BRISTOL - The legacies Bristol Centralâ€™s Xiaâ€™ian Carrasco, Sarah Guerin and Ashley Macdonald leave at the school in their respective sports goes well beyond just the field or the court.
â€śI just canâ€™t say enough about what great kids they are and what young women theyâ€™ve grown into,â€ť Rams girls soccer coach Ginny Godbout said. â€śThey represent our school and everything we want kids to be.â€ť
For the three, Tuesday will be a day they always remember as each committed to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Carrasco was a dominant player for the Bristol Central volleyball team this past season under head coach Holly Willette. Her ability at the net stood out each game and her height intimidated opponents.
The middle blocker will be playing at Division II Southern Connecticut State University in the fall and plans to study elementary education. Years ago Carrasco was inspired by an elementary school teacher of hers, the late Stacey Clingan, to pursue a similar career path.
â€śShe was tall just like I was and I remember walking into first grade and seeing this woman [6-foot-4] towering over me,â€ť Carrasco said. â€śI was very insecure about my height and she always told me to stand tall. I knew then even though I was just 7 or 8 years old that teaching was more than about math and English, it was about leaving something with the students theyâ€™ll always remember her by.â€ť
Just like Carrasco remembers Clingan and carries the lessons she taught, the Bristol Central girls volleyball team will remember the player and person Carrasco was. Willette is planning on bringing the team to watch Carrasco play next season at her new home.
â€śSheâ€™s irreplaceable,â€ť Willette said. â€śSheâ€™s an outstanding young lady and she held everything together for us. When it got tough she knew how to bring people up. Sheâ€™s so positive and has such great fire and energy. We are going to miss that absolutely on the court next year. Iâ€™m just looking forward to seeing her bring that to Southern. Theyâ€™re going to have fun with her there, definitely a loss for us.â€ť
Macdonald was a standout on the soccer team under coach Godbout. She stood out on the field but also around her teammates as the leader of the team at center midfielder.
In Macdonaldâ€™s freshman season, Bristol Central made the postseason but the next two years missed the playoffs. Her senior year the Rams returned to the postseason after a 7-8-1 season and Macdonald was a big reason behind the team doing so.
â€śI wanted to show how to work hard and really itâ€™s not about yourself, itâ€™s about your team,â€ť Macdonald said. â€śYou have to work together to accomplish a main goal and that kind of clicked this past year.â€ť
Macdonald will be continuing her soccer career next fall at Division III Springfield College and she plans to study physical therapy. Helping others is something Macdonald values strongly as she grew up with a blind uncle and aunt.
â€śBecause of that Iâ€™ve always had a keen sense of helping others and just being there to help people along in any way that people need it,â€ť Macdonald said. â€śI love helping people and I want to pursue that as my career.â€ť
On the basketball court, Guerin was the standout for head coach Steve Gaudet. The team struggled during Guerinâ€™s time at the school, but her ability on the court led to being able to play at the next level for Division III Elms College.
For Guerin, the teamâ€™s struggles on the court were tough but she made it her motive to make sure to instill a certain mindset in the younger players.
â€śI tried to show the younger girls to never give up and always keep trying,â€ť Guerin said. â€śIf you love it, just keep playing and youâ€™ll get better. And hopefully that will translate to the rest of the team.â€ť
Similar to Carrasco, Guerin also plans on studying elementary education in college.
Two of Guerinâ€™s role models growing up were a pair of teachers, her first grade teacher Mrs. Thompson and her second grade teacher Mrs. Crowley. Guerin knew early on she wanted to pursue a teaching career as a first-grade teacher.
For all three athletes, it was a day of celebrating what is next ahead in each of their lives, both athletically and academically.
All three have been inspired by others to reach this point in their lives and with all the smiles around the Bristol Central Library Media Center it was evident theyâ€™ve meant just as much to those whoâ€™ve been around them over the course of their four years spent at the school.
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org