By Rachel Holzman         

 Back against the lockers of the barren senior hallway, Tyler Weeks sits conversing with some of his teammates and other athletes before school. When the bell for first block rings, he gets up, throws his back pack over his shoulder, helps up his friend next to him, and starts off for class, high fiving his way through the hall, strolling as if it were a normal school day. It is not. The majority of the senior class is still sleeping and will enjoy the beautiful day at the beach, as it is senior skip day.

Weeks, an AHS senior, boys lacrosse captain and soon-to-be D1 athlete at UMass-Amherst, knows the implications of being a student athlete. Even though the end of senior year is close, many spring sports teams are still in season, and will be playing after graduation. Senior athletes take on the role of leading teams and have a certain responsibility to uphold even after they are no longer in classes. As other students get excited for senior week , athletes have to think about possibly missing some of the fun outings with their friends to be around for practices or state tournament games.

After graduation, Weeks says, he will still feel motivated. “It’s going to be fun,” he added, “because I really like to play sports.”

This represents the majority of the senior athletes who will still be playing for the school after they are no longer students. When asked how he felt about having to miss parts of senior week, Weeks replied, “It doesn’t faze me; I’d rather be playing.”

These athletes are displaying their understanding of commitment. Whether they’re continuing to play a sport in college, like Abbie Pustis, who will run indoor track and play lacrosse at Bridgewater State, or tennis player Annie Garvin, who will not continue to play competitively at Bucknell University, these seniors are exemplifying devotion to their sport and team.

“It’s crazy how soon we get out of school, but I like to stay busy, so I’m happy to have practice after graduation,” Pustis commented.

Garvin agreed with her: “I love my team, and want to go as far in states as we can.”

It’s difficult to imagine not being on a team in college, or having a whole new set of teammates, so seniors want to make the most of their last weeks as Andover High athletes and work their hardest to help their team reach for the state title.

AHS math teacher Alan Hibino is the JV boys basketball coach and is having a phenomenal first season as the girls varsity tennis coach. Hibino wants his players to enjoy all parts of senior week and said he will drive them back in time for a match if need be, so they don’t have to miss a whole day of activity. “I don’t think ending classes has any effect on the girls,” Hibino says of his players. “They want to win and have worked very hard to prepare for states. They want to do work, and they’re ready.”

Girls tennis captain Julia Alagero has had her best season yet and is confident with the team’s preparation: “We’ve had an amazing season, and I’m ready to dig deeper to have an even better post season.”