Eastside’s Athletes of the Year 2018-2019 Interviews

Female Athlete of the Year: Sarah Pierce (‘19)

Sophie Levine (‘19): What does winning Athlete of the Year mean to you?

Sarah Pierce (‘19): “For me, it means a lot more than just the sport component like the athleticism. It comes with being part of a team and becoming a leader and a captain of the team. I try to be an example for other teammates and I feel so honored to be chosen because there are so many incredible athletes at East who contribute a lot to the school community, all the athletic programs so I feel very honored to be chosen among a great community of athletes. I feel honored because of the example that I can set for other female athletes and any other athlete at school. It’s such an honor to represent East. Every time I put on the jersey, I feel a lot of pride to represent my school.”

SL: Why do you love running?

SP: “I love running because I really like the outdoors part of it. Going outside helps clear my mind a lot. I really like going to different places to run. We go on trails, roads and we explore different areas.I can run with my teammates and I fell in love with being able to do that. I really enjoy running with boys and girls on my team and having conversations with them on runs. The competitiveness of the meets is something I love.”

SL: Which is your favorite: Cross Country, Winter Track or Spring Track and why?

SP: “That’s a really tough question. I like Cross Country a lot because I like the course a lot. We run on trails and the races are 5ks for Cross Country, so I really like that part of it, but I also like Winter Track a lot because I think that’s my favorite season because we do a lot of relays. I like doing relays with my teammates, so that’s really fun to do with other people. The Toms River Bubble is an indoor track and the energy going to the bubble is amazing. There are a lot of people cheering, a lot of teammates a lot of teams there so that’s cool. With Winter Track, it’s a combined boys and girls team so we are all one big team during Winter Track, whereas for Spring Track we are more separated. I like how in Winter Track we are all together and we all cheer for each other.”

SL: What is your mindset going into each meet?

SP: “Going into each meet, I’m always really nervous no matter what race it is I always get pretty anxious for it. I have this metaphor that I think helps me a lot. I think my training is almost like a tool belt like a construction worker has. I think each run, each workout and all the miles are like another tool added to the belt. When I go into a race, I think that I have all of these tools from my training that I put in and my coaches have put so much in. I kind of start to relax and I think of all of the things I have done to get to this spot. Going into every race, I try to break it down by each lap or mile and I start to give it my all, of course. I pour everything I’ve done into that race.”

SL: How do you possess leadership abilities?

SP: “I’ve gotten a lot closer with a lot of my teammates because I used to be a lot quieter. I was definitely not a leader and I wouldn’t really talk much. Starting senior year I became more outgoing and talkative. I felt more confident and the confidence that my teammates gave me actually helped me be more of a leader. They have always supported me and believed in me and kind of helped me open up more. Once I felt more confident, I was able to help all of my teammates and able to connect with everyone, not just a specific group. Setting a good example, being consistent with training and good etiquette at races along with having a positive attitude trickles down to everyone else. Even if you’re really nervous, it is important to have a positive attitude so everyone feels that energy.”

SL: What do you consider your strongest quality as a runner?

SP: “I would say I am stronger at the longer distances, but I don’t have a very good kick. I guess more of my strengths would be remaining steady throughout the race. Resilience is another strength. I got hit by a car when I was a sophomore when I was running and I broke my shoulder. That took awhile to recover from. Just from the physical standpoint because my shoulder (collarbone) was broken and my shoulder was detached. Getting back on the roads and running kind of made me really nervous. When I run on roads the sound of cars and seeing cars made me really nervous. It took a lot of time to get my confidence back, but in the end I think that whole experience made me a lot stronger because I’ve been pretty resilient. It helped keep me more focused on my goals and become a lot tougher.”

SL: What was your favorite moment of this past season and why?

SP: “In Sectionals for Cross Country we made it to States as a team. When our team won the Olympic Conference it was so exciting. We found out and we were all cheering together.”

SL: What do you think was your biggest accomplishment this past year?

SP: “Meet of Champs Cross Country. I made it through Sectionals to States and I thought my team was finished, but we saw how the results played out and we actually made it to the finals of the State competition through a wild card. I qualified for the Meet of Champs and in that week on the same course, I dropped 40 seconds. To be able to drop 40 seconds on the same course in just one week was probably my biggest accomplishment. It put me at 25 in the state. I beat my time from sophomore year and I hadn’t gotten back to that time since then so it was great to get back.”

