Well, this is it. Article No. 233 on the new website (second only to all-time legend Cole Stefan) is officially my last with The Daily Campus. Not to be cliché, but I never could have imagined this path for myself when I stepped foot on campus four years ago.
At the involvement fair my first week of classes, the only club that truly piqued my interest was the paper. Being a chemical engineering major with no journalism experience at the time, I really didn’t know what I was thinking — I just knew I wanted to contribute. What I found was a welcoming environment every Sunday night full of people just as passionate about sports as I was. One article every other week was enough for me, but suddenly I found myself writing more and more, to the point where I was volunteering to take stories before the weekly meeting even started.
Then, the pandemic hit. It was tough to write for the paper with no sports happening, so I distanced myself from the section a bit my second year, contributing remotely for professional sports but rarely attending meetings. By the time my sophomore year was coming to a close, I received a message from the outgoing Sports Editor, Danny Barletta, asking if I was interested in one of the editor positions for the next year. I’m still not sure how that role fell to me, probably the quietest contributor they had at the time, but I’m so grateful that it did. Despite juggling enough with tougher courses and a part-time job at Dog Lane Cafe, I decided to take the jump to Associate Sports Editor, which ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made.
There were plenty of bumps in the road along the way, particularly with personnel issues. Ashton Stansel, the Sports Editor, and I saw a lack of participation, as the entire paper suffered the lasting effects of the pandemic. We only had one other writer on staff, who would eventually leave that fall. It was a small group that semester, but we were thankfully able to get every sport covered, with most of our writers putting in that extra effort to keep us afloat.
Ashton graduated the winter of my junior year, which promoted me to Sports Editor while Taylor Coonan filled my old slot. Together, we continued what Ashton and I started, getting the section set up for a big senior year.
Today, with the help of ASE Stratton Stave, the department is in the best spot that it’s been in years. We have a talented staff of six (not including editors) as well as plenty of other, quick learning contributors that have all played a role in making the DC as strong as it is. We have an updated site, been more active on our Twitter page and been able to help our crew develop their skills and build their brands. The best part is, there’s still plenty of room for growth, something I know that Stratton and new ASE Evan Rodriguez will do a fantastic job with next year.
On a personal note, this job has meant everything to me – giving me lifelong friends and memories, as well as key leadership and communication skills I will take with me forever.
I was fortunate enough to cover the men’s basketball team for two seasons, a program I’ve been watching with my father since I was very young. Having the opportunity to cover a National Championship-winning season was truly incredible, especially considering the bumpy road the team took over the past eight years.
At some point, I transitioned from a typical column over to Husky History, highlighting former UConn athletes that aren’t as well-known to the student body. It was an honor to tell the stories of these 20 athletes. While it was sometimes a lot of work, every one of them was truly rewarding.
I certainly wouldn’t be in this position without the help of so many others, and these are just a few that I’d like to thank.
Thank you to Danny (and former ASE Conner Gilson) for reaching out with this amazing opportunity. I truly wouldn’t be here had you not sent me that text a couple years ago.
Thank you to Ashton for taking care of business with me that first semester back on campus, and setting the foundation for what was to come. I wish you could see our meeting turnout now.
Thank you to Taylor for being a perfect counterpart that second semester, always willing to help the section in any capacity and helping it grow to what it is today.
Thank you to every member of the section, no matter what capacity you contribute in. We have such a passionate group of writers every year, willing to go the extra mile. You are the reason the Sports Section is as strong as it is.
Thank you to outgoing Business Manager Zach Wisnefsky, who helped us cover so many off-campus events in an exciting year for UConn sports.
Thank you to both Evan and Cole, who have been the two foundations of this section for the last couple of years. You guys were thrown into the fire just as much as Ashton and I, and are now the template that every new writer should aspire to be.
Thank you to Stratton for being my right hand all year long, and for reaching out to get involved with the DC the literal day after you graduated high school. Never lose your ambition and drive. I can’t wait to see what you can accomplish next year and beyond.
Lastly, thank you to The Daily Campus, the tiny little building behind Storrs Center that gave me memories for life.