DCDS Alumni Reflect on Collegiate Athletic Experience

Anagha Nayak, a former student at Country Day, is the leading scorer on Brown’s women’s field hockey team. She graduated in 2017 from DCD and has been preforming excellently since then. In high school she was a player and the captain of her team, and Brown university in Rhode Island clearly recognized that. Nayak recalls the difference between high school and college level sports.

 

Q: Do you feel like you were well prepared to play field hockey at the college level?

Yes, I felt extremely prepared for college field hockey. Conditioning and strength wise I was exactly where I needed to be. Playing on a travel team in high school helped me a lot also.

 

Q: What is the team dynamic like? How is it different?

The team dynamic at Brown is amazing, I absolutely love the team and all the girls on it. We all get along super well and are family to each other. It is different than the dynamic in high school because field hockey is a very big and important part of all of our lives.

 

Q: How are the practices different? Do you work more?

We practice everyday for three hours during the season with an additional hour of lifting two days a week. Practices are definitely more intense than in high school, but we don’t do anything special in preparation.

 

Q: Do a lot of students come to your games? How is the student section different than the Barnyard?

We actually do get a pretty decent student section. Teams at Brown come out to support each other a lot. During one of our games the men’s ice hockey, lacrosse, and football teams came to watch and support us.

 

Q: Do you feel more pressure playing at the college level?

Yes, there is definitely a lot more pressure at the college level because there is a lot more competition. If you make a mistake during a game it holds more weight. But just like at every level, once I start playing, I forget about the pressure and stress.

 

Q: Do you find it harder to manage playing sports and school or easier? Why?

It’s harder to manage doing both because field hockey takes up a significant portion of my time, but I think DCD really helped my time management skills.

 

Q: Do you plan to continue playing field hockey next year?

I will definitely be playing field hockey next year, not to be cheesy, but I can’t imagine my life without field hockey.

 

 

Varsha Yerasi, a DCD alum, graduated in 2016. She went to New York University to swim competitively at the college level. After freshmen year she decided to stop, but not before making an impact on the team. Her high school and college peers clearly recognize her leadership, and talent.

 

Q: What is the team dynamic like? How is it different?

A: The team was really big, so in many ways it was different. I never was with my whole team at one time, we all swim different events and so we were split up into different practices. On top of that, the team is just too big to all practice at one time. I was closer to other people in my class as well as other people who swam the same events as I did, which was mainly sprint butterfly. These were the people who I spent the most time with.

 

Q: How are the practices different? Do you work more?

A: The practices were a lot more rigorous. There were some days where I had 4.5 hours of practice in a day. I loved training and welcomed the discipline that came with it. Though it was tiring, I have always loved pushing myself in that sense. College swimming/life differs greatly from high school in that your class schedule is very different. I often had odd amounts of time between obligations, and it became important for me to efficiently utilize such time.

 

Q: Do a lot of students come to your games? How is the student section different than the Barnyard?

A: NYU is not a school that stresses athletics, nor has much school spirit surrounding it. The school is very much centered around the hustle of downtown Manhattan. As a result of such a culture, the people that came to watch our meets were often just friends and family.

 

Q: Do you feel more pressure playing at the college level?

A: There was definitely more pressure swimming at a collegiate level. I was by surrounded very talented athletes, so I was constantly being pushed. There was always someone either doing something better than me, or trying to. Every athlete on a collegiate athletic team is handpicked to be there because of their abilities, and because they are capable of winning national championships. So an increased amount of pressure naturally came with having the opportunity of competing at nationals and possibly winning a NCAA championship.

 

Q: Do you find it harder to manage playing sports and school or easier? Why?

A: DCDs is a very rigorous high school, so I think that having to struggle through such long days at school, as well as having to attend practice after school and also having to go home after that to study, and manage a personal life really made the days in high school seem endless. I would have to say that such rigor prepared me well for collegiate sports.

 

Q: Why did you stop swimming after your freshman year?

A: I quit swimming because I had didn’t like coaching style. My head coach often pushed swimmers too much, resulting in prolonged sickness, injuries, instability in the mental health of his swimmers, and in one instance hospitalization. In my personal experience, I was reaching a point where being on the team, under such coaching, was preventing me from having the college experience that I wanted. I began having terrible anxiety before practices, and as a result my mental health and college experience suffered tremendously. On top of that, something that is not talked about often enough in high schools, is the importance and value of diversity. As one of the only women of color on my college swim team, I found it very difficult to feel comfortable amongst my teammates.

 

 

 

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