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Nicholas Taking it in Stride

Middlebury's two-sport star living in the moment while waiting for clarity
Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 6:53 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It would be hard to find anyone who has experienced as much on-field success as rising Middlebury senior Erin Nicholas.

“It’s been incredible,” Nicholas said. “It’s been very rewarding to see so much hard work pay off, either from Summer training or Winter training with lacrosse.”

Since Nicholas arrived on campus in the Fall of 2017, she has won two national player of the year awards and three national titles in field hockey to go along with a national title and two championship appearances in women’s lacrosse.

“It’s been incredible to win a national championship with two different groups and two different types of teams because they are such different sports, they are such different communities,” Nicholas said. “I mean I couldn’t have accomplished any of it without my teammates, without my coaches.”

There may not have been any other team that could end Nicholas’ personal stretch of five straight sports seasons ending in the national title game, but not even the Panthers would prove a match for the global pandemic.

“It’s definitely really sad,” Nicholas said. “The first time we drove through campus, it was a ghost town. It was just crazy to see that the last time we were there, everyone was kinda running around very frantically and chaotically and when we’re driving through now it’s just absolute silence, there’s no cars, nothing on campus.”

The lacrosse team lost its shot at repeating when Spring sports were canceled back in March, and just recently the NESCAC announced they won’t allow their schools to play games before the new year. It’s a tough break for Nicholas who was looking to cap a nearly perfect field hockey career, but she’s taking it in stride.

Nicholas: “I, this whole time have focused a lot on the positives of what we can get out of this opportunity,” she said. “So if we do have a season, if we are able to practice, it’s such a cool opportunity for everyone on the team to have more individual time with the coaches and focus more on their skill development and other things that we wouldn’t really have the time to work on. So it’s a great time to really hone in on your own personal development while also still spending time with the team and your teammates.”

There has been some discussion in the NESCAC about moving the Fall sports to the Spring so those athletes don’t lose an entire season, but obviously that’s not a perfect solution for people like Nicholas.

“I have taken things day by day especially because I play lacrosse in the Spring,” she said. “So it’s really hard to make decisions about that semester and that sport and if I’m gonna have to decide between the two sports.”

So while the athletic future of one of Midd’s all-time greats remains murky, Nicholas is taking the time to focus on her academics and relationships with her fellow classmates. She hopes to attend med school in the future, but for now, she plans on making the most of her final year at Middlebury.

“It’s senior year, which is exciting because everyone is in their last year on campus together,” Nicholas said. “It’s very exciting to know that there’s still people that I haven’t met and would love to get to know better. And then also just strengthening the relationships I currently have and enjoying being on campus trapped with your best friends for one last time. Athletically it’s the last time I’m ever really gonna be able to compete, and so just leaving everything I have out there and not having any regrets.”

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