The JVF had a chance to catch up with the reigning JVF Female Athlete Of The Year Shea Saracino. Shea, the captain for team North Haven, has become one of the biggest stars this organization has ever seen in a very short amount of time. As her national profile continues to grow, we checked in Shea to see how she is handling athletic fame, the global pandemic, and what she has been doing to pass the time.
JVF: So, you were a wrecking machine in 2019, you were voted our female athlete of the year, won the Fall Lacrosse Series tournament championship as captain of team North Haven, and even snagged the tournament MVP award. What a year! What was that like?
SS: "The Fall of 2019 was the best time for me, things just came together. After playing at UB with JVF clinic and college players and coaches, I found tremendous motivation to do the work to get to play at the collegiate level. Then to play with my North Haven teammates at the JVF tournament was one of the most fun sports days that I have experienced, we had each others backs, played hard and had a blast! I'm grateful for the opportunity and the experiences it gave us all!"
JVF: How are you dealing with the added exposure? You were on CT in Style in the fall, drew attention to girls lacrosse and your skills as an athlete, and have since been traveling to different colleges, is all of this overwhelming?
SS: "It's actually been really fun! I feel like the CT Style segment opened the doors for all of us athletes and believe that it was received that way, our sisterhood is strong, so I didn't feel any pressure there. As for college visits and prospect days, that has been incredible! I was able to go a lot of the colleges in CT ,New York, New Jersey, North Carolina get a feel for the culture and tour the schools and that was amazing. I'm really lucky to have had those experiences!"
JVF: As you know, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an incredible loss of life, and now the world itself has been brought to a standstill. It's a very sad time.Now, young people all over the country are attending school online, not really living the life they once knew.. How have you handled all of this? What's it like to learn online?
SS: "Watching what is going on in the world right now is so sad, It's really hard to grasp it all. The hardest part of this is not being with my large family, especially my Grandparents. However, My family is together and healthy, so we are grateful. I'm doing the best I can to improve as a student and an athlete.
The distance learning is gong well, I miss being in my classes and the interactive learning with my teachers and friends, but we have zoom calls every week, so that definitely helps. For the first time my parents are happy with technology and social media Lol, I Facetime with my friends and snapchat keeps us all connected. To keep things in perspective I go day by day, keeping busy and accepting this new normal."
JVF: With school being canceled, there is a chance spring sports might be canceled as well, are you holding out hope there will be a season? How are your teammates holding up?
SS: "First my heart breaks for ALL of the seniors! As for me, I am hopeful we get to play again soon, there have been lots of different thoughts about how, when and what the season will look like if we do get back. So, I'm just planning on being prepared when a season does finally happen.
As for team mates, it's hard for all of us, we really miss each other terribly. As hard as it is right now, the common thread is that our lax team is family and we all need each other. When we do get back together on the field, it will be that much sweeter. Our coaches have also been great, the get us together on zoom calls so we can see each other and they give us updates and motivation."
JVF: What shows are you binging during the shutdown?
SS: "ALL AMERICAN, it was my favorite, if you haven't seen it, check it out on Netfilx! As a family, we've been watching lots of animated films, Tiger King, Ozark and doing lots of puzzles and Tik Toks".
JVF: The JVF girls lacrosse program has grown, clinics, a tournament, and now perhaps, a league, how important do you think a free high school girls Lax league would be to young women in Connecticut? Do you think it could work?
SS: "Yes, I do think it could work and just from the beginnings of the JVF lax and it's quick development, it would be amazing. All the HS teams that participated in the Fall Tournament shared the same responses, all the girls were on board and ready to go immediately. The fall and winter is a very long break from lax, even for those of us who play other HS sports, so any off season opportunity would be awesome.
From the youth level, offering free lax is a game changer, it would open up this amazing sport to young athletes that may have not ever tried it! One of those girls could be the next Kylie Ohmiller and that is exciting!"
JVF: How are the workouts going? We saw some videos of you (and PJ Saracino) working out with logs Rocky style, super impressive lol. Do you split time between stick skills and conditioning?
SS: "Haha, fitness in our house (or back yard) has reached a whole new level. PJ (junior in college) came home also with no college lax season, no gym and just us, so we needed to get creative. Yes, we made a set of dumbells out of a huge tree that had fallen in our woods!
As for workouts, I like a schedule, keeps it fun and keeps me on track. So I run everyday, do weight training, jump rope, sprints, hills etc and I get my stick in hand everyday, it's been a lot of fun. I'm lucky to have my brother home, we pass and play almost everyday, it's been like old times when we were little. This down time feels like an opportunity to see all the things I can do, we will never have another time like this, God willing, so trying to embrace it and stay positive and fit."
JVF: If you could have any car in the world, no strings attached, what would it be?
SS: "2019 Maserati GranTurismo!"
You can follow Shea Saracino on Instagram @sheaslacrosse