Kenzie Kent, Mallory Pugh and Charli Collier discuss young careers at espnW: Women + Sports Summit
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Think you need a day off?
As a two-sport athlete at Boston College, Kenzie Kent trains for multiple sports year-round. During the 2016-17 academic year, she led the Eagles' women's hockey team to its third consecutive Frozen Four appearance, then helped guide the Boston College lacrosse team to its first final four in May.
And as she transitions from hockey season -- which runs from September to March -- to lacrosse, sometimes that means mere days off in between seasons.
"My freshman year, I took two days off," said Kent, who was named the most outstanding player of the 2017 women's NCAA lacrosse tournament (the first to win the award while playing for a losing team). "It varies every year."
That translated to a week and a half off her sophomore year, and two weeks off between seasons as a junior. The lacrosse season actually opens in February, but Kent takes a brief break before jumping back in.
"It's whatever I'm feeling in the moment," she said. "If I didn't love being on a team so much and playing for the coaches I play for, I wouldn't be doing it. I love playing both sports. I couldn't pick one coming into college."
Kent was one of three athletes participating in Monday's Voices of the Future panel at the espnW: Women + Sports Summit. Mallory Pugh, the 19-year-old forward on the U.S. women's national soccer team, and Texas high school basketball star Charli Collier joined Kent onstage and discussed their young careers and much more with espnW's Julie Foudy.
Here's a look at some of the highlights:
Collier, a University of Texas-bound 6-foot-5 forward who is the No. 2-ranked recruit in the HoopGurlz 2018 class -- didn't hesitate when asked what's the one thing in her sport that she would change.
"The foul count, hands down," Collier quickly answered. "I probably average -- it's not good -- three or four fouls a game.
"And I need at least eight."
While Pugh, who has scored six goals in 28 games with the U.S. women's national team, joked that "bigger goals would be nice" for women's soccer, Kent's answer was, as expected, two-fold.
"For lacrosse, I would say fewer whistles, it slows the game down a lot," Kent said. "And hockey ... A lot of people don't like that you can't check in women's hockey. But I'm OK with that. I'm good."
Words of wisdom
Pugh is the youngest player to make her U.S. women's national team debut in 11 years, earning her first cap in January 2016 at 17 years, 269 days old.
Pugh has U.S. Soccer's Kelley O'Hara to thank for getting her through the moment.
"I was nervous but Kelley said, 'It's going to be OK, just chill and you're going to be fine," Pugh recalled. "That's the best advice I've gotten [from a teammate]."
And it's something Pugh has embraced in her everyday life.
"Everything is going to work out if you just don't take things too seriously," Pugh added.
The recruiting race
All three athletes said they began receiving recruiting letters as early as seventh and eighth grade -- and in hindsight, they wish the recruiting process didn't start so young.
"In high school, there was 2½ years where I was talking every night to my parents about what I was going to do, just stressing out," Kent said. "That took away from my experience as a youth player."
Collier, who said she was offered her first scholarship in the seventh grade, is still knee-deep in the recruiting process. Just last week she decommitted from perennial powerhouse UConn and then committed instead to local power Texas.
She even called herself a "victim" of the recruiting process.
"It did take some of the fun from it [for me]," she said. "It was more of a business."