April 24, 2013

'Scariest Day of My Life': BC Women Describe Emotional Week

by Kelly McNelis and the Boston College women's lacrosse team | LaxMagazine.com

Boston College junior attacker Moira Barry (foreground) was one of several Eagles' women's lacrosse players to cheer on Boston Marathon runners as they ran past BC at Mile 21.
© Claire Blohm

"We will run another marathon, bigger and better than ever. We are one. We are strong. We are Boston. We are Boston Strong." — Fenway Park public address announcer Henry Mahegan

The Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day. It is a day that Bostonians look forward to all year long. Commonly known as "Marathon Monday," it is a civic holiday and many schools as well as state, county and municipal offices close in its honor. All of Boston celebrates on this day. This year, however, something no one could have ever imagined happened on our beloved Marathon Monday. I would like to share with you how my team's week unfolded at Boston College.

Marathon Monday — April 15, 2013

9:00 a.m.
Moira Barry — Junior Attacker, Framingham, Mass.
"Boston College is located right at Mile 21, which is just past the top of Heartbreak Hill, arguably the hardest part of the Boston Marathon. My favorite part of Marathon Monday is cheering on the runners as they go by, especially since they are so relieved that it is mainly downhill from where we stand to watch! I missed the lead men and women runners go by this year, but I think that the later runners are much more fun to watch because they love to interact with the audience. They will give many more high fives and thumbs up than the earlier runners! A few of my friends ran it this year, and I was pleasantly surprised I caught them as they went by... It is amazing to get to cheer on people as they accomplish their goals, especially since they are so appreciative. Each runner is inspiring in their own way."

2:45 p.m.
Emily Mata — Sophomore Goalie, Severna Park, Md.
"On the day of this year's Boston Marathon, I found myself in a situation that I never thought I would be in. For the past two years, my dad has run in the Boston Marathon. It was his dream to run it while I was in school at Boston College.

"After cheering him on at Mile 21 and getting a quick sweaty hug, I made my way into the city to meet him at the finish line, just as I had done last year. While searching for my dad, I found myself on the corner of Clarendon and Boylston, about a block and a half away from where the first explosion occurred. First I heard a loud boom and then saw a large cloud of smoke followed by the second explosion. My first thought was that there was no way a bomb just went off; there must be some kind of accident. Everyone around me looked confused and I knew something was wrong. I called my dad almost in tears until we were finally able to meet up. Never in my life have I ever felt so vulnerable and defenseless. As we tried to get as far away as possible from the finish line, police cars started to stream in, and I could hear sirens coming in from every direction. Everyone was in shock, not knowing exactly what had just happened. I am grateful that we are OK and worried about all those affected."

2:55 p.m.
Rachel Igoe — Sophomore Midfielder, Framingham, Mass.
"When I found out that the bombs went off at the finish line of the marathon, I immediately thought of Emily Mata because I know she had gone in to Boston to see her dad. I was so worried my stomach had dropped. We were able to get in touch with her and find out she and her dad were OK. This whole experience really makes you appreciate the people in your life. I have such great teammates and I have met so many other great people at BC. I am so thankful to have all of them in my life."

3:10 p.m.
Steph Sabatini — Sophomore Defender, Longmeadow, Mass.
"I am really shocked that something like this could happen on such an amazing day in Boston. At first I didn't believe it, but now it finally hit me and I am terrified of what else could happen. It was very overwhelming knowing Emily [Mata] was downtown, and the cell service was not working. It took a long time before she could reach me to inform me that she was safe. It was the scariest day of my life."

Tuesday — April 16

7:00 p.m.
Kara Magley — Freshman Midfielder, Newtown, Pa.
"The day after the bombings, I was still in utter shock. We all were. Some of us had family members who ran in the marathon, and one of my close friends had actually run in it as well. Monday was one of the scariest days of my life. However, we all tried to carry on with our day as normal as possible on Tuesday. Before practice, our coach called for a team meeting where we all talked about how we were dealing with the tragedy of the previous day, and let us know that she was there for us if any of us needed comforting. Honestly, I don't really think that being a freshman made this event any scarier. I think it was just as frightening for one grade at BC as it was for another."

7:30 p.m.
Kathryn Riley — Freshman Midfielder, Wrentham, Mass.
"It was shocking and I'm still very shaken up from all of the events that happened in a city that I have so many memories in. The fact that the bombings happened on such an important day in Massachusetts really just adds to the shock."

