Once An Eagle Always An Eagle--Perry To Graduate A Champion
By Emma Duncan--Eagle Staff Writer
In 2017, a lacrosse legend left the Eagle's nest. Four years, many broken records, and numerous wins later, Sarah Perry is getting ready to put on her cap and gown for the second time.
For the past eight years, Perry has been working her way to becoming one of the nation’s best women’s lacrosse players. However, she had other plans before middle school.
“I started playing lacrosse in seventh grade through the rec department,” she began. “It looked like so much fun! I’d only ever played soccer and swam competitively so I was ready for a change.”
When she got to high school, Perry kept swimming, but kissed her soccer-playing days goodbye to try out for the new lacrosse team.
“My freshman year was the first year men’s and women’s lacrosse was introduced to the athletics, so the only possible team to play on was JV,” Perry said. “Following that, I played on Varsity my last three years of high school.”
While on the Varsity team, Perry began to find her groove. Junior year she was on First Team All Conference, All Region, and Second Team All State.
“I was the first lacrosse player (men’s and women’s) to make an all state team at FCHS,” she shared.
Come senior year, Perry made First Team All Conference again, along with Second Team All Region and First Team All Timesland. She was also the B’nai Brith female representative that year.
Perry was a sports superstar in the eyes of many, but didn’t like discussing her successes.
“I was pretty shy about telling people, so I basically kept to myself and didn't really talk about it,” she said. “I know those accomplishments could never have been done without my team and coach.”
Perry’s coach, Katelyn Spyhalski, guided her through the 2015-16 and 2016-17 lacrosse seasons when she earned most of her accolades. During those seasons, the two became a big part of each other’s athletic lives.
“Sarah has been a standout player since I had the privilege of coaching her,” Spyhalski began. “She has a great work ethic and is willing to do whatever it takes to help her team prevail. Sarah showed leadership both on and off the field, making her a player you could always count on."
After graduating high school, Perry continued her studies with a major in Biology at Randolph College as the newest midfielder on their women’s lacrosse team. She said this was because of her love for the team, coach, teachers, and general atmosphere on campus.
"Sarah was the first player I’ve coached to play lacrosse at a collegiate level, which was exciting for both Franklin County lacrosse as well as myself,” Spyhalski added.
While at Randolph, Perry became the ODAC Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week, the first ever female IWLCA D3 Attacker of the Week, and the first women's lacrosse player to be named the VaSID 2nd Team All State for the college division. According to Perry's profile on the Randolph website, she was the Randolph Female Rookie of the Year for all women's sports in 2018. Perry was also nationally ranked 17th for goals and 19th for draw controls per game in D3 in the NCAA.
“Last year, in our first game of the season, I broke the game record at Randolph for goals and points scored with 11 goals,” she added. “I also tied the ODAC record for goals in a game, broke the Randolph record for draw controls in a game, and was awarded Offensive MVP."
Perry earned this award because of her determination to not only herself, but to her teammates.
"Sarah works everyday to improve herself and motivate others. She gives 100% during games and is always willing to stay over at practice to do some extra reps for either her own benefit or to support her teammates," Ava Rupert, Randolph Women's Lacrosse Assistant Head Coach, shared.
The Wildcats were just starting their 2020 season when they were sent home by COVID-19. For the time being, Perry is staying with her number one supporters: her parents.
“We always believed in Sarah’s talent and ability,” Kate Perry said about her daughter. “The accolades she received last year though far exceeded anything we anticipated. We are most proud of the way she's remained completely humble and unassuming about it all. Everything to her is about the whole team, it is never about her.”
Daughter Sarah appreciated their backing as she's about to begin her senior season.
“We got word we’re moving in Jan. 25, practice starts Feb. 1, and our first game is the 13th,” she excitedly announced.
In case this year is a repeat of 2020, Perry still has one more season to look forward to.
“I plan to attend Randolph after graduation to receive my Masters in Coaching and Sports Leadership, as well as play my extra season that I lost last year due to COVID,” Perry explained. “Following that, I plan to attend the University of Lynchburg to receive my Masters in Athletic Training. I plan to be involved in the sports world as well as lacrosse.”
Both looking back and planning ahead have shown Perry just how much of a lacrosse legend she has become.
“Honestly, I never imagined all this could happen. I was never the player I could become until I started playing travel lacrosse my freshmen year. Without that coach, Coach Kate, and my teammates, I could never be where I am today,” she concluded.