Sixteen student-athletes represented the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) at the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana two weeks ago. Thanks to the NCAA Division III Strategic Initiative Grant, the student-athletes that attended were able to participate in activities such as education sessions, business sessions and the annual NCAA Honors Celebration. The NCAA holds a convention every year in order to vote on future rule changes and policies for its programs and student-athletes.
Melanie Savala, junior softball player represented UD while at the convention. One of her aspirations following graduation includes collegiate athletics, and she is considering becoming a coach or administrator in the future.
Savala said her favorite part of the convention was being involved and meeting people from other schools in the SCAC.
“I have been playing Softball since I was young, and I want to give other young girls the opportunity I had to play the sport I love so much,” Savala said. “I want to give back to the sport that gave me so much.”
Kevin McGuirk, a junior track and field athlete was the other representative.
McGuirk wasn’t a student-athlete his first semester at UD, but saw his GPA go up significantly after becoming one.
McGuirk noted the honors dinner the first night as his favorite part of the convention.
Awards included the inspiration award, won by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, the valor award, won by one of the FBI agents shot in the line of duty at the congressional baseball game last year and the Theodore Roosevelt award won by retired astronaut Butch Wilmore.
“The story that struck me the most out of all of them, and this is saying a lot, because there were a lot of really good stories, is the one by David Morrow, a former Princeton Lacrosse player and silver award winner,” McGuirk said. “He was a national champion, player of the year, defensive player of the year, and… he almost wasn’t any of them.”
Morrow struggled as a student and wanted to quit the lacrosse team, but his coach talked him out of it.
“He asked him ‘who are you to say what you cannot do?’” McGuirk said. “That just resonated with me so much because I think it is true for a lot of people. People say [to] themselves I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. I’ll admit it. There were a couple times in my life where I’ve done that. You see so many people who fail before they try because they say, ‘I can’t.’”
McGuirk believes everyone can learn from Morrow’s words.
“I thought that in that moment, not only all UD student-athletes should have heard this, but I wish the whole school could have been there,” he said. “I wish everyone here at UD could have heard David Morrow’s story, because it shows if you want something, if you really want something, there is nothing that can stop you from doing it except yourself.”
Morrow received the 2018 Silver Anniversary Award. While at Princeton, and under the supervision of famous collegiate Lacrosse coach Bill Tierney, Morrow led the team to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and the program’s first national championship in 1992.
McGuirk and Salvala will take the lessons they learned back to UD and apply them to their respective teams this upcoming season.