseball career this past spring, he was concerned about the increased academic and athletic demands that college brings. Having decided to attend Alfred State, Meeker talked with baseball coach Mike Armstrong, who assured him the team’s practice and game schedule was set to minimize interference with classes, partially by using weekends and school breaks for longer trips.
“After that, the question for me became whether playing in college would interfere with family time,” Meeker said.
Meeker was a first-team Interscholastic Athletic Conference All-Star this past spring and won Newfield’s Cancro award, given to the athlete who best leads by example both on and off the field of play.
“Playing baseball would mean I wouldn’t be able to come home very much, and even if my family came to watch me at nearby games, I still wouldn’t get to spend much time with them,” he said. “They were very supportive of me playing in college, but I decided it would be better to get my roots set in college and not overpack my schedule by trying to play baseball at the same time.”
While Meeker said the decision whether to play baseball in college was a difficult one, choosing a school was much easier.
“One day, my guidance counselor Mr. [Rick] Pawlewicz asked if he could show my grades and test scores to a representative from Alfred State who was at the school,” Meeker said. “I said sure, but I didn’t have Alfred State in mind at that point.”
Later, Pawlewicz told him a representative from Alfred State said that he could get a full ride there for academics.
“They immediately jumped to the top of my list,” Meeker said.
Meeker said he plans to get an associate degree in engineering sciences at Alfred State before looking to transfer to another school to complete a bachelor’s in chemical engineering.
Although Meeker may try to play baseball as a sophomore at Alfred State, he got a head start on his post-playing career this summer by coaching Newfield’s 16U baseball team. He had some help from high school coaches during games and some practices, but Meeker did most of the hands-on coaching and teaching with the squad.
“Being able to teach younger players how to play the game was enough to keep me from missing it too much,” Meeker said. “I’ve always liked to help people learn things.”
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