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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Erin Sammarco the definition of student-athlete

Sometimes, in the world of high school sports, we lose sight of what’s really important. The focus on winning and signing that big DI National Letter of Intent somehow overshadows what matters most about scholastic sports. Having fun. Making friends. How in the phrase “student-athlete” the word student goes first for a reason.

Then you talk to someone like Erin Sammarco and everything falls into place again. You see a kid who knows her varsity career is fading into the history books and she wants to make sure she enjoys it down to the very last second.

“I came in and I was thinking oh yeah I’m just gonna have fun this season. Nothing else matters. We’re gonna win games and I’m gonna have fun doing it,” said Sammarco. “I think that this year my childhood is gonna flash before my eyes and I’m gonna (think) I didn’t have (enough) fun all these years. Now I want to catch up and have fun while winning.”

Sammarco, a North Tonawanda High School senior, is a three-sport standout for the Ladyjacks earning varsity letters in soccer, basketball and softball. More than just a winner on the field, Sammarco, who plays shortstop for NT, is the embodiment of what a student-athlete is supposed to be as she also excels in the classroom.

Named a Quality Student of the Tonawanda’s, Sammarco also won the Exchange Club of the Tonawanda’s Youth of the Month award and the PAL Female Athlete of the Year. “I feel like that over the past, not just four years because I’ve been involved in sports since seventh grade and eighth grade playing JV softball,” said Sammarco. “I feel like I’ve grown and that I’ve accomplished everything that I’ve really tried to-like top 10. I’m seventh in the (graduating) class. I feel like all my hard work is paying off.”

Far from shallow, Sammarco doesn’t view winning awards as the be all and end all of life. But they do have a deep, personal meaning to her as they represent growth as a person and serve as a reward for her hard work. From countless hours or practice on the playing fields to sleepless nights making sure all of her school work is completed and up to her high standards. The fact that she has received academic and athletic awards makes Sammarco smile as it shows that she has struck that balance in her world.

“Yeah I feel like me, trying to be that perfect student-athlete, because I strive perfection. No matter what I do,” said Sammarco. “Just getting these awards, different awards it’s not just school or just sports. I like having that balance of everything. It feels good.” Continuing her softball career at Mercyhurst, where she will study sports medicine, Sammarco has also been named a scholar-athlete and serves as a coach for NTAA cheer leading.

A natural born leader, Sammarco is the kind of girl who carries herself as a captain whether she wears the ‘C’ or not as she sets the right examples for her teammates every day.

“She’s basically that dream player that you want on your team,” said first-year Ladyjacks head varsity coach Alyssa Brosius.

“She’s coachable. She’s a natural born leader. She’s got that bubbly personality. I feel like she’s got that energy that is contagious. So I find that even if girls come in her a little bit tired and not necessarily in the mood to be here she peps them up. She’s just got that natural energy.”

Sammarco said that as a veteran on the team it’s her duty to step up and do whatever she can to help Brosius transition from JV to varsity coach-while also being there for the girls. While always maintaining a sense of humor that makes being together as a team fun.

“I’m really trying to help the younger girls, because we have a lot of younger girls on the team,” Sammarco said.

“Having (teammate) Laney (Wieclaw) there she’s my back up. She’s always there for me. So I feel like I’m just always trying to be like that for coach (Brosius) and coach Rachael (Kielaszek). Have them know that I can help. That I’ve been through this for four years. This is my fourth year on varsity.”

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