By Forest Stulting
With the year winding down for spring sports, the collegiate careers of Furman’s seniors are also coming to an end. The Paladin decided to ask a few seniors about their time at Furman and their expectations for the last weeks of the season.
The first senior I spoke with was Greg Carrier, a senior golfer from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Carrier has been a regular on the squad since his sophomore year. After a tumultuous year for the program off the golf course, Carrier expressed his feelings about his time as a Paladin. “As a senior, it’s hard to imagine golf beyond the competitive team environment, but I’m very privileged to have been part of the Furman athletic community. I’ve made some incredible memories with my teammates during my college years and will miss competing and practicing alongside great friends.”
Carrier hopes to finish the year with this positive outlook. “Our last tournament, the SoCon Championship, is next week in Pinehurst, N.C. We are looking forward to a strong finish to the year and making a run at the title.”
Next, I spoke with senior softball pitcher Lauren Collier from Maineville, Ohio, about her thoughts on her time at Furman and her relationships with her teammates.
“I’ve had the time of my life these past four years, getting to know and establishing a sort of sisterhood with my fellow senior teammates as well as the rest of my team,” Collier said. “At times it was tough between all the morning workouts, conditioning, hours upon hours of practice, and having very little time for a social life… But if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I now have a family/sisters that I can always depend on and years from now will still have the same everlasting friendships with them. Friends that became sisters through thick and thin.”
As for the rest of the season, expectations are high, and the team is on the upswing. Her view on the weeks to come were nothing but positive.
“As of right now we are sitting in third place in conference,” Collier said. “If we can keep playing the way we have been and beat GSU, we can tie them for first. After that we will have two more conference series, but this weekend is by far the toughest and most important. I’ve never felt more confident and prepared in the last four years than I do now in my team that we can do it [win] and be the best in the conference. My ultimate goal and dream is to help my team make the NCAA tournament this spring!”
Next up was senior tennis player Nate Collins. Hailing from Manchester, Mass., Collins expressed his gratitude for his teammates, his coaches, and the fans.
“We are so thankful for our experience on the Furman tennis team over the past four years. We are lucky to have been coached by two of the best college coaches in the NCAA, Paul Scarpa and Kelly Jones. We also could not be where we are without the support of our fans, especially the sororities.”
Collins went on to say that his senior season has been the brightest thus far: “This year has been the most rewarding in terms of reaching our goals; we beat a ranked team, got ranked, and will most likely be the two seed in the SoCon tournament next week. Our senior year has flown by, but it is far from over. We have been stacking this whole season to peak at the SoCon tournament, and that is exactly what we plan on doing.”
Catherine Burton, a senior track and field athlete from Marion, N.C., said that she will remember her Furman experience for the rest of her life, saying “My time at Furman has been shaped by my experiences with my teammates. Running mile after mile and participating in difficult workouts with them has created a very special bond that I will forever value. I will always keep in touch with my teammates.”
Burton is also looking forward to finishing the season strong.
“Our final competition will be the Conference meet where we hope to score as many points as possible,” Burton said. “Top eight finishers in each event score points.”
Finally, I spoke with baseball player Brant Masters from Lakeland, Fla.
“It has been nothing short of great,” Masters said. “You come in freshman year not sure what to expect and within a few short weeks, I had a group of friends and teammates. Four quick years later, I have a family. Thank you to all the guys that made these past four years worth it.”
For Masters, this family will be finishing the season confidently, positively, and together.
“This season has fallen way short of what anybody expected, but the way this team has stuck together gives me hope that we can turn it around. There has been a different sense this past week. We are heading into a huge conference weekend and have a different feeling. We are just looking for a little spark to get the fire burning and play like we know we can play.”