Every year, hundreds of Tufts students choose to participate in
intercollegiate athletics. With some 36 teams, Tufts offers ample
opportunities to compete on the court, in the rink, in the pool,
on the playing field and on the track. On the following pages, we
salute four students who exemplify a commitment to keeping sports
a vital part of their Tufts experience.
Cindy Manning: Staying on track
Meredith Leroux: Nonstop field hockey
Matt Adler: Taking chances
Mike Andrews: Believing is all
Cindy Manning: Staying on track
When class schedules conflict with the Tufts cross country team's
regularly scheduled training, Cindy Manning, J00, has it covered.
She's up by seven to run five miles around Tufts, or maybe down
Massachusetts Avenue to Harvard Square. She's back in time for a
three-hour seminar on neurophysiology. Then it's another four-mile
run, followed by an hour of weight lifting.
Manning's discipline comes as no surprise to those who know her.
Her training has led to an impressive fleetness, including ranking
as an All-American in cross country and a First Team Academic All-American.
She is nationally ranked number 22 in cross country and 11 in track,
and in fact was seeded close to the top prior to the national meet
in early March.
"Cindy is a major contributor to the team's success,"
said Coach Branwen Smith-King, noting that this past year, women's
track and cross country ranked third in its division. "She's
been our number one for four years, which is quite an achievement,
and she's extremely dedicated. For a distance runner, that self-motivation
Manning began running seriously as a sophomore at Valparaiso High
School in Indiana. She had competed just for fun in short track
events in middle school, but in high school she began setting new
goals-three to five miles a day-and got better and faster. When
she joined the cross-country team, she took quickly to the challenge
of training in the sand dunes of Indiana National Lakeshore.
Running in the sand "was painful while you were doing it,
but it was good for strength training," says Manning, who soon
rose to be one of the top five runners on her team.
At Tufts, Manning's intensity pays off at the track but extends
into the classroom as well. In her sophomore year, she applied and
was accepted into Tufts' early admission MD program, which brings
talented undergraduates to Tufts Medical School.
Keenly interested in neurophysiology, she is also an undergraduate
research assistant with psychology professor Klaus Miczek, studying
new protocols for stress sensitization. A vice president of the
Golden Key National Honor Society, she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa
and the Psychology Honor Society.
For Manning, much of her college experience is about making the
time to run seven to nine miles a day. Her speed, she says, comes
from simply extending the distance she runs.
"My times stem a lot from how much I put into it. I found
that once I increased my mileage, my time in racing dropped; I think
it has to do how I hold my endurance," she says. "Just
putting in the extra mileage has made drastic improvements in my
timing the past two to three years."
Manning anticipates continuing to run in medical school. "I
would like to keep racing, too, though I don't know how, maybe through
some running clubs," she says. "I will try my best to
keep running on my own, and eventually to run the Boston Marathon."
Regardless, she certainly will have many memorable college experiences
to savor when academics put running on hold. "Running has probably
been one of the most significant things I'll take away from Tufts,"
she says. "I spend almost the entire week with these girls
and entire Saturdays at meets, and most often Saturday nights too,
so I've made a close circle of friends.
"You do give up the typical college experience, because you
can't go out on a Thursday or Friday night," she granted. "But
I don't think I missed anything. I've experienced so much more.
It's all in the choices you make. For me, it was the thrill of competition
and the fun of being on a team. And you don't often get pushed to
your physical limits. It's a wonderful experience to be pushed,
to know, after a meet, that you've put everything you could into
doing your best."
Meredith Leroux: Nonstop field hockey
"Fun" is not the first word that comes to mind when many
people recall grade school gym class. But that's how Meredith LeRoux,
J00, describes her introduction to field hockey. By junior high,
she signed up for junior varsity. A hockey stick has been a constant
companion ever since.
At Tufts, it's easy to see how LeRoux's commitment has grown. A
center midfielder, she is the nonstop player around whom each game
revolves. Skilled in both offense and defense, she displays a quick
intelligence and a sharp instinct for teamwork that has helped make
Jumbo field hockey one of the toughest teams to beat. And league
coaches have praised LeRoux by voting her an All-American two years
in a row, making her one of the best field hockey players in the
"I like the aggressiveness, I like to run, and if I have a
day with a lot of stress, I know I can always go to practice and
run it off," says LeRoux. "And I think the coaches [who
nominated me] also know me because I'm particularly vocal on the
field. There has to be a lot of interchange so we can score."
According to coach Carol Rappoli, LeRoux was the field general
for a young Tufts team that made a run to the ECAC New England Championship
Game this season. "As the center midfielder, she played excellent
defense and distributed the ball well when the Jumbos turned to
offense," said Rappoli. "Her overall smarts and athleticism
on the field make an outstanding All-American."
