Student-Athletes Reflect on Time at Maine
ORONO, Maine – On Saturday, May 7, the University of Maine will hold its commencement with 85 Black Bear student-athletes receiving their degrees. Below are student-athlete thoughts as they reflect on their time at the University of Maine.
Troy Barnies, men’s basketball
“What a incredible four years of college I have had. Going into college I wanted to play basketball and UMaine made my dream come true. I have fulfilled everything I wanted to do during my time at Maine. Being a UMaine student-athlete has been the toughest thing I ever thought I would be able to do, but yet I had the most fun of my life doing it. I wouldn’t have had it any other way: getting a college education and playing the sport that I love while representing my community, my school and my state that I'm from.”
Conor Keating, football
“"Its been a great four years at Maine. Being a student athlete has been a grueling but rewarding experience. Its too bad it had to end."
Allison Conner, women’s cross country and track and field
“It meant a lot for me to wear the Maine uniform for both track seasons and for cross country. Whenever I put that Maine jersey on I immediately thought about giving that race everything I had to contribute towards the team. Being a part of UMaine athletics taught me selflessness and to always strive for the best possible team performance.
I have learned so much in my four years here. I have learned a lot about running, multi-tasking, professionalism, and maintaining life long friendships with people on my team as well as other teams in our conference. I was blessed with one of the best coaches I have ever had during my stay here. I will be forever grateful for everything he has taught me and all of the time he has spent with me.
While being an athlete here I was also able to find the perfect career path for myself. The Social Work program has taught me so much about myself and opened my eyes to what I want to do for the rest of my life with an amazing internship at Eastern Maine AIDS Network. After school I will continue my service with the Peace Corps in Asia. The lessons I have learned as a student athlete here at Maine will stay with me forever. I really believe they have made me a much stronger person. I will always remember all my positive experiences here at the University of Maine and will be forever thankful.”
Jeff Ramos, men’s track and field
“Being a student-athlete here at the University of Maine has been a long and demanding process, as I am sure it is at any University. I remember hearing my athletic trainer, Sam Walton, once say: "Student-Athletes are the busiest people in the world." I couldn't agree more. Being a full-time student and full-time athlete is tough, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Being a student-athlete here at the University of Maine has helped me be well prepared for what is beyond college. I always thought I would be nervous and a bit scared about graduating and going out into the real world, but I truly believe that I am more prepared than I will ever be. It’s all because of the hard work out on the track and the hard work in the classroom.”
Kelsey Wilson, women’s soccer
“These past four years have gone by too fast. It feels like just yesterday I was trading in my high school soccer jersey for a University of Maine jersey. Being able to represent my team, as well as my home state, on the soccer field these past four seasons has truly been an honor.
Joey Martin, baseball
“Playing a sport at the University of Maine is more than just playing a sport, it becomes a way of life. You make friends, work hard, play hard and keep extremely busy. But more than that, it teaches you to succeed after school.”
Courtney Veinotte, field hockey
"Putting on my uniform and walking out to the field hockey field for a game was an astounding feeling, especially the last time, my senior game. Being a Black Bear and part of the field hockey team here the past four years has been an experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. The connection that I have made with my teammates, coaches, and others within the Black Bear community are ones that I will maintain for life. It has been an amazing experience to come in and be a part of a program that has become stronger every year. The hard work, consistent effort, and love of the game from the players and coaches has truly shown with our play. Graduating from Maine as a student-athlete is an honor that will, and has already, set me up for success."
Caitlin Shelley, women’s swimming and diving
"I have been proud to wear the Maine uniform these past four years as a student-athlete. My experience as a black bear has been rewarding in many ways and I think I have learned so much from my coaches, teammates and administrators.
As we all know, it is not easy balancing academics and athletics but I have felt that every step of the way there has been someone there to help me through it. My coaches have not only taught me to be self-disciplined but truly showed they cared about my success in the pool and in the classroom. I could always find an administrator when I needed help with something and I never felt alone within the Black Bear community.
As I graduate from UMaine I will never forget what this athletic program has done for me since it has helped me grow as an athlete and helped turn me into a successful human being. I have accomplished all the goals I set for myself as a freshman and more because of this athletic program and I will miss everyone involved. So thank you UMaine Athletics for your time and commitment to me and my fellow Black Bears – keep the tradition going!"
Jennie Gallo, women’s ice hockey
“It meant so much to me to be a Black Bear at the University of Maine, that words can't describe the true feeling. Stepping on the ice every day to represent the University of Maine and my country, with my teammates, was an absolute honor. I was very blessed to have the opportunity to do this for four years. I have memories that will last forever from the experiences that I have had in Maine. I will miss my teammates, friends, teachers and playing the game when I graduate, but I know that being a student-athlete has helped shape me into the person I am today. So wherever I go, I will always remember I am a Black Bear at heart. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout these four years."
Jeremy Bender, men’s swimming and diving
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the University of Maine and can honestly say that some of the best moments of my college career were related to athletics or shared with my teammates. To me, being a Black Bear means taking pride not only in the University, but also your teammates and yourself, and I think all of us try to uphold this even outside of competition. The discipline and determination required to be a student-athlete molded me into the person I am today, and I couldn't have imagined my college experience being any more rewarding. As I prepare to graduate the feeling is bittersweet; I'm pumped to move on to exciting new things but at the same time sad to leave behind the best four years of my life. They say that even when you are gone you're always a Black Bear, and I'm excited to remain involved in UMaine athletics. Go BLUE!"
Tanna Ross, women’s basketball
“Ever since I was little it was my dream to be a Black Bear. Now that I have accomplished that dream I see what I have learned as a Black Bear and how it has helped prepare me for life after UMaine. Outside of being a UMaine student- athlete, the people I have met along the way have made this an unforgettable experience.”