1st-year college athletes look back on rookie season


Frank Mitchell III

First-year college athletes said they enjoyed their season as a Riverhawk. Shown, middle blocker, Sydni Smith, a first-year business student.

Aidan Gunn, Reporter

First-year athletes said they enjoyed their rookie season as Riverhawks.

Middle blocker Sydni Smith said playing college volleyball was a better experience than high school.

“High school was just a lot more negative and just not really much fun.” Smith, a first-year business student, said. “But when I got to AACC and played for them, it was way more fun. … It was really refreshing and just a good environment to be around.”

Guard Leila Townsend, who plays on the Riverhawks basketball team, said the adjustment from high school to college sports went smoothly. 

“I mean, basketball is basketball,” Townsend, a first-year transfer studies student, said. “It is different. [There are] more games, and it’s more aggressive.”

Townsend noted she was surprised by how many Riverhawks fans showed up for home games. 

“It was actually better than I thought,” Townsend, who has played basketball for eight years, noted. “Some games were really good. Others were OK, but there wasn’t ever a terrible turnout.”

Smith said college volleyball is better than she expected. 

“It definitely wasn’t as I thought it would be,” Smith said. “I thought it would be much more strict, but it was a lot more lenient and relaxed and just more fun.” 

Second baseman John Greenawalt said he’s having a “great” time playing Riverhawks baseball.

“We’ve been playing pretty well,” Greenawalt, a first-year transfer studies student, noted. “Overall, there’s definitely things we could still improve upon. … But I think this season, we’re very productive.”

There are 94 first-year students who are on Riverhawks teams. There are some second-year students who played their first season with the college this year because of covid or injury.  

Reporter Micah Smith contributed to this story.