At this time of year, The Press takes the opportunity to catch up with student-athletes from our coverage area who have continued their athletic careers in college. This week, we spoke with East Hampton graduates Carley Seekamp and Amanda Seekamp, and Southampton graduate Matt Woolley. They spoke about the transition from the high school to college level, their individual goals, and their plans for the future.
Naval Academy, lacrosse: Seekamp and her sister, Amanda, were a powerful force on the lacrosse field for the Lady Bonackers, and have both brought their skills to the next level. Carley is gaining a unique experience as a student-athlete at the Naval Academy, which she says differs from the atmosphere at a traditional college.
“By attending the Naval Academy, I think I have a completely different perspective on college sports,” she said. “For midshipmen, sports are our escape from the daily grind of school and the military lifestyle. At USNA practice is a highlight of the day and I never take lacrosse for granted. I don’t dread going to difficult practices, because I know I am improving. Most of my closest friends are on the lacrosse team which makes practice that much more enjoyable. However, a difficult challenge in the transition from high school to college level is the consumption. At USNA we have very little time to do school work, military obligations, and have personal time; much of this time is then taken up by lacrosse. I definitely underestimated the amount of time and energy it would take.”
Seekamp is coming off what she described as a “great” fall ball season, where the Naval Academy played against some of the top programs in the country—including Georgetown, Ohio State, Syracuse, Louisville, Johns Hopkins and Towson—all of whom they had wins against. Seekamp and her teammates also squared off against several international teams.
“It was an amazing experience and a great way to be initiated into the Academy,” she said. “Currently, we are preparing for our spring season by doing drills, running, scrimmaging, and lifting.”
Seekamp said she likes the high level of competition offered at the Naval Academy, not just in the tough opponents her team faces but in practice every day.
“Our team is pretty big, consisting of 45 girls, and I like this because you’re constantly being challenged,” she said. “You have the opportunity to prove yourself each and every day. I’m one of 10 attackers, and got to see a little playing time this fall ball season. Right now, I’m still adjusting to the collegiate level and trying to get better every day.”
Seekamp said that between now and the spring season, she will focus on improving as much as she can so she can see as much time on the field as possible. And that’s basically her advice for any high school athletes who want to follow in her footsteps.
“The most important thing for high school seniors to remember is to always keep working hard,” she said. “Even when you think it doesn’t matter. If you want to play at the collegiate level you need to take advantage of any opportunity you have to improve.”
Hofstra, lacrosse: East Hampton graduates Amanda Seekamp and Jenna Budd have the rare luck to be teammates again. After being integral players for East Hampton together, they are reunited at Hofstra University, where Amanda Seekamp is a junior midfielder and Jenna Budd is a sophomore attack player. Budd played in eight games last season as a freshman, recording a goal and an assist. She was not available for comment at press time.
Amanda Seekamp said the fall ball offseason has been going well, as she and her teammates are getting ready for the more intense spring season.
“Right now is the more laid back part of the season,” she said. “It’s a lot of individual work with our coaches, weight lifting, conditioning and keeping our bodies healthy for the spring.”
Seekamp’s role on the team changed this year, as head coach Shannon Smith named her a captain.
“I can’t believe I’m already a junior,” Seekamp said. “My time here at Hofstra is flying by. As an upperclassman, I’m thrilled to welcome the younger girls and take on a leadership role and help them adjust to the college level. I think it’s important for teams to have good chemistry and positive team bonding, so that’s definitely something I plan on implementing this year.”
Seekamp made the move up the ladder steadily, proving herself as a freshman in a game against a powerhouse Maryland team, ranked in the top 10 nationally, where she scored five goals, and then continuing to play in every game as a sophomore.
Seekamp said adjusting to the college level and being in a new atmosphere was tough at first, but she now considers Hofstra her “home away from home.” She is majoring in business and marketing and is also part of the Hofstra Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
Seekamp says she has a lot she wants to accomplish in her final two years at Hofstra.
“A team goal I have is to win a CAA Championship and make it to the NCAA tournament,” she said. “That would be a great feeling and it’s really what we work for every day. Personally, I want to continue to grow as a player and a person. I love the relationships I have made here at Hofstra. I met a lot of great people and love the coaching staff. I’m going to continue to work hard athletically and academically because soon it will all be over. I want to enjoy my time and make the best out of everything.”
She says time management is key for being a student-athlete in college.
“My advice I would give to current high school athletes who want to play a sport in college is to make sure you manage your time,” she said. “It’s essential to make time for yourself on top of sports and school work. Your studies will be hectic and lacrosse won’t always be fun but it’s important to take it day by day. Also, have fun. You only go to college once, make the best of it.”
Springfield College, football: The Southampton graduate just finished his freshman season at Springfield College in Massachusetts, and said he enjoyed the challenge of competing for time on the field. Springfield ended the season with a 5-5 record, and while Woolley did not see much time in games, he said he’s hoping for an increased role as a linebacker next year.
“Before the season started, our positional coach talked to each player and told them how they’re doing,” Woolley said. “My positional coach said that I am doing great, I have a lot of potential at this position, and he also said if they needed to put me in the game for any reason at backer he would be very comfortable with it.”
While Woolley was listed as third on the depth chart, he did see time on the field with special teams, although injuries kept him off the field for part of the season.
Woolley said the transition from high school to college wasn’t quite as tough as he expected, and he said he tried making academics a priority, especially in his freshman year.
“I did focus a little more on school than I did on football because I feel it is more important now,” he said. “The training is definitely harder and more work, but I have no problem with any of that because I like to be pushed, and the feeling after.”
Woolley said his goals as he continues his career are simple.
“I want to work hard in the offseason and better myself,” he said. “I feel like if I do that, I have the chance of starting next year because we are losing our senior starting backer. There will be an upcoming senior and a junior, but I have enough confidence in myself that I could play over them. As far as a team goal, I want to help get more wins and get a better record and make the playoffs.”
If we missed someone in our Next Level series, let us know! Contact Sports Editor Cailin Riley and Sports Reporter Drew Budd at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.