Feature Stories 2023: Performing at their peak

Widline Thomas
Dante Aviles-Thomas '24, football
Feature Stories 2023: Performing at their peak
Performing at their peak

At Tripp Athletic Center, there’s a powerful laboratory of education, community, and physical performance, where UMass Dartmouth’s student-athletes develop the skills to become not just accomplished runners, basketball players, or football players, but high-performing citizens.

“Athletics are an extension of the classroom,” said Lori Hendricks, director of athletics and recreation. “Our athletics and intramural programs are learning communities supporting a culture of care, community, and championships, where students have opportunities to practice making good decisions under pressure.”

Beyond the wins and losses, or hits and goals on the stat sheets, student-athletes acquire a number of lifelong skills, like how to manage conflict, interpersonal skills, and how to stay at the top of your game physically and mentally. “As an athlete my competitiveness leaks into the classroom by driving me to do well in my classes,” said Widline Thomas ’24, a member of the women’s lacrosse team and an active student leader. “Being an athlete has taught me discipline and drive, and made me a better student.”

This skill-building is part of the Peak Performance program Hendricks initiated when she started at UMassD in January 2022. The program focuses on five essential elements that contribute to a collegiate student-athlete’s well-rounded experience: athletic excellence, academic success, personal well-being, community engagement, and career development. Through workshops and signature events on topics such as mental health, communication, study skills, and resume building, students learn how to be successful student-athletes. Peak Performance is based on Hendricks’ work at the NCAA national office where she oversaw the development of life skills curriculum, programming, and models for campus partnerships.

The key to making the most of being a student-athlete is quantifying their collegiate athletics career to future employers. Drawing on the knowledge of Corsairs before them, students gain new perspectives from alumni who share how they successfully translated their athletics experiences to the workplace.

Alumni and supporters of UMassD Athletics play a critical role in helping UMassD raise its competitive advantage to set it apart not only from other athletic programs, but elevate the entire student experience. “Bringing our alumni from the sidelines into the student-athlete experience creates a shared success,” said Bob Prince, head baseball coach. “Whether they are cheering from the stands or helping a team raise funds for a training trip, alumni and friends are integral to our culture at UMassD.”

“Our alumni and donor community are in a unique position to help us enhance our program,” said Hendricks. “Your investment in our student-athletes, whether financial or by sharing your expertise, allows us to add value to the athletics program.”

Widline Thomas
Widline Thomas '24, women's lacrosse

A winning program

Corsair athletes had much to celebrate in the 2021-22 year:

NCAA Woman of the Year, Little East Conference: Kaitlyn Bernier ’22 (Track & Field)

NCAA Man of the Year, Little East Conference: Edward Lundy ’22 (Track & Field)

Women’s basketball: LEC Conference Champions

Men’s basketball: LEC Conference Champions, Reached the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen

Football: 2021 New England Bowl Champions

Softball: Reached LEC championship game

Baseball: Reached LEC championship game

Indoor Track & Field: Little East Conference champions

Outdoor Track & Field: Men’s Little East Conference champions, Cam Rodgers ’24 named All-America