BLEACHER FEATURE: A conversation with Wellesley’s Athlete of the Week

By Emily Bary ’14
Editor in Chief

Wellesley’s field hockey team hasn’t won the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament since 2002, but this could be the year for the Blue. The team is 15-2 after Tuesday’s game, and ranked No. 13 in the country.
Part of the reason for the team’s success is the addition of six strong first years to the roster. Two of them, Courtney Peterson ’17 and Nikki Sharkin ’17, are among the leading scorers for the Blue.
I sat down with Sharkin to ask her about her time on the team so far. Excerpts of our conversation follow.

Emily Bary (E.B.): When and why did you start playing field hockey?
Nikki Sharkin (N.S.): I started in seventh grade when my friend asked me to join the team with her.

E.B.: Why did you decide to play at Wellesley?
N.S.: When I met the coach I really liked her, and there was a great team atmosphere. That was what I was looking for so that’s why I came.

E.B.: How has your transition to college athletics been?
N.S.: It’s a lot tougher than it was in high school. We run more and I didn’t lift at all in high school, but it’s helped me become a faster and stronger player. I also really like the support I receive from my teammates.

E.B.: You played both lacrosse and field hockey in high school and plan to do so here too. What’s it like being a two-sport athlete?
N.S.: It’s hard with school and everything else to do both, but it’s nice to be on two different teams with different girls who I am getting to know.

E.B.: What has been your best moment so far on the team?
N.S.: I think when we beat Trinity and Babson. We worked really hard to get those wins and it was nice to finally win because the team hadn’t beaten these schools in a while.

E.B.: What are your goals for the season?
N.S.: I want to work to beat MIT and score more goals than I did in high school, which was 14. [Sharkin has scored 10 goals so far this season.]

E.B.: What do you do to get ready before a big game?
N.S.: As a team we blast music in the mud room and do the wobble together. We also read from a book that one person has before the game to motivate ourselves.

E.B.: What do you eat before a game?
N.S.: Usually I have a sandwich, a bagel with peanut butter, an apple with peanut butter and a lot of Powerade.

E.B.: Are there similarities between playing lacrosse and playing field hockey?
N.S.: In both sports you have to run a lot. But there are a lot of differences. In field hockey you are bent over most of the time, and in lacrosse you have to worry about being offsides. It’s a lot easier to score in lacrosse.

E.B.: Thanks, Nikki.

After winning a thrilling game against MIT on Tuesday, Sharkin and the Blue earned the first seed in the NEWMAC tournament. Wellesley wraps up conference play with a home game against Clark on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12 p.m.

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