Everyone’s a Senior: St. Mary’s Lacrosse

Everyone’s a Senior


With a whisper, the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Department announced the “reclassification” of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse program to a club program following the 2017 season.  The decision, the announcement, and the communication to the community have been unimpressive at best, but this program deserves much more after the blood, sweat, and tears the student-athletes on the teams over the years have put into representing their college.  

This 2017 team is resilient in a way that the first Saint Mary’s Lacrosse teams had to be, and everyone should know what this program has been about from the very beginning.  This class of 2017 is a special group that has been through a great deal of adversity in their four years, including 3 coaching changes, reduced scholarships, and a number of issues both on and off the field.  Now their teammates join them as honorary seniors in their final three games, as many of them are now playing their final season of college sports.  

In our Tenacity programs, we talk to the girls about doing their best when no one’s watching- how they train, how they study, how to represent themselves, and how they become a champion.  The 2017 Gaels have often acted more like adults than those who were meant to serve and protect them, and one of the most amazing things to watch has been the way these young women have taken care of each other and remained staunchly loyal to the school.  They have figured out how to separate the injustices they may feel have been done, from their whole experience at the school- and a number of the girls may actually stay to finish their careers as Gaels.  Hopefully ALL of them will have immediate opportunities to find new homes as varsity student-athletes at other institutions if they so choose, but the bond that this year’s team will have- this team of 20 seniors- will be something that lasts them a lifetime.  

There are so many incredible individuals who have been involved in Saint Mary’s Lacrosse who have also been driving forces in the growth of the sport in northern California, including women like Jill Malko, Jenn Morris, Diane Whipple, and Amy Harms.  

In August of 1999, the school announced the elevation of the team from club to varsity status and in articles at the time, the hard work of the athletes is celebrated, “The team has worked very hard for this opportunity and we are very pleased to have the chance to compete at the Division I level,” said club head coach Jennifer Morris. (smcgaels.com, release 8/23/1999)

In January of 2001, the Gaels Head Coach at the time, Dianne Whipple, was killed tragically, and the northern California lacrosse community pulled together to take care of the young women on the team then too.  The alumni from this program- from that era through today- have continued to honor Diane’s memory by coaching, officiating, and contributing to youth and high school lacrosse, but most importantly, they’ve stayed connected with each other.  

I hope that the legacy lives on, and that the current team can once again draw strength from their lacrosse community.  Nothing can take from them the gifts sports and their teammates have given them, because these things last a lifetime.  

So now everyone’s a senior… so let’s celebrate this amazing group of young women. SHOW UP AND CHEER THEM ON this Saturday on Senior Night at 5pm!  2017 schedule

From the Archives:

Varsity Announcement

Diane Whipple hiring

Diane Whipple Death

First Win of 2017

Written By Theresa Sherry
April 12th, 2017

Tenacity is Thankful for You!

We have heard from you throughout the year about what Tenacity means to you… this is what our Tenacity staff is thankful for this holiday season, and what it means to #LiveWithTenacity…
I am grateful EVERY day for the wonderful players, parents, siblings, and friends we have in our Tenacity family. It’s a positive, and hard working group that is committed to both the growth of girl’s lacrosse, and the character development that will eventually make these girls game changers in whatever communities they belong to throughout their lives. I am very thankful to those who have made contributions of either their time, money, or effort this year to advance our cause, and make it possible for girls to participate regardless of socio-economic background, logistical challenges, or equipment needs.
I also want to express my gratitude to our coaches, because everything we do comes down to coaches and fields. Our coaches are some of the best in the country in my opinion, with great pedigree, but also the commitment to becoming good teachers (on top of being former players). Every one of our coaches has taken vacation time to go to tournaments, spent days off from their regular work to be at practices, and put extra effort into providing feedback and mentorship to our athletes, and we thank them for it!
To #LiveWithTenacity, to me, is to LIVE FULLY every day. It means doing everything you can to overcome obstacles, to experience everything about life, on a daily basis- the high’s, the lows, the wins, the losses, and everything in between. Some days it may take everything just to get out of bed, it’s ok to use Tenacity for that… and some days, you might have a crazy schedule, and it takes Tenacity to stay focused, and to do a good job in your classes, at your job, AND in your after school/work activities. It often takes Tenacity to eat right, to workout consistently, and to take care of yourself. To me, Living With Tenacity, means embracing the ups and downs, and letting them help you become the person you are meant to become.

Written by Theresa Sherry, CEO The Tenacity Project, Inc.