LeRoux was competing in high school varsity field hockey in Oyster
Bay, Long Island, when she took a look at Tufts. "I knew I
wanted to keep playing field hockey, and at the Division III level,
so Tufts set up a visit for me," says Meredith. "I stayed
with a girl on the team and met all the players and thought Tufts
was so friendly and nice that it was easy to make the decision to
Academics are important too, and LeRoux, a biology major, schedules
her life around field hockey and labs. Staying in shape includes
running and weight lifting; she also played lacrosse as a spring
sport her first three years.
LeRoux also interns two full days a week for a Medford environmental
marketing group. Learning the ropes of public relations, she admits,
puts added pressure on time management. But the exposure to the
"real world" has introduced her to other professional
strengths as well.
"I think if you play sports, you bring good people skills
to a professional setting, because you're used to being part of
a large team," she says. "Being captain means I've also
had a chance to learn leadership skills, and I know that's important
for my future."
LeRoux isn't sure just what that future career will be, but she
anticipates building on her marketing experience. One thing she
does know: she won't retire her hockey stick.
"I play on the Long Island Field Hockey Association summer
league, and there is talk about starting an indoor league,"
she says. "It used to be that people only thought of field
hockey as a sport you played in school, but there are more and more
people who want to keep playing." One can be sure that LeRoux
will be among the first to sign up.
Matt Adler: Taking chances
Tufts senior Matt Adler has skied down an icy mountain at 85 miles
per hour. He has entered burning buildings as part of a fire rescue
squad. He's withstood eight operations to become one of the best
athletes to ever play at Tufts. In a word, he is fearless.
"I don't even think about it," Adler said of the dangers
he's encountered. "You can't be afraid if you want to be successful."
Adler has used that attitude to his advantage during most of the
past decade while taking on new challenges, especially in sports.
He skied and played soccer and baseball while growing up in Princeton,
N.J. Now 6-feet tall weighing 195 pounds with a broad back, thick
legs and great speed, Adler looks like a prototypical college athlete.
His vast competitive experiences help him to think like one, too.
His interest in recreational ski racing as a young teen led to
his emergence as one of the top skiing prospects in the United States.
By winning the Super G and Giant Slalom races at a Junior Olympics
event at Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain in 1995, he earned a spot on
the U.S. Development Team and traveled to locales such as Chile
to train. His continued success gave him an opportunity to qualify
for the U.S. National Team.
Two weeks before that chance, he crashed while skiing under bad
conditions in Canada and blew out his knee. At first, doctors on
the mountain convinced him it was not a major injury. But after
flying home, he learned a few days later that the damage was serious
and his racing career was over.
"My goal in life at the time was to make the U.S. Team,"
he said. "There was no guarantee I would have made the team,
but it was frustrating to not get a chance. I've never been one
to sit around wondering why things happen to me. I did my time,
took my chance. It was time for me to move on and go to school."
Adler enrolled at Tufts in 1996, attracted by the varied academic
opportunities and a successful soccer program. He was still recovering
from the knee injury and was not able to play when the season began.
It was driving him crazy. He received a second opinion on campus,
was cleared to play, and finished the season third on the team in
scoring with five goals and one assist for 11 points.
Injuries continued to hamper him, but couldn't stop him. In 1997
he tore cartilage in the same knee and had arthroscopic surgery
on October 3. He was on the field nine days later to score the game-winning
goal against Trinity College. He finished the season with 14 goals
in 12 games and was selected as an All-American by a national committee
"Matt's combination of ability and personality is inspiring,"
head coach Ralph Ferrigno said. "His mental toughness provides
leadership by example. He wants to win every little battle and succeed
at every little part of the game."
"I've always had a lot of energy," Adler said. "That
constant drive and my persistence have made me the kind of person
who wants to get around whatever obstacles come up and strive to
win. I've always felt that if you are going to compete, you do so
110 percent until the final whistle."
As a junior in 1998, Adler set a single-season scoring record with
38 points. This past fall as a senior tri-captain, despite not practicing
for most of the season because of a groin injury, he again earned
All-American honors. He also set the team's career scoring record
with 106 points (44 goals, 18 assists). Tufts Athletic Director
Bill Gehling previously held the record.
"I'm happy to have Matt be the guy to do it," Gehling
said. "He's not only a great player, but a great team player
Playing soccer wasn't enough to satisfy Adler's competitive desire.
He took up lacrosse in the spring of his sophomore year. Mild-mannered
and friendly off the field, he is anything but that on it. Though
he'd never played the sport before, his tenacity has helped him
become the team's best face-off man. Last season he set a team record
with 142 ground balls and was voted by his teammates for the Baggattaway
Award, emblematic of spirit and persistence.
"Matt's a tremendous athlete, but he's an even tougher competitor,"
head coach Mike Daly said. "If he had taken up lacrosse at
an earlier age he'd be an All-American in our sport, too."
At home, Adler volunteers for the fire department and first aid
and rescue squad. This past winter break he was part of a crew that
resuscitated a man who was stricken with a heart attack. Once part
of a search team blinded by smoke during a fire at a pancake house
in Princeton, he came perilously close to a floor that had collapsed
in the blaze.
