Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Evans Learned a Lot as a Guilford Athlete

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Mary Evans was named a captain for the Guilford softball team and also led the girls’ ice hockey squad as an alternate captain in her senior year. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans

Mary Evans was named a captain for the Guilford softball team and also led the girls’ ice hockey squad as an alternate captain in her senior year. (Photo courtesy of Mary Evans )

Mary Evans learned an important lesson about battling through mistakes during her time as an athlete at Guilford High School. Mary, who recently finished her senior year, was a member of the Indians’ girls’ ice hockey and softball teams, and she accomplished a great deal in her four years with those programs.

Mary played first base and the outfield for the Guilford softball squad, earning the title of captain as a senior. Mary was looking forward to leading the Indians to a State Tournament berth this spring, prior to the campaign’s cancellation.

Mary also enjoyed a nice career on the ice at Guilford. This winter, Mary scored a goal and dished out five assists, while playing stout defense as an alternate captain for a club that claimed its first SCC title.

“My favorite aspect of [sports] is that you have to fight through failure. Softball is a game of failing, and players get out more times than they get on base,” Mary says. “Softball has a lot to do with being challenged mentally, and the best players are able to forget their mistakes and continue to perform.”

Mary got started in sports when her father Rich signed her up for tee-ball at age six. Mary’s love for softball took off from there, and she’s been a fixture on the field ever since.

“I started with tee-ball, because my dad wanted me to try it,” says Mary. “When I wanted to continue playing, I switched over to Little League softball and fell in love with the sport more.”

Guilford softball Head Coach Meghan Wiese had previously coached the softball team at Adams Middle School, so she’s worked with Mary for the past six years. Wiese says that Mary is one of the most determined players she’s ever coached.

“Since day one, Mary has shown determination and willingness to take on anything thrown her way. In the fall, she stepped into the captain role and was in constant communication between the coaching staff and team,” says Wiese. “I knew she would lead the team with confidence. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Mary and I know that, whatever she takes on, she will do it with confidence and commitment, because that’s who she is.”

Mary and her teammates had their sights set on guiding the Guilford softball team into the State Tournament this year. The Indians came up just one win shy of qualifying for states last spring. Still, Mary says that there were a few notable moments that stood out to her from the season.

“Last year, we played against West Haven for Alzheimer’s awareness. Everyone had a lot of fun, and it was for a good cause,” Mary says. “We were also able to have a few JV games for the players who did not see the field as much. It was a lot of fun being able to go to the game and support my teammates.”

Mary always took the opportunity to work hard in practice in order to refine her skills. When there were games in which she didn’t perform as well as she wanted to, Mary got right back in the batter’s box and put in extra time to improve her swing.

“After games that I feel I didn’t do my best in, I always like to reset by going down to the batting cages with my dad. There, I will practice my swing to try and correct what I had been doing wrong,” says Mary. “Then, I will go on to the field and work on infield and outfield work. My dad would hit grounders at me and throw me short hops at first until no balls went by me. After that, I would go to the outfield, and he would hit fly balls out to me.”

Aside from playing hockey and softball, Mary volunteers in Guilford’s Unified Sports program, where she helps students with intellectual disabilities participate in sports such as soccer, basketball, and softball. Mary is also a member of the Latin Honor Society at the high school.

“This year, the softball team was supposed to have a day where Unified Sports would have come on to the field and play softball with us,” Mary says. “But unfortunately, that didn’t happen due to COVID-19.”

In the fall, Mary is going to attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Mary will major in criminal justice and try to walk on to the softball squad at the school.

“I plan on trying out for the softball team there,” says Mary.


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