Those competing in the Winter athletics season know how this time of year can bring its own set of challenges. Senior Valentina Morakis has demonstrated her ability to meet these challenges where they fall, and has provided outstanding contributions to the basketball team on and off the court. To that effect, The Wellesley News is excited to announce that Morakis has earned the title of Student Athlete of the Month this February.
Morakis, a biology major and psychology minor on the pre-med track, has represented Wellesley on the basketball court since her first year where she started eight conference games. Though the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted a portion of her collegiate basketball career, she finished her senior year with an impressive 150 points on the season. As the only senior member of the team this year, she had to take on a significant leadership role.
Teammate Taylor Hirn ’23 said, “Val has been an amazing teammate during my time here at Wellesley. She truly is someone who leads by example through her effort, hustle and positive attitude she brings everyday. She makes playing basketball so enjoyable and I can speak for the whole team when I say she will be missed next year.” The Wellesley News interviewed Morakis last week.
TWN: What will you miss most about your basketball career at Wellesley after graduating this spring?
VM: The thing I will miss most about playing at Wellesley is my teammates. We have formed great friendships on and off the court and I will be forever grateful to have met and competed alongside every one of them. I will also miss my coaches, strength coaches and athletic training staff. They’ve each helped me develop both as an athlete and as a person.
TWN: Have you faced any adversity as your season has progressed? If so, how were you able to overcome those challenges?
VM: This season didn’t quite go as any of us had imagined. We had several season-ending injuries and were forced to play many of our games with very few numbers. Those who could play had to take on roles they were not familiar with and sometimes play a full game with no subs which really took a toll on our bodies. Those who could not play had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to compete this season as well as watching their teammates struggle and not being able to help them. However, we stayed together, embraced our new roles and showed up to practice every day with a positive mindset.
TWN: What gets you most excited to play your sport?
VM: Playing with my teammates and celebrating our wins together.
TWN: What is something you’ve learned about yourself and/or the world since the start of the pandemic?
VM: I learned that things can change in an instant, so you should enjoy the moment and give everything you do your all, because you never know when it will be the last time you do it.
TWN: What are your plans after graduating from Wellesley?
VM: I am planning on applying to medical schools this May. Following graduation, I will be doing research for a year while I await medical school acceptances.
While not on the court, Morakis enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, learning new languages, hiking and spending time with her friends and family. Wellesley Athletics will miss her contributions to the community and wishes her well in her future endeavors.