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Maintaining Connections Tribe Athletics Uncategorized

Embracing Every Opportunity

By Kristie Wei ’15

When I began college in the Fall of 2011, I never expected my experience would end up the way that it did. Unlike most William & Mary students, my journey to the ‘Burg didn’t begin until the end of my freshman year (of college). Being a student-athlete, I was recruited by schools around the country and initially landed at a school 3,000 miles away in California. After a brief health scare, leading to a suboptimal freshman year, I knew I needed to put myself first and began seeking new opportunities closer to home.

The transfer process was challenging for many reasons, but ultimately I found my way to the small, quaint town of Williamsburg, VA – funny story, I actually committed and submitted my deposit to attend before I even had a chance to visit in person. Luckily, it all worked out – I was welcomed with open arms by the entire community and never looked back.

My three years at the College absolutely flew by – from early morning cardio workouts during pre-season, to the many, many late nights at Swem (and the Delis, too), I completely immersed myself in this new college experience and didn’t take a single day for granted. Sure, there were some trying times throughout – but I can confidently say that I have absolutely no regrets.

William & Mary not only offered me a second chance to live out my childhood dreams of competing as a Division I athlete, it also helped shape me into the person I am today and gave me some pretty cool lifelong friends in the process.

Fast forward to today, although it’s been seven years since I walked across the Crim Dell with the class of 2015, the experiences I had at W&M still guide me in my journey post-college. It has been through the connections that I’ve built and lessons that I’ve learned that have propelled me into a successful career spanning multiple industries including finance, consulting and now cybersecurity.
The most valuable lessons I learned at W&M are ones that can’t be found on my transcript or resume – work hard, don’t be afraid to take risks and embrace every opportunity that comes your way. In life, every ending may just be the best new beginning. I’m forever grateful for my time at W&M and am looking forward to connecting with more of the Tribe in years to come!

One Tribe, One Family.

Follow along with Kristie on Instagram and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Tribe Athletics

Tribe Hoops 2021-22 Season

By Julian Boatner ’14

Before I get into this coming season I want to briefly talk about last season and some of the things we dealt with as a basketball team during Covid stoppages, cancellations, etc. Our team underwent a lot of adversity whether it was team meetings via zoom, games being cancelled, or having to go into quarantine. What many people don’t realize is the toll Covid took on our players mentally. It was extremely important that as a coaching staff, we were checking in on our players to make sure they were okay.  I say all of this as a preface to our current Sophomore class only getting to play 17 games last season (a normal basketball season is around 30 games) and they just recently played their first game in front of fans. When you have a young/inexperienced team growing pains are natural, but it’s going to be our jobs to try and get them to a point where they’re playing their best basketball in March. 

Shifting to this season, we are very excited to have more of a “normal” season and to see what this team can accomplish! This summer we got to work on our team chemistry as well as getting stronger for the season ahead. We added three freshmen to the roster, including Tyler Rice, Julian Lewis, and Langdon Hatton.  Brandon Carroll is also new to the Tribe, a graduate student currently completing his MBA. These guys have spent the summer getting acclimated with their teammates and our staff. 

As you can see from our first couple of games, we’re playing a lot of Freshman and Sophomores this season. I want to highlight three guys that will be ones to watch this year and that we’re excited to see grow this season. Connor Kochera, a sophomore wing from Chicago, IL and the reigning Rookie of the Year in the CAA. We’re hoping he continues to build on his success from last year. Tyler Rice, a freshman from Columbia, SC is another player we’re very excited about and you can see what we’re talking about if you saw anything from his debut game at Wake Forest. He’s going to be a guy that can create offense for his teammates as well as for himself. Ben Wight, a redshirt sophomore from Columbus, OH. Last season he struggled with foul trouble and the overall size of his opposition. Ben has one of the highest motors I’ve ever coached, there isn’t going to be a lot of players who play harder than him. 

I’m so lucky to be back coaching at the school that has done so much for me in my life! Looking forward to passing those experiences on to my current players. I hope to see some of you all at the games this season, and if you are in attendance, please don’t hesitate to say hello! 

Follow along with Julian on Instagram and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Crim Dell Association Tribe Athletics

Building Identity

By Peter Makey `19

Having grown up near Minneapolis, Minnesota, my journey to William & Mary was far less predictable (and much longer) than my relatively shorter, well-traveled path up to Washington, DC after graduation. As many before and alongside me can articulate, there’s a certain allure to moving to a major market, the center of American politics, and to a place where you’re bound to bump into a fellow William & Mary grad if you just happen to overhear the right conversation.

During my time as a student, the epicenter of my experience was in Kaplan Arena, where I participated as a member of the Men’s gymnastics team. Tribe Athletics – and Men’s Gymnastics specifically – was my entrée into William & Mary, and it remains one of my strongest ties. Where I live in Washington, DC, Metro buses adorned in green and gold dotted the streets during the fall of 2019. In 2020, I became more deeply engaged as a young alum than I could have predicted, as I joined with students, families, staff, and community members in urging Tribe Athletics to find its way back to the mission it anchors on. Now, in 2021, I felt the reach of William & Mary as I cheered on my younger teammates competing at the NCAA Championships at the University of Minnesota, just miles from where I grew up.

If athletics has proven itself a special venue for building and sustaining community, so too has my identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. While not officially a part of any LGBTQ+ student group on campus, shortly after graduation I leaned into my identity as another way to meet and engage with other alum I could relate to. Having been on campus during William & Mary’s inaugural Lavender Graduation ceremony and taking part in its second, I knew there was an under-told history of LGBTQ+ student life that was resurging in front of me. Through the Alumni Association, I have been able to support the newly renamed Crim Dell Association, birthed out of GALA, the College’s LGBTQ+ affinity group, which celebrated its 35th anniversary at William & Mary this year. I was also pleased to attend William & Mary’s first formally partnered Pride event in DC, where I’ve been able to connect with alum from years, sometimes decades past, who knew an entirely different experience than the inclusive one I so appreciated.

In each of these ways and more, the College’s active engagement with DC alumni has provided an enriching layer of opportunities, personal, professional, and social. From networking events at alum-founded solar energy startups, to sailing excursions on the Potomac, to William & Mary Night at National’s Park and W&M at D.C. United, the ways in which the William & Mary Washington Center and DC Alumni Board have made intentional efforts to engage students and young alumni sustains connection and community in a remarkable way. In the virtual environment too, the breadth of William & Mary’s alumni network is clear. As Zoom became my new normal, I found myself able to stay connected as I virtually celebrated Pride, watched gymnastics competitions, commemorated Charter Day, and continued to pursue research with the support of professors who I admired during undergrad.

Although I’ve been able to forge strong connections that span both time and distance in the virtual environment, I’m reminded now about the importance of place. With October’s Homecoming and Commencement celebrations around the corner, I’m eager to make the familiar trek down to Williamsburg once again, to return to the sights and people that have made W&M home.

Until then, here’s to hoping you all stay safe and well. Go Tribe!

Follow along with Peter on Instagram and connect with him on LinkedIn.