His fearless approach has led Adler to many interesting and impressive
achievements, and ensures that more will follow. After graduating
in May, he hopes to get a try out with a professional soccer team.
Wherever he ends up, he'll bring along fond memories of playing
sports at Tufts.
"The best part of my day is always going out to play, whether
it's a practice or a game," he said. "The relationships
I formed with my teammates contributed to my experience here in
a big way."
Mike Andrews: Believing is all
The Tufts men's basketball team was trailing Colby College by five
points, 71-66, with time winding down in overtime of the ECAC New
England Championship Game on March 5. The Jumbos needed to make
some big plays soon, or the game was lost.
Guard Mike Andrews, playing as a graduate student in his final
season with the team, answered the call. He stole the ball to set
up baskets on consecutive Colby possessions to help spark Tufts
to a thrilling 74-73 victory. For the team, it was the first post-season
championship since 1982. For Andrews, who was named Most Valuable
Player of the tournament, it marked a glorious end to what at times
was a frustrating collegiate career.
"To go out this way is the best feeling in the world,"
said Andrews, who had helped Tufts secure an ECAC Tournament berth
with a basket at the buzzer to beat Middlebury on February 19. "Some
things happened to me earlier in my career, so I had to fight and
focus to stay with it. Winning the championship was a great reward."
A football and basketball star at Falmouth High School on Cape
Cod, Andrews had major athletic intentions for college. He applied
to sports factories like North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest before
finally enrolling at the University of Virginia of the Atlantic
Coast Conference. He was unhappy about being red-shirted in football
and quit the team. Though he was named captain of the junior varsity
basketball team, he decided Division I wasn't for him.
"Maybe I was a little arrogant coming out of high school,
but I didn't want to wait to play," he said. "I wanted
to move closer to home and play right away."
Recruited in high school by Paul Svagdis, A93, a fellow Falmouth
grad who played and coached at Tufts, Andrews chose to transfer
here over Williams in 1996. If anything, his luck got worse. He
missed the 1996 football season following a hernia operation, then
did not get much playing time for the basketball team. Arthroscopic
surgery on his left knee and a broken foot limited him to four games
during the 1997 football season, then he again spent most of his
time on the bench during basketball season. They were trying times
for someone who takes great pride in his athletic ability.
"At that point, I thought about leaving," he said. "I
really love playing sports, and that kept me in it. I'm very religious
too, and the Bible says 'the hand of the diligent worker shall rule.'
That helped me to believe in myself. It was a tough ride."
His faith and hard work brought results during the 1998-99 academic
year. He started eight games at safety for the football team and
led the 7-1 Jumbos with 67 tackles, including a team record-tying
15 solo stops versus Trinity. He also earned a starting role on
the basketball team and began showcasing his exciting ability. After
graduating in May 1999 with a degree in clinical psychology, he
was accepted into Tufts' graduate school and was declared eligible
to play both sports for another year. He had three interceptions
for the football team this past fall and took on a leadership role
in basketball, averaging 10.7 points per game.
Though his injuries never ceased-he had surgery on his right knee
in December 1998, again in August 1999, then suffered a concussion
in October 1999-neither did his will to play.
"He always came back from his injuries relatively quick, which
is a reflection of his desire to compete," said Mark Doughtie,
director of sports medicine at Tufts. "He was bitten once,
twice, three times, but he never got discouraged. He'll probably
have some long-term articular problems in his knees, and he's fully
aware of that, but he chose to compete."
Andrews credits coaches Bill Samko, John Casey and Mike Daly for
helping him through the tough times athletically. He said his experiences
at Tufts outside of athletics also helped him maintain a positive
perspective. Playing two sports at Tufts isn't an easy assignment.
He had to manage rigorous academic and athletic requirements from
late August straight through to early March. His life at Tufts taught
him lessons about discipline and teamwork that he will take with
him into his professional career.
"I've learned a lot about myself and people in general at
Tufts," he said. "The various professors I've had and
the people I've met have never been close-minded. Tufts is very
accepting to different types of people."
Andrews is already putting those lessons to great use as an assistant
teacher at Bay Cove Academy in Brighton, where he works full-time
with troubled children. Some of his students were born addicted
to cocaine, others were molested or abused.
"I go in every day trying to give the kids the extra attention
they've never received," he said. "I want to show them
that I'm a real person who gives real support, so I do that the
best I can."
Andrews grew up without a father, so he knows all about the support
that certain people need. His mother, Angela, raised a large family
on her own. His uncle Carlos Resendes and cousin Adilino Cardoza
also made a big difference in his life. He hopes to do the same
for others by earning his Ph.D. in psychology and working in a clinical
Before then, he will explore opportunities to play basketball professionally
this summer. He'd also like to get into coaching, where his varied
experiences as an athlete would be of great value. "Over his
four years here, Mike grew up a lot," Samko said. "He
made it through some difficult times. Because of that, I'm sure
he'll be as productive with his life from now on as he was as an
athlete for us."