NE-10 STUDENT-ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: "Life in the Balance"

By Erica LaBranche, ‘13
Stonehill College Athletic Communications Assistant

Across the Northeast-10 Conference, Jackie Ladino is known as a star athlete on both the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams at Stonehill College. That is only one small part, however, of what she has been able to accomplish when she closes out an amazing collegiate career when she accepts her diploma at Commencement on Sunday.

Ladino will graduate with a 3.14 grade point average as a neuroscience major. In addition, she is a dedicated volunteer to many on and off campus organizations including “Urban Plunge,” a “My Brother’s Keeper” program located in nearby Brockton.

“Just seeing the kids and getting to know them made me really look up to them,” said Ladino.

The North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, native is also an active volunteer with the Special Olympics. “It is nice seeing the kids do what they are passionate about and to see the parents there cheering them on.”

To some people, this type of schedule would seem like a nightmare, but to Ladino it is her life. She says the way she balances everything is to focus on the task at hand. “I fully commit myself to what I am doing at the time.”

Ladino is a self-admitted “dying breed” as a two-sport athlete, excelling at both by earning first team All-Northeast-10 honors for field hockey and lacrosse during her senior year and is a two-time field hockey All-American.

Her most memorable moments as an athlete are hosting the NCAA Division II Championships last fall after leading the Skyhawks to the NE-10 regular season championship. “Being an All-American was a real achievement to me, because it was something I never thought I could accomplish,” said Ladino.

Field hockey head coach Shelly Morris couldn’t have been more pleased to have Ladino leading her team to new heights. “Players like Jackie don’t come along very often,” Morris stated. “She is a natural leader, extremely competitive, very self driven, hard working but most of all just a great person. Most two sport athletes seem overwhelmed with balancing it all, but you would never hear Jackie complain about it.

“I think the constant craziness propelled her even more,” continued Morris. “It’s telling as to what kind of character Jackie is, when you meet with other players on your team and they want to be like and do things like Jackie does them.”.

In the spring, Ladino turned her attention to the lacrosse team at Stonehill where she recently wrapped up a senior year that saw her named to the All-Conference first team, finishing her career with over 100 points.

“Jackie is the epitome of what Division II coaches look for in a student athlete. As great of an athlete as she is she is an even better person,” says lacrosse head coach Kathryn Conover. “She brings humor, hard work, intensity and kindness to our practices and games every day. We have been very lucky to have had her as part of our family for the past four years. She will certainly leave very big shoes to fill.”

Ladino’s hard work has also shown in the classroom while working with Sharon Ramos-Goyette, Co-Director of the Neuroscience Program.

"Jackie’s leadership and talent on the field are matched by her commitment, intellect and enthusiasm in the classroom,” said Ramos-Goyette. “Just as she is admired by coaches and teammates alike, she is esteemed by her professors and classmates.

“Her combined athleticism and scientific ability, both requiring so much time, discipline and talent breaks stereotypes and makes her a role model to many," continued Goyette.

Ladino has found that the skills she has learned on the field can be used in the classroom or vice versa. “Things I learn on the field like, teamwork can also be used in the classroom,” says Ladino, “I tend to find that all that I do seems to intertwine together quite nicely.”

When it came to her busy schedule with athletics Ladino said the professors were more than understanding. “I never had any issues with having to leave class to travel to games,” said Ladino. “They were very supportive both on the field and in the classroom.”

Reflecting upon her experiences in the classroom, on the field, and through volunteering she found that they all have helped her in some way. “These experiences have shaped me into the mature woman I am today,” said Ladino.

Her motivation for all that she does is to make proud all the people who have helped her along the way. “I just want to make everyone proud and give back to those who have helped me,” says Ladino. “I wanted to leave my mark and get the most out of the school that I could.”

Ladino, the daughter of Linda and Robert Ladino, of North Dartmouth, plans to attend Simmons College starting next fall to work on becoming a nurse practitioner. “I just love working with kids,” says Ladino.

As for athletics, she says that coaching could definitely be in her future, “I would love to share my passion with others.”

Ladino, who recently received the Edward E. Martin Scholar-Athlete Award at Stonehill and is a Northeast-10 Conference “Woman of the Year” nominee, also hopes to one day to go abroad and to practice medicine in a third world country.