Every athlete can describe a time in their athletic career when a coach told them to give it their all and leave it all out on the field or court. However, spectators rarely understand the extent of this effort simply by watching a game from the stands. Blue lacrosse midfielder Nikki Sharkin ’17 showed Blue fans first hand what it means to give it your all in order to ensure a victory. Sharkin fell while defending a Mount Holyoke midfielder who retrieved a clear and severely broke her wrist. Though disheartening to see such a brutal, season-ending injury, Sharkin was named NEWMAC Lacrosse Co-Offensive Player of the Week for the week of April 25 for her notable efforts. Sharkin’s athletic talents are also shown on Blue Field Hockey team on which she also plays midfielder. Wellesley News spoke with Sharkin in an interview where she describe her town of Summit, New Jersey’s strong lacrosse legacy and how soon we can expect to see her back in play.
Laura Brindley ’16 (L.B.): Who or what inspired you to play lacrosse?
Nikki Sharkin ’17 (N.S.): My town is really big on lacrosse. It’s like how soccer is normal to most people, but in Summit, lacrosse is what you start out with. My brother started before me and it was one of those things you are expected to do. I started in second grade, so I have been playing for a while.
L.B.: You also play field hockey at Wellesley. How does your approach to the two sports differ?
N.S.: They are completely different. I start training for lacrosse in the winter, so the training is different. We do fewer short sprints and it is more long-distance sprinting. The people on the teams are also very different and adjusting at first is hard. We go straight from field hockey into lacrosse training and you don’t really know the first- years who came in because you didn’t spend the fall with them. Once you get into season, it is very natural and you become best friends with everyone.
L.B.: Aside from your injury, what has been the most exciting or memorable moment of this season?
N.S.: It was exciting when we beat Emerson. We lost to Emerson last year, and the assistant coach my first year is now their head coach, so it’s kind of one of those rivalries. We wanted to beat her because she beat us last year. We went into that game with fire under our feet, so it was exciting when we won.
L.B.: Describe what led to your broken wrist last Saturday against Mount Holyoke.
N.S.: [Mount Holyoke] was clearing the ball out of their defensive end and I was defending the girl who got the clear. She changed direction suddenly and it rained that day, so my feet slipped from under me and I fell back on my left hand. My arms were straight, so it just cracked.
L.B.: Will you be healed in time for field hockey season this fall?
N.S.: The recovery time is three months, so I should be back in early August. I can still run throughout the summer and will start going to physical therapy. I just can’t play until early August.
L.B.: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
N.S.: It depends what day it is. If it is a Wednesday game, then I eat lunch in the Lulu, go to Starbucks and get an iced coffee. Before every game, I drink this green powder that is a bunch of mushed up vegetables. I like to lead the team in dancing, but sometimes I don’t get everyone up.
L.B.: What is the best part about being a midfielder?
N.S.: It is awesome to play on both sides because you can see both ends of [the game]. It is nice to be able to cause errors on the other team that lead you onto attack so you can score. You are a part of everything.
L.B.: If you could give a word of advice to a prospective student who wants to play both field hockey and lacrosse at Wellesley, what would it be?
N.S.: Get ready to devote a lot of time, but you won’t regret your decision to do both.
Blue Lacrosse closed out its season on Saturday with a 16-13 loss against MIT on Saturday in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals.
Photo courtesy of wellesleyblue.com