Coping with life after Blugold sports

Story by David Burish, Staff Writer

Senior tennis captain Taylor Heltne has always had tennis in her life. Since a young age, Heltne has kept a racket in hand and knew college wasn’t going to be any different.

“I always knew I was going to play tennis,” Heltne said.

She wasn’t recruited to play at UW-Eau Claire. Yet, in her freshman year she beat out returning players and hasn’t left. Now as one of two senior captains for the women’s tennis team, Heltne is beginning her final season with the team.

All collegiate athletes come to realize that their time for the team they conditioned for, played for and celebrated for will come to an end.

Men’s basketball senior Jordan Petersen said he’s coming to grips with the end right now.

“I’m sad it’s over,” Petersen said. “I’ll miss my teammates but I think it is time to move on.”

Petersen, who transferred from Winona State, still said he’ll miss the game and appreciates the leadership role this last year.

“(The coaches) wanted me to take on more of a leadership role,” Petersen said. “I’m not always a vocal person but I think I’ve lead by example.”

Danielle Kerr, a senior on the women’s hockey team, said that her last season isn’t on her mind.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Kerr said. “Give it a week after I’m actually done.”

Both men’s and women’s hockey teams still play this week in the NCHA playoffs (both play UW-River Falls) so Kerr’s focus is on the game.

“I take things more seriously,” Kerr said. “I think that’s attributed to the fact that I don’t have much time left. I think it’s important to take every game seriously because my time is limited.”

Senior men’s hockey player Jordan Singer is also focused on his playoff game this weekend but still feels like he has more to do at Eau Claire.

“I feel like I should be coming back to play another season,” Singer said.

Singer was recruited to play at Eau Claire after he spent two years playing junior hockey. Singer said his journey was made easier by great leadership before him.

“Meeting twenty new guys was challenging but the older guys were welcoming and I got to know them really well which really helped,” Singer said.

Kerr also attributes her attending Eau Claire to great leaders.

“My tour guide was Margaret Campbell, who was the women’s hockey captain, and she told me how close the team was,” Kerr said. “It reminded me how close my high school team was and I think that’s important to a team’s success.”

Heltne has tried to create a close bond within her team as a third year captain.

“I don’t really worry about myself, myself comes along with me,” Heltne said. “I want to make sure they, my team, are doing alright.”

With the winter season coming to a close, the seniors are looking forward to the future.

Singer is looking to graduate with a business management degree to help with his family’s business. He said keeping hockey in his life would be great too.

Heltne is graduating with a kinesiology major and has the hope to be a college professor.