8:15 p.m.
Kate Rich — Freshman Attacker, Westwood, Mass.
"Campus is pretty quiet the day after the bombings, but luckily we were all together as a team. I couldn't imagine not being by my teammates sides after an event like that."

Game Day — April 17, Boston College vs. Harvard

1:00 p.m.
Mollie Erdle — Freshman Defender, Lone Tree, Colo.
"Pride is what brought this city together in a time of great distress, and made an extremely negative situation one that brought out the positives in many people and situations. Honoring this pride, our team knew we needed to play for our city. I believe Harvard felt the same way. We are both universities that represent one of the greatest cities in America, and it was our duty, together, to play for that which had been lost, and that which needed to be honored. This is a city worth playing for, and we will continue to walk onto our field following a unifying 'Boston' chant."

4:00 p.m.
Brooke Blue — Senior Attack, Captain, Bethesda, Md.
"The rivalry between Harvard and BC is one that has become more and more fierce over the past four years. After the bombing on Marathon Monday, however, it was great to see the two teams put aside our differences and join in a moment of silence before the game. In that one moment we weren't rivals, we were both 'Boston Strong'."

7:00 p.m.
Covie Stanwick — Sophomore Attack, Baltimore, Md.
"Going into the game against Harvard on Wednesday was pretty emotional after Marathon Monday. Two teams in Boston were playing for their city after such a horrible tragedy. We tied blue and yellow ribbons to our shoes to honor and pay tribute to all that were involved in what happened on Monday. Obviously, we wanted to win, but the game against Harvard meant more to us because Boston has become our home. We wanted to play and win for our home, and we will continue to play for our home for the rest of this season."

Thursday — April 18

11:00 p.m.
Claire Blohm — Junior Defender, Garden City, N.Y.
"On Thursday night, my roommate [and teammate Kara O'Connell] and I went to bed early, because we had film at 6:45 the next morning. As usual, I checked through twitter on my phone before going to sleep, and I noticed a lot of tweets about a shooting at MIT. It made me think that there must be something wrong with the world if there was a bombing on Monday and a shooting just days later. Looking back, I should have realized that the two incidents were probably connected, but I just went to sleep completely oblivious that the MIT shooting was just the start of a very dangerous manhunt for the Marathon Monday bombers."

"Lockdown" Friday — April 19

The line outside of a Boston College dining hall the day of Boston's city-wide lockdown on Friday.
© Claire Blohm

6:00 a.m.
Jesse Coffield — Senior Defender, Captain, Alexandria, Va.
"At around 6 a.m. the captains got a text from the coaches saying that film was cancelled due to the 'current situation.' We went downstairs to our common room and turned on the TV to find that a massive manhunt was underway for two suspects in the marathon bombing. So much seemed to be happening. The news reported that there had been a shootout in the early morning in Watertown. One suspect was dead and the other was on the loose, armed and considered dangerous. We were all just sitting there in total shock. The city was completely shutting down and we were told by BC that all classes were cancelled and not to leave our dorms."

6:45 a.m.
Kara O'Connell — Junior Defender, Norwell, Mass.
"My alarm went off at 6:45 a.m. Claire [my roommate] and I were starting to head to an early morning film session when we received a BC alert message telling us that the school was in lock-down mode because the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was last seen in Watertown, one town over. My other roommates, and teammates, and I immediately turned on the news and began watching intently. Luckily for us, we had some food in our room because with the school in lock-down mode, the dining halls weren't open and BCPD was not allowing anyone outside. Eventually around 1:30 p.m., we got word that the RA's and BCPD would escort our entire building to the dining hall. It was such a surreal and odd experience. As the hours passed, I found myself getting more anxious about the bomber not being found."

1:00 p.m.
Kate McCarthy — Junior Midfielder, Longmeadow, Mass.
"It was definitely strange being in an off-campus house during the shelter-in-place. I would peek my head out my door and there was not one person or car in sight on Commonwealth Avenue. It was really eerie."

3:00 p.m.
Cali Ceglarski — Junior Midfielder, Captain, Darien, Conn.
"I live off campus on Foster Street, about a half mile off of campus. It was a terrifying experience living so close to where all the investigation was going on, but I was confident that the police forces were doing everything they could to keep us protected and calm."

6:15 p.m.
Caroline Margolis — Freshman Midfielder, Raleigh, N.C.
"When the shelter-in-place was lifted and the man was still on the loose, I was confident that the police were going to catch him. Actually, even before they lifted the ban I was confident that everything was going to be OK."

