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Sweatbands Represent More than Hard Work for Brandon Donnellan

Photo from paceuathletics.com.

Photo from paceuathletics.com.

TJ Combs, Featured Writer

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They were both No. 14. They both loved what they did. For him, lacrosse; for her, soccer. And the sweatband around his calf every game reminds senior Brandon Donnellan to give it his all and push himself because he knows his late friend Christina Ginley sure would.

Ginley was Donnellan’s close friend who passed away their senior of high school in a car accident en route to a competition in 2013. She was hardworking, usually in the gym at 5 a.m. every day, and could outperform most athletes her age.

She very much inspires Donnellan to give it his best every game.

“I wear [the sweatband] every game,” Donnellan said. “I do it to remember to never give up and keep myself going.”

The six-foot-one defender found lacrosse in the fourth grade after baseball lost the fast-paced thrill he needed. He took up lacrosse and after years of training, his high school assistant coach, who had recently been hired by Pace, told him about the school down the road.

Pace needed fresh talent at the time and Donnellan, a team captain and a two-time All-American in high school, was offered a scholarship and thrown into Pace’s lacrosse program.

With it came a cloud of intimidation, but as Donnellan’s strengths grew, so did the program’s

“I’ve seen the program go from never making playoffs to expecting to always make the playoffs now,” said Donnellan, who played in 12 games and scored five goals his rookie year in 2014. “Expectations have definitely been raised. It’s nice to see all the effort hasn’t been wasted.”

Donnellan has been a leader of the lacrosse program since he came to Pace, which included taking every rep as a freshman when the defense lacked the numbers.

“I like to challenge myself. I’m never stagnant, I’m never satisfied, so to be a better player than I ever thought I could be is always something I’ve strived for,” Donnellan said. “I feel comfortable leading this team because at one point I too needed so much leadership.”

Men’s lacrosse came into last season as the defending ECAC (Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) Champions and has gone to the playoffs two out of the last three years. They finished last year 11-6 overall (7-4 Northeast-10 Conference) but were eliminated by the Southern New Hampshire Penmen in the playoffs.

“At the end of [last] season we played our best lacrosse,” said Donnellan, the middle of three children. “I’m excited to see the returning players go even further this year. Kids like Wyatt Barfoot coming off an ACL tear, our rookie of the year, and Ryan Calmon, seeing kids like that coming back really gets me excited to see what we’re capable of.”

The Political Science and Marketing double major applies his hard to something more lighthearted such as the social media app, Vine. He hopes to utilize his marketing skills in the future by doing something creative.

“I’d like to be on a big creative team, making things that stick in people’s heads I’d say it’s a talent of mine,” Donnellan said. “I’d like to do something bold yet simple. I loved [watching] Vines. All my friends and I would do is make them, our coach even said that was his favorite thing about our class was our Vines.”

Donnellan continues to remind himself to give everything one hundred percent because so long as he has the sweatband as a reminder, he’ll be hard at work.

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