Cresson, Pa. — Student-athletes all over the country are reminded often to seize the “best years” of their lives, making the most of resources on campus to excel in the classroom. All students—both athletes and non-athletes—are encouraged to engage in campus activities and continue to develop their communication skills.
Mount Aloysius College has a pair of two-sport stars— athletes who need no reminder about making the most of their time in school. The reason? They’ve been doing it since they were kids.
Pre-season Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Player of the Year for women’s basketball, Mount Aloysius College senior guard Lindsy Sammarco (Patton, PA/Bishop Carroll), also serves the Lady Mounties softball team as their top-hitter and “best 3rd baseman in conference” as her softball, Carl Teeter, coach sees it. As a junior, Lindsy was credited as MAC’s best female athlete of the year, beating out numerous First-Team All-Conference performers. Sophomore Kaleigh Roop (Cuyahoga Falls, OH/Archbishop Hoban) is following in the footsteps of her senior captain in basketball and softball. Roop caught for the softball team last season and is a weapon in the post off the bench for head women’s basketball coach Kristi Kaack.
Sammarco is a short drive from Mount’s Cresson campus; Roop is from Ohio. Sammarco is known for her technical skills in basketball and softball. Roop brings a certain physicality to the catchers position or down on the blocks in basketball. But in addition of superior athletic prowess, both also get it done in the classroom.
Lindy Sammarco is a 3.7 GPA student in the well-respected Physical Therapy program at Mount Aloysius College. Roop maintains a 3.0 GPA in Business Administration. Also, not surprisingly for two young women making the most of their time, they credit strong family support for their success.
“My parents raised me to value education. My dad pushed me as a coach to seek excellence in the arena and classroom. It’s routine,” said Sammarco. Roop echoes her teammates’ sentiments, “I’ve been doing the multi-sport, multi-activity thing since I was little. My dad has helped coach me to compete in sports and especially school,” said Roop.
If it sounds like Sammarco and Roop have a good head on their shoulders and are quick to thank others—the campus community at Mount Aloysius College is equally appreciative.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Jane Grassadonia sees firsthand the value of student-athletes like Sammarco and Roop. “Lindsy and Kaleigh excel in sports and in the classroom. This is requisite for them,” said Grassadonia. “But they are also role models here—engaged in a full experience of campus life that is not just limited to athletics and academics.”
When President Tom Foley needed students to escort Dan and Patricia Rooney during last year’s Mount Aloysius College graduation (where Patricia served as commencement speaker), Sammarco was an obvious choice because of her all-around campus engagement. The Rooney’s liked her so much they took her to dinner with them–”no surprise to us,” said Foley. “Lindsy reminded she and Dan Rooney of their own grandchildren.”
Head women’s basketball coach, Kristi Kaack, knows the NCAA DIII value of the integration between student-athlete and young adult. “Everyone knows what Lindsy (Sammarco) brings to our team on the court. Kaleigh (Roop) is full of energy when she enters play. For me, they are just great teammates and incredibly coachable,” said Kaack. Head softball coach, Carl Teeter, agrees. “Our softball team has had success like two regular season conference championships, because of glue girls in the dugouts. Sammarco is who I want up at the plate when it’s the bottom of the 9th and there are two outs. Roop can provide power at the plate at any moment. More than anything, they’re glue girls in the dugout,” said Teeter.
Sammarco and Roop have made lifelong relationships at Mount Aloysius College with teammates, coaches and the rest of the campus community. How do they do it?
“I try to be friends and open with almost everyone and stay open to a lot of different opportunities on campus,” said Roop. Sammarco, too, pointed to friends. “My twin as I call her, senior Jalisa Westover (2012-2013) Mount Aloysius Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year), pulls me to softball. Senior Ali Maruca, who came back to the basketball team this year after a season hiatus, pulls me to basketball. With this our senior seasons, we want to make the most of it,” said Sammarco.
No doubt you will Lindsy and Kaleigh. You already have.
CAPTION – Lindsy Sammarco, at left, and Kaleigh Roop warm-up just before Saturday’s Penn State-Behrend Contest. Both are two-sport student-athletes who excel on the court and in the classroom.