COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland student-athletes were welcomed back Tuesday evening at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium with a passionate message from campus leaders, including University President Dr. Wallace D. Loh and Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson.
Enjoying a barbecue dinner while donning their Maryland Pride gray t-shirts, each student-athlete and coach from Maryland's 20 varsity sports enjoyed the opportunity to visit and hear words of encouragement from Dr. Loh, Anderson, NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Nick Hadley, SAAC President Julie Sinkovitz, a senior with the cross country team, M Club President Marjorie Baker-Bollinger and Terrapin Club President Marlene Feldman.
The distinguished speakers each shared a personal message on how they are extremely proud to be associated with Maryland Athletics.
"We are very appreciated of the time, effort and dedication you put both into the classroom and the field and court," Dr. Loh said. "You are our most visible ambassadors and we are proud that you represent the university and the state of Maryland. I will continue do everything to support you and your coaches in being successful."
Anderson welcomed each Maryland student-athlete back and shared the expectations he and the athletic department have for the upcoming season.
"It is a privilege to be a student-athelete at the University of Maryland," Anderson said. "We have to focus on three important goals during your time as a student-athlete: graduating, winning championships and being good citizens."
Feldman, in her first year as the aforementioned Terrapin Club President, shared how committed, loyal and proud the Terps' donors are to each of Maryland's student-athletes.
"We will do everything we can to help you be successful," Feldman shared. "We wear our lucky clothes, eat our lucky meal and sit in our lucky section together at games. You represent us and we so are proud of you. We only ask that you continue to represent us with pride on and off the field."
Seniors Sequoia Austin (women's basketball) and Patrick Mullins (men's soccer) emceed the 30-minute reception and also shared some invaluable lessons and experiences with their fellow student-athletes.
"Live in the moment," Mullins said. "We are all driven and passionate people and that is why we are here at Maryland. I was talking with Julie (Sinkovitz) earlier and we were sharing some of the many great memories that we had here with the Terps. We are one big community and we are in this together."
The Student-Athlete Welcome Back Barbecue concluded with a Human Bingo Contest and a much-anticipated Water Ballon Relay Race with the student-athletes and coaches teaming up to get the "water-filled" ballon across the field (100 yards) without dropping it on the field. Many balloons were dropped, but there were so many smiles that no one was really bothered about getting wet.
"It is always great to get everyone together and catch up before the seasons starts," men's basketball sophomore Charles Mitchell said. "We shared some laughs, reconnected with many of our friends after being away over the summer and just had a fun night together. It's really nice that the athletic department brings us together to celebrate the new school and athletic year."