If women’s lacrosse transfer and the now-junior Amanda Parker had to be described in one word, it would be “leader,” according to both her peers and superiors.
Enrolling in a college as a transfer student is a feat all on its own. Enrolling into a college as a transfer collegiate athlete, expected to show guidance by default of age is an exploit for the few and the fearless.
Beginning her college lacrosse career at Stetson University, the defensive player learned the ins and outs of not only a Division I program, but an inaugural Division I program as well.
Because she was able to take place in the initiation of women’s lacrosse at Stetson, her transition into the just-as-young program at UT has been all the more smooth.
“Amanda walked into a situation where she knew no one. She has come in every day like she’s been here since day one,” head coach Kelly Gallagher said. “She wears all the hats of being a leader on this team, and for her to come into a situation where she doesn’t know anyone and be able to do that as naturally as she has, I think is amazing.”
Parker’s leadership qualities have come with many years of competing in a wide range of sports.
From basketball to soccer and then finally lacrosse, Parker credits her years as a dual-sport athlete into shaping her into the person she is today, supplying her with not only athletic capabilities, but also qualities that lay the foundations of her personality.
“Sports in general have had a huge impact on the woman that I am,” Parker said. “Many of the qualities I have picked up on through lacrosse are those that you would find off the field in a best friend, a diligent student, and a successful businesswoman.”
Although Parker is coming into this season as a junior, she plans to make her mark at UT in her final two seasons.
While winning games and setting records is a priority, Parker’s primary goals this season are to set positive examples for the multitude of underclassmen on the team.
“Speaking as one of several upperclassmen on the team, we know that we are looked up to by our teammates for guidance,” Parker said. “It is my mission to be a workhorse, a great teammate, and create meaningful relationships in my two years left on this team.”
Having come from a DI program, Parker has been challenged to compete against some big-name schools such as University of Florida, Syracuse University and the Iroquois National Lacrosse Team. The experience she gained from this type of competition has allowed her to bring a bit of expertise to her UT teammates.
“She always has something to tell her teammates,” Gallagher said. “Because she spent two years playing Division I lacrosse, she’s a little bit more aggressive. And because she is very controlled in her play and she’s very aggressive, I think it has helped our returners from last year to take a couple more risks. It’s been a good visual example for them.”
Although she was not involved with the inauguration of the lacrosse program at UT, one thing that has brought Parker so close with her new teammates is a shared vision of mutual success.
When the skills from each individual player are accounted for, the one thing that can make or break a successful season is common and united aspirations.
When Parker joined the team, that is what bridged the gap between stranger and trustworthy companion. Each player is aware of the position they must take on and off the field in order to be a successful unit, according to Parker.
“In order for the team to be successful, it takes a huge personal commitment from everyone on the team during season play, as well as in the off-season,” Parker said. “We have some extremely talented and athletic underclassmen; all who I know are on board and have joined this team in order to make a statement with such work ethic.”
Tess Sheets can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org