Athletics Celebrates Fall Senior Student-Athletes
(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) – Despite not being able to compete this semester, the Carnegie Mellon University Athletics Department paused to celebrate its seniors on Saturday, October 17, as the program recognized the career accomplishments of fall senior student-athletes. Forty-six seniors were recognized from men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. The athletics department hosted a celebration in conjunction with the university’s 2020 Virtual Homecoming.
The program began with Director of Athletics Josh Centor congratulating the student-athletes and teams for their performances throughout their Tartan playing careers. He also stated that the coaches, faculty and senior administration understand that the seniors honored on Saturday have spent their lives working toward athletic goals and dreaming about the opportunity to compete at the highest level and that there is heartbreak and loss.
“When you lead an athletic program, when you are a coach and when you are a student-athlete, each season and year is supposed to build on each other,” Centor said. “This year is far from anything we ever expected, and we know it has affected you deeply. While you aren’t out competing the way you had hoped to this fall, I do want to make sure each of our student-athletes recognizes the impact you have had on our community with your excellence, and the impact you will continue to have as a result of the legacy you have created.”
Centor not only talked about the accomplishments achieved on the field by Carnegie Mellon teams, but also recognized the academic excellence that defines the student-athlete community, further illustrating this point by noting that in the fall of 2019, 104 student-athletes obtained a 4.0 GPA.
The fall head coaches each took a few moments to recognize their programs and talked about the achievements their senior class has accomplished. Following the coaches, football student-athlete Mason Tolliver and women’s soccer student-athlete Abby Kuznick, spoke about their experiences over the last four years and what it meant to be a Tartan.
“Obviously, it was a tough pill to swallow for all of us senior athletes when the news came down to cancel our seasons,” commented Tolliver. “One lesson from former defensive coordinator Terry Bodnar rang through my mind and helped me understand what needed to be done to make the best our current situation. ‘Do or do not…there is no try.’ In a football context that means do your job, execute your assignment, and make the plays you are supposed to make. Now it means so much more. It was a turbulent summer dealing with the pandemic, social unrest, and general uncertainty. There were many excuses on the table to be used when we returned to our internships, academics, and eventually football. Like football, you have to make adjustments to the game plan and do what is required of you.”
Kuznick shared that during her Tartan career, the women’s soccer program achieved two successful NCAA Tournament campaigns with trips to the Sweet 16 and Final Four, making school history and memories along the way that will never be forgotten and will be something she will tell her kids one day.
“I am thankful that the women’s soccer team and athletics department has made me a better, more mature person and gave me life-long friendships,” said Kuznick. “I will miss the camaraderie from my teammates and helping one another. For every other senior who has lost their last season, we are all in this together and I hope we can all stay connected to CMU athletics and make the most out of this year.”