SL: What are your goals for running at Boston College?

SP: “Hopefully just easing into the team and making new friends. For college I will be running the 6k so I’m hoping to stay healthy as a freshman. I hope to not get injured and adjust to the new training, new friends, new teammates and new coaches. For times, it’s hard to gage because I haven’t run the 6k before.”


Male Athlete of the Year: Mark Basehore

Jacob Kernis (‘20): What does winning athlete of the year mean to you?

Mark Basehore (‘19): “Winning Athlete of the Year means more to me than just a title. It’s an acknowledgement of all the hard work and effort I put into the betterment of myself throughout the years. While my performance may have shined this year, it really was a buildup all the way from Rec games to now. Countless hours on the field or in the gym is not seen by everyone but I am glad that my hard work showed on the field.”

JK: Why do you love soccer and baseball?

MB: “I love both sports because it’s a time and place when I get to be free. There’s no homework, no tests, no due dates. It’s a time to forget about everything else happening in life and lose yourself in the love of the game. Its two hours a day to become a better person both physically and mentally. Sports make you have a sense of ownership for your actions and as a captain for soccer it really helped develop my confidence with leadership skills.”

JK: How do you think those two sports bring out different strengths of yours?

MB: “Both sports have played an equal role in my mental development, but in slightly different ways. Baseball is a game of failure: hitting 4 out of 10 times is considered great but in school that is failing. This has taught me not to dwell on individual events but rather move on and look at the bigger picture. If you keep worrying about small mistakes they will continue to build, but if you move on and refocus you allow yourself a better chance to succeed at the next opportunity. Soccer teaches you mental resilience. With games that are so long, the last ten minutes is always a grind, but you have to tell yourself that you can do it and it’s all mind over matter: an important idea I take into all parts of my life. Both sports show my perseverance and resilience. Whether its soccer, baseball, a hard class, or even just a difficult problem, I have found that my resilience is something I can depend on. I never allow a challenge to beat me and I always try my best to succeed.”

JK: How has being a two-sport athlete changed your work ethic?

MB: “Being a two-sport athlete has taught me time management and planning. I simply cannot devote all my time to one sport. I must best split my time between baseball, soccer and schoolwork. That includes planning for efficiency and effectiveness. I always tried to study when I was most alert and train in as many ways as possible that overlap for both sports. I have learned that setting time frames and maximizing my effort during that time period is the best way to be prepared to be best prepared for all three.”

JK: How do you possess leadership qualities?

MB: “For soccer I helped lead a new weight room program and started a winter futsal program and held captains’ practices. As a two year varsity captain, I mainly learned how to lead as a junior and then come senior year was able to put what I had learned into full effect: when to confront teammates, how to lead by example and how to listen to others are only some of the many examples.”

JK: What has been your favorite moment in both soccer and baseball this past season and why?

MB: “My favorite memory from baseball occurred recently and it was our game against Cherry Hill West. The end score was 5-4, we won on a walk off hit and I scored the winning run from second base. At the time West was ranked number 1 in the state so it was a great win for the team because of their rank and the cross-town rivalry which had built up all throughout little league, middle school and high school which finally culminated in our last game against them. My favorite soccer memory must be ending my season, and ultimate soccer career on a hattrick, scoring three goals against Highland. I had grown up my whole life playing at Decou and our game against Highland was set to be my last game on that field. I have memories from when I was a little eight-year-old, looking up to the big high school players and what I could eventually become. It was a great pleasure to end my career scoring a hattrick for Cherry Hill East after looking up to the team for so many years.”

JK: What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment in either sport?

MB: “My biggest accomplishment was the same in both sports. Coming in as a freshman, both programs were in the dark days, mustering only a few wins a season. But this year the soccer team had a first winning season since 2012 and the baseball team is currently 13-3 as the 5 seed in the playoffs, something which hasn’t been done in many years as well. So, while both may seem unrelated at first glance, my biggest accomplishment has not been an individual success, but rather bringing a winning culture to both programs which I hope lives on for years to come.”