6:35 p.m.
Carly Weilminster — Junior Midfielder, Ellicott City, Md.
"When they lifted the stay-in order we weren't really sure what to do. We knew that he was still out there and could be anywhere and, before we knew it, news stations reported gunfire and within minutes confirmed that they had the suspect cornered. It was a huge sense of relief to know that we were safe and that the incredible actions of the law enforcement were successful. It is so scary to feel unsafe in your own city but I'm so proud to be going to school in Boston and to call this city home. BOSTONSTRONG."

Students celebrate at BC's on-campus senior housing after the announcement that the second suspect in last Monday's bombing had been taken into custody.
© Mikaela Rix

8:45 p.m.
Mikaela Rix — Sophomore Midfielder, Garden City, N.Y.
"After sitting in my dorm all day, the joy that I felt when they finally found the bomber was unbelievable. The fact that it was happening only three miles away was scary enough and the fact that they caught him was amazing. Our room immediately turned on our amp and played every American themed song and sang at the top of our lungs. We then headed out to the mods [on-campus senior housing] where hundred of students were celebrating and chanting USA, USA. It was so awesome to see. Students were thanking the police officers on campus and it was just a great thing to see! The Boston Police did such an incredible job finding him in just one day. It was hard to not have a smile on your face!"

Sunday — April 21, Senior Day: Boston College vs. Canisius

6:00 p.m.
Ali Meagher — Senior Defender, Captain, Bow, N.H.
"It has been an eventful week in Boston and on campus. Although it has been tense at times, our team has stuck together and kept those affected by last Monday's events in our hearts. I am so blessed to be a part of an amazing program with the best teammates, in the city of Boston. I am grateful for each day that I have had for the past four years to play the sport that I love in the Boston area. Senior Day was especially memorable because in the wake of last Monday's events, we were playing especially for Boston. Prior to the start of the game our entire team, along with our number one fan, Judith Theriault [from the Friends of Jaclyn Program], walked to center field holding an American flag. Everyone present on Sunday dedicated a moment of silence, especially to the victims and families affected by last Monday's bombing. At that moment I felt an overwhelming sense of pride for my team and program, and even more so, our city. Moving forward into the remainder of our season, we will continue to honor those people and play for Boston."

6:40 p.m.
Kate Rooney — Senior Midfielder, Basking Ridge, N.J.
"Playing at home is always meaningful, but was especially so after a tough week in Boston. We were celebrating the capture of a terrorist, but also mourning the horrific events of Marathon Monday. The postponed Senior Day was an incredible reminder of our supportive teammates, coaches and parents. Close wins are always nerve-racking, especially after six straight wins. The Eagles have won seven in a row for the first time in program history. I couldn't be more proud to have played for this team, or more excited for the future of BC lacrosse. A win was the perfect way to end our regular season, and hopefully a positive indication of what's to come in the ACC tournament [BC plays Virginia in the quarterfinals on Thursday]."

7:00 p.m.
Emily Zlevor — Freshman Midfielder, Medfield, Mass.
"It just felt great after all that had happened over the weekend to come out strong and win for Boston and for our seniors, it was a great accomplishment."

7:10 p.m.
Sarah Mannelly — Freshman Midfielder, New Canaan, Conn.
"It meant a lot to the seniors that we were able to come up with a win for them and the city of Boston, especially after the week we had."

8:00 p.m.
Lauren Bronson — Sophomore Defender, Glastonbury, Conn.
"To be Boston Strong, we must stick together as a city and not let anything tear us apart, and this only goes to show that nothing will."

8:30 p.m.
Jackie Young — Junior Goalie, Medford, Mass.
"'Boston Strong' means being tough and resilient in the face of adversity. Boston is a phenomenal city with so much spirit and despite any efforts to bring us down, Boston Strong is a phrase that reminds us of the love we have for each other and our city and is helping us to overcome the Marathon Bombing."

Monday — April 22

2:49 p.m.
Kelly McNelis — Junior Attacker, Millersville, Md.
"Our deepest sympathy goes to those who have suffered from these events. We give a special thank-you to all those who helped us get through this horrific week. Thank you, BC Police, Administration and Staff, FBI, Boston and surrounding areas Police and Fire Departments and especially the first responders, hospitals, doctors and all the heroes who ran into the turmoil to help the wounded and save lives. We are BC — We are BOSTON STRONG!"

2:50 p.m.
A minute of silence to honor all those who lost their lives and those who will be affected in the future by this tragedy.

Boston College junior attacker Kelly McNelis has blogged for LaxMagazine.com since last season. Click here to read her previous blogs.

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