Five Lions named to NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship teams

Senior+captain+Oliver+Glass+led+by+example+setting+multiple+personal+records+through+the+season.

Photo: Jake Smith

Senior captain Oliver Glass led by example setting multiple personal records through the season.

By Jordan Pagkalinawan, Staff Writer, Sports

Five Emerson student-athletes were named to the NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship teams on Nov. 21, highlighting players’ efforts for fair and positive play.

The award recognizes athletes who “best [demonstrate] the ideals of the NEWMAC and its Code of Conduct, regardless of their overall performance or statistics for the season,” according to a press release from the conference.

Oliver Glass (men’s cross country), Sam Zannotti (women’s cross country), Gina Lukoskie (women’s soccer forward), Bo Feekins (men’s soccer) and Jillian Kay (women’s volleyball) represented Emerson in this year’s nominees.

For Kay, the award was a recognition and validation of the little things she does to help the team, particularly since the recipients were voted in by their teammates and coaches.

“Giving my teammates high-fives, always having a smile on my face, having a positive attitude—it means the world to me to know that those little things make a difference,” she said.

Transgressing through various sports, sportsmanship is displayed in multiple forms. Glass, who is a three-year senior captain, said the quality holds major significance.

“Cross country is a sport where people take sportsmanship very seriously,” he said. “It always feels good to be recognized as someone who is a strong sportsman and takes pride in the value of good, fair competition.”

Although statistics are not taken into account for the awards, Zannotti has led the way for the women’s cross country team—placing highest out of the eight runners at the NCAA Division III Regionals.

“To be chosen out of a small number of girls, it does mean a lot, because it means what I put into it, I’m getting out of it,” she said.

Lukoskie, commonly known by her teammates as “Spicy,” played a pivotal role in the women’s soccer team’s success whether starting or making an impact off the bench.

“It shows that my teammates notice the respect I have [for them] as well as for my opponents and other coaches we play,” Lukoskie said.

Feekins helped lead the men’s soccer team to historic heights and in his career has played clean in defense, only tallying three yellow cards in 46 games in his career.

The Lions named to the All-Sportsmanship Teams were each part of successful squads. The women’s volleyball team earned plenty of high distinctions, including an 18-5 regular season and being ranked third in their region—the highest in Emerson’s history. Women’s soccer took home the program’s first NEWMAC championship after a 12-4-5 season.  

Men’s soccer achieved a 10-3-6 overall record and made it to the NEWMAC Championship where they fell to Babson. Lastly, both men’s and women’s cross country teams finished 19th and 28th in regionals, respectively, with several individual accomplishments along the way.

Kay, Glass, and Lukoskie all chose to focus on how their teams contributed to their own successes.

“We look at all of our triumphs as a team, and none of it would be possible without each other,” Kay said.

Glass was proud of how the runners came together to build a family environment that led to high performances at meets.

Zannotti recalled winning the Runnin’ Monks Invitational with a time of 25:57 as a personal triumph for her, especially after she sprained her ankle there last season.

“I crossed the finish line and immediately turned to find coach [Brandon] Fox running next to me … for me to come back and do better than I thought I was going to do, that was huge,” she added.

The sophomore Zannotti was the lone underclassmen representing Emerson in the NEWMAC teams All-Sportsmanship teams.

“It’s an honor … I look up to those ahead of me and what they do in terms of sportsmanship and leadership,” she said. “So to be seen in the same light as them makes me excited for the next two years,” she said.

Each player remarked that team bonding away from the game stood out as fond memories and a key part of the Emerson experience.

“Spending quality time with the team that we had worked so hard with, it was an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve done and what we’ve built,” Glass said about a team trip to Maine. “We were the Most Improved Team in the NEWMAC this year.”

“Every day is a fun day. Practicing, hanging out with teammates and going out to dinner after games—all the team bonding outside of the games. We definitely have good team chemistry. The team culture we built is definitely a fun part, besides winning,” Lukoskie said.

Kay recalled the tight bond the volleyball team shared.

“That’s something I had never really experienced until I got to Emerson,” Kay said. “That team bond where we love each other on and off the court … My volleyball career is over, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it anywhere else.”

Reflecting on their careers as Lions, Kay and Glass pointed to the juniors and seniors who led the way for them as freshmen, showing them the ropes of being a student-athlete.

“They really set the example of what it’s like to be an Emerson Lion and to play for each other,” Kay said.

Of all the lessons Kay learned throughout her time at Emerson, perseverance is the one she will carry with her beyond college.

“We were the underdogs in a lot of situations, but we were able to come out on top,” Kay said. “The lessons I’ve learned have just been to be kind to other people, always play your game, and support other people along the way.”

Athletics provides many teaching moments throughout a season, and Glass noted how the skills he learned as a leader are just as applicable to other aspects of life.

“Having the privilege of being on this team as a member and as a captain teaches me a lot of lessons on teamwork and how to operate as a group,” Glass said.

For Zannotti, being recognized for her sportsmanship has motivated her to establish a new foundation for next year.

“I want things to be different,” she said. “I just kind of want everyone to cheer for each other, push each other and create a really positive space because it’s such a small team.”