The names Andie Anastos, Delaney Belinskas, and Kenzie Kent might not ring a bell if you ask sports fans outside of Boston College. But at BC, these three women are known for excelling at not just one, but two varsity sports each. So what makes someone decide to play two D1 sports while also pursuing a world class education?
Kenzie Kent is perhaps the best known of BC’s two-sport athletes, as she plays for BC’s top teams: women’s hockey and lacrosse. Kent initially planned on playing lacrosse in college, but upon visiting BC learned that she was also on the hockey team’s radar. Boston College was the only school recruiting her with competitive hockey and lacrosse teams, so once she knew she could play both there, she says “I had that kind of set in my mind.”
Kent has spent the last three seasons playing hockey in the fall and lacrosse in the spring once the hockey season ended, but she is redshirting this lacrosse season so she can play a full season next year.
“I really want to spend a full season with the lacrosse team, just to really devote my time and energy to that team since I haven’t done that yet,” Kent explains, while also noting that “it’s really hard not to be on the field with them, but I’m just so proud to be a part of the program and it’s really exciting to watch.”
Like Kent, Delaney Belinskas is a winter/spring two-sport athlete. Belinskas was only recruited for hockey, but at the end of last year, after seeing Kent successfully compete in two sports, she decided to look into joining the softball team as a sophomore. Belinskas credits watching Kent transition from hockey to lacrosse with motivating her to reach out to the softball coaches, as it showed her that playing two D1 sports is manageable.
The final member of this BC women’s hockey two-sport trio, Andie Anastos, took a different path from her teammates. She played both basketball and hockey in high school, but was recruited by better schools for hockey and spent four years playing for Coach Crowley at BC. With senior year coming to a close and no plans for after graduation, Anastos went to her coaches to ask for advice. They suggested reaching out to the basketball program to see if she could play this season while pursuing a graduate degree. And so Anastos, who “literally hadn’t played basketball in four years,” used her final year of NCAA eligibility to play for Coach Johnson.
“I applaud Kenzie and Delaney for doing [both sports] in the same year,” says Anastos when asked to compare her experience with her teammates’, “but it’s nice to just be able to focus on one thing.”
All three women feel grateful that they’ve been able to play for two teams at BC, with each of them pointing out that playing for different coaches has allowed them to become more adaptable people and better team players. Kent and Belinskas also say that moving between teams has made them better problem solvers.
Kent’s adjustment between hockey and lacrosse has been fairly easy, because BC has top programs in both sports.
“Every day at practice it is the coolest thing ever learning from former National Team members,” Kent says of Coaches Crowley, Kennedy, Walker, and Treanor, “and we really buy into what they’re saying because we know they’ve been there before, and recently too.”
Meanwhile, Belinskas and Anastos have had different experiences, as the softball program is a team on the rise and women’s basketball is in the rebuilding stages. Both women feel that coming from the BC women’s hockey team has helped them to contribute more to their new teams.
Belinskas notes that the entire softball team is very driven to succeed, but that her experiences playing for BC women’s hockey have helped her to give advice about how to keep rising expectations from creating pressure. Despite coaching differences, Belinskas, who is in her first season as a two-sport athlete, has been surprised at how similar the hockey and softball teams are.
“Both teams have lots of heart and drive,” she observes, “even though one sport is well known at BC and one isn’t as recognized.”
Anastos, on the other hand, knew she would have a very different experience in her final year as a BC athlete.
“You want to win,” she says about joining the women’s basketball team, “but I knew that it was going to be a lot different than hockey.” Her involvement with the winning women’s hockey team allowed her to take on a leadership role with basketball in relation to team dynamics and culture.
Of course, the biggest question when looking at BC’s two-sport athletes is “why do they all play hockey?” When asked this question, Anastos, Belinskas, and Kent all point to the hockey staff: Coach Crowley, Coach Kennedy, and former assistant coach, Gillian Apps. Kent notes that Coach Crowley herself played two sports (hockey and softball) in college, and is therefore more open to her players dedicating time to other teams. Belinskas agrees that Crowley and Kennedy “want you to have all the opportunities possible and to be happy.” In addition to the importance of BC’s amazing hockey coaches, Anastos adds that hockey may lend itself better to the idea of playing two sports because “a lot of other sports are very intense at young ages and want you to specialize, but with hockey, everything is more lenient. Hockey likes that you do other things outside of being on the ice.”
While balancing two sports with schoolwork might seem like a lot, to Kent, Belinskas, and Anastos it is just another day in the life. Kent expresses their motivation best, simply saying “I just love being on a team.”