At a time when the number of multi-sport athletes are diminishing, New Canaan’s Katelyn Sparks was a throwback. She had a distinguished career playing for the school’s girls soccer, hockey and lacrosse teams.
Sparks, who graduated last month, now has to play one sport, and that will be lacrosse at Claremont McKenna, a small school in California.
TRR: There are fewer and fewer three-sport athletes in this era of specialization. What were the benefits for you?
KS: I loved just having a bunch of different teams and people. Honestly I have a really hard time narrowing down sports. Freshman year I played varsity basketball and I missed hockey so much I went back to hockey. For me, it was a perfect combination of going from soccer to hockey to lacrosse because they are all so different. I am a much better in-season student. Whenever I have practices or games I definitely get my work done. When I have off days I have a much harder time and I’m pretty lazy. It also kept me in shape.
TRR: What is your top sports memory at New Canaan?
KS: My hockey team this year. Just the whole season because we tied two, lost just once and it was fun because the team was so close. It was a young team. I got to know and got close to a number of people I wasn’t close to before and obviously beating Darien in lacrosse junior year was awesome too. I have a lot of great memories.
TRR: If there was a rule that you could only play one sport which one would you have chosen?
KS: (Laughs) It depended on the year honestly. (Long pause) I don’t have a favorite. I still don’t.
TRR: You are attending Claremont McKenna, a school with a student population around the same as New Canaan located in California. How did you find the school and what attracted you to it.
KS: I was considering playing lacrosse when I was a junior. I hadn’t really thought about it until then because I didn’t want to specialize. I didn’t consider quitting other sports. Junior year I didn’t think I could go to college without a sport. I was on the west coast looking at some other bigger schools because growing up I was thinking of going to a big school. My parents went to two big football schools in Texas. I did want to get out of the northeast. Playing lacrosse is hard and soccer you pretty much have to go club. It came down to about two schools lacrosse-wise. I was looking at one in Virginia and Claremont McKenna, which were good lacrosse fits. I emailed the coaches when I was going out to California and when I looked at the campus I absolutely loved it. They just redid their athletic facilities, they spent a ton of money redoing it and now it’s one of the top D3 facilities in the country. It’s unreal. The coach is so cool. She played at Fairfield U. I went out to their camp and they offered me about a week later and then I committed to the admissions process, literally a year and two days ago.
TRR: What aspect of college are you most excited about.
KS: Being in a whole new environment. That was one of the biggest things when I was looking at schools. I just wanted to get out of the northeast and be around different types of people and be able to do different things. I think being in southern California I will be able to do a lot of that.