Three Tigers headed to Division 1
Three student-athletes from Northwestern Lehigh will continue their academic and athletic careers at Division 1 schools next season. The three were among a group of 21 student-athletes who were saluted recently in the high school gym, signing letters of intent to attend various colleges and universities.
Madeline Consuelos will run track at the University of Michigan, while Elena Smargiassi will attend the University of Connecticut and will play field hockey and Maggie Motolese will continue her soccer career at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.
Consuelos’ high school career is interesting in that she got into track even though she hated running.
Eventually, she worked past her hatred and got into doing triathlon, all of which wound up leading her not only to Michigan, but possibly to a career decision.
“Since I hated running, I started seeing a sports psychologist and that led me into wanting to be a sports psychologist,” she said. “I also have an interest in being an athletic director. I actually didn’t look at doing triathlons until I got into Michigan.
“I needed a break from running and my coach said ‘why don’t you try triathlon and see how you do?’ I ended up falling in love with it, putting the biking and the swimming part with the running.”
While Michigan is a good distance from New Tripoli, Consuelos isn’t concerned about being away from home and actually is looking forward to the move. She’s also looking forward to continuing a family tradition.
“I wanted to get away from Pennsylvania and my mom and a lot of family on her side went to Michigan, so I grew up watching Michigan basketball and football, so it was always on my radar,” said Consuelos.
Smargiassi split time in goal with Taylor Page on the Northwestern field hockey team, but was still impressive enough to get the opportunity to continue playing at UConn.
With two quality senior goalkeepers, coach Lyssa Opolsky was hard pressed to find playing time for both, but it worked out with Smargiassi heading off to be a Husky and Page going to Slippery Rock where she will also continue her field hockey career.
“When I started to learn about colleges and the possibility of playing in college, I always wanted to play at the highest level that I could,” said Smargiassi. “I just had great coaches that made it possible for me to play D1 and UConn had all that I wanted.”
UConn will also allow Smargiassi to continue another lifelong love, which is caring for animals. Her plans include majoring in animal science with a career as a veterinarian looming down the road.
“They have an amazing animal science program,” Smargiassi said. “ Plus, the whole team atmosphere and the coaches were a good fit, so I knew that UConn was the place that I wanted to go.
“I have always wanted to be a vet since I was really little. I’m one of those kids who didn’t really grow up and I just love animals so much and it was always what I wanted to do.”
Motolese dreamed of playing D1 soccer since the day she stepped onto the high school field.
She admits that there were times when she feared the dream might not come true, but continued to work and made them come true with the chance to play for St. Francis. She was spurred on by her older sister, Angela, who attended Fairleigh-Dickinson prior to transferring to Kutztown.
“My older sister definitely helped me out with college and with high school and gave me advice on what to do,” Motolese said. “It was nice to have her go through it so I knew what to expect.”
As for a career, Motolese’s love of learning led her to find what she was looking for when she enrolled in a class at Lehigh Carbon Community College.
“I took a criminal justice class at LCCC this semester and I just fell in love with it,” said Motolese, who will minor in Homeland Security. “I never actually knew what I wanted to do, but taking that class gave me a really good idea.”
As it turned out, Saint Francis College has a well-regarded criminal justice program, which fit nicely with her love of the school.