baseball photo - butler
Senior student athletes, including members of the Men’s Baseball Team, looked back on the highlights of their athletic careers at MU.
Photo provided by Manchester Athletics

MU Student Athletes Reminisce about Favorite Memories at Manchester

Claire Butler

As the end of the school year is fast approaching, Manchester student athletes are reminiscing on their time here and looking forward to their future in the athletic world.

“Running cross country and track at Manchester was one of the greatest decisions that I have ever made,” JT Butler said. “It has allowed me to become a better person and make memories that I will never forget.”

Some of the best college memories took place as a part of a sports team at Manchester. “My favorite memory at MU was freshman year when the softball team went to Florida,” Alexis Beeman said.

Tyler Leonhard, wrestler, also appreciates the travel. “My best memories here have been the overnight trips with the team” he said.

Others looked to the connections they made. “All of the team bonding activities the tennis team did during my junior year were all memories I will cherish and look back on fondly because of the friendships that were formed,” Karly Eichenauer said.

One of Isaac Miller’s best memories was playing mixed doubles against Anderson with the women’s team captain, Karly Eichenauer. “We won!” he exclaimed.

Through their years as Manchester student athletes, many lessons were learned which helped shape their future as well as helped them grow as individuals. “Being on a sports team at MU has really shaped who I am as a person,” said Brett Kron, baseball catcher. “It has allowed me to bring my competitiveness to all aspects of my life.”

It teaches determination too. “Sports taught me how to work for things that I want,” said Jacob Van Pelt, baseball outfielder and pitcher. “It teaches time management, discipline, mental and physical toughness, how to overcome challenges vs rolling over and giving up. It teaches persistence and working as a team.”

Students also learn perseverance. “Tennis has taught me the valuable lesson of smiling through the tough matches and the hard times,” Eichenauer said. “It is so much easier to endure through hardships with a positive outlook, a smile, and a laugh.”

Emily Ewen, cross country and track runner said: “My responsibility, independence, and ability to rely on others has grown since coming here.”

JT Butler also appreciates the opportunity to grow professionally. “The leadership opportunities that I have been given at Manchester, through sports, has helped me to decide that I want to be in a career where I can have a major impact on someone,” he said. “I want to be a teacher and coach cross country and track in high school.”

Many other senior athletes have found their passion for teaching kids through athletics and staying in touch with their sport through coaching. “It has taught me to be a leader and work well with others,” said Taylor Erfman, women’s golfer. “That has carried over because I am a high school teacher and middle school golf coach right now.”

Van Pelt plans on teaching PE; and Alexis Beeman, soccer defense, and Tyler Leonhard, wrestler, plan on coaching their sport. “Being on a sports team has helped me build my character and encouraged me to become a wrestling coach at my former high school,” Leonhard said.

What advice can they offer? “Take it all in and make the most of it,” said Kendal Torrence, softball centerfielder. “Take a deep breath and truly appreciate the practices, road trips, coaches and teammates, because this is it.”

Other seniors have advice for underclassmen student athletes. “You have to buy into whatever program that you are becoming a part of,” Butler said. “Trust the process and make a lot of friends along the way because they will be your friends for your life past college too.”

Miller said: “Believe in yourself and do the work.”

Beeman said: “Play every game like it’s your last because you don’t realize how quickly it goes by.”

Kron said: “Everything is much bigger than yourself.”

Many athletes will not be giving up exercise, despite graduating. “I will play golf for the rest of my life,” Erfman said.

Van Pelt, Kron, and Kendra Davis also plan on playing golf post-graduation. “I plan on helping family learn and get better at the sport,” Davis said.

Eichenauer also has plans to work out. “Exercise is one of my plans to battle burn out in medical school, so I look forward to running and hiking for fun in the future,” she said. “If local tournaments return, I think I will try playing in some of those.”

Still more athletes will be continuing their competitive spirit in a local league or club. Torrence plans on participating in slow pitch with her mother on the weekends. Isaac Miller also plans to find a tennis league or an intramural basketball league to be a part of for fun. “I plan on doing some 5K’s and other fun runs with my friends, and I might even do a marathon just to say I attempted one,” Butler said.

Despite whatever sport they were a part of during their time at Manchester, they have all been able to grow, learn, persevere, and come out with friendships and memories that will be treasured forever. “My Manchester experience is one that I wouldn’t trade for the world,” Erfman said.