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The Voices of Sweet Briar: How A College Shutdown Feels

Sweet Briar College students embrace on March 3, shortly after news broke that the school was shutting its doors this summer. Jill Nance/News & Daily Advance/AP Images

ESPN's Hillary London isn't the only former Sweet Briar College supporter feeling the sting of the school's just-announced closing. Here are other Vixens explaining what the school's closing means to them.

Megan Behrle: former field hockey and lacrosse player, now works in finance

"I coach two teams -- an inner-city youth program in DC that uses the game of lacrosse to teach life skills to historically underserved neighborhoods, and a Northern Virginia travel team that focuses on getting athletes recruited to colleges. It is my responsibility to teach young girls that they don't need to be that 'nice girl.' They can be powerful and don't have to apologize for that. I chose Sweet Briar because it allowed me to chase excellence in all my passions, but the athletics department has made a lasting impact. Playing sports at a collegiate level, particularly as a woman, teaches one to be fearless and to relentlessly pursue excellence, both mentally and physically."

Meagan Bell: former volleyball and softball player, now works as a senior financial analyst at MeadWestvaco

"The biggest impact that Sweet Briar had on my development was being able to be a dual-sport athlete in college. I don't think that many people get that opportunity anymore. I was able to play both volleyball and softball. Two separate teams and seasons encouraged me to coach two sports after graduation. I encourage my students to push for those relationships. Winning is fine, but it is important for them to realize the relationships that they are building with their teammates will be at the base and at the heart of everything that they do."

Ellie Donahue Boyd: former lacrosse player, current alumni relations counselor for Trinity Episcopal School

"Sweet Briar impacted my work ethic more than anything else. I learned how to pick myself up. We didn't win every game, but we did go out on the field each time to give our best. Now coaching at the high school level and seeing what they are experiencing through sports, you can't get that in the Spanish classroom, or as the member of a club."

Rebecca Olander Christian: former field hockey player, now attending grad school

"In high school, I loved field hockey and it isn't like now where everyone is being recruited. I applied early and the environment at Sweet Briar instilled that confidence in you, making you think, 'Why not me?' And now, I'm the one to stand up; I'm the one to speak out. I'm in graduate school now, and I am the only one raising my hand. Sweet Briar makes you do that. Those lessons definitely stay with you."

Alison Sims Courtney: former rider, now works as a teacher

"I'm a competitive rider at 5-2, and I was approaching a lot of schools when I graduated high school. But I was told that I was really good, but kind of tiny. I would be a fantastic practice rider, but I wouldn't be considered for the show team because I was too small. I explored Sweet Briar, and John Conyers was like, 'OK, you're short, but can you ride well?' He was the first person to ask whether I could be great. That was the kind of place I wanted to be at."

Katie Hearn: former lacrosse player, now Senior VP of Redgate Real Estate Advisors

"Sweet Briar played the very first women's lacrosse game in the early 1950s. I am so distressed that it might play its last game this year. Not everyone wants to play D-I. Many of my teammates joined the team never having played. Sweet Briar allowed that to happen."

Hannah Hesser: former swimmer, now Business Analyst for Golden Road Brewing

"A recruited high school swimmer, I chose Sweet Briar to be a big fish in a small pond. Sweet Briar instilled a huge amount of confidence in me. In any sport, when you devote 30 hours a week, you start to develop an incredible work ethic. I now work for a startup brewery, and I know that my success can be traced back to work that I put in each day, in the pool and in the classroom."

Jenn Wiley Schmidt: former field hockey and lacrosse player, current Group Leader in Automation at Pharmaceutical Product Development

"I think that I was born competitive, aggressive and opinionated; it is an uncontrollable thing. At Sweet Briar, I realized that I am smart. Thinking quickly and solving problems on the field helped me to learn my strengths and my weaknesses. I have been able to translate that into what I do now. Every day, I am solving problems -- using my brain, being competitive, challenging my team to come up with new ideas and innovations, driving the industry. I came to Sweet Briar aimless, and I left with direction and drive."