DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Luis Lizarzaburu got the word at the start of the spring semester.
The former Yorktown High School standout was chosen to represent Mercy College at the NCAA Leadership Forum held in Orlando, Fla., in mid-April.
It turned out to be four days he’ll never forget as the goaltender on the Mercy soccer team was among more than 300 college athletics and administrators from three divisions to participate.
Lizarzaburu describes it as a “knowledge-packed weekend.”
Student-athletes were divided into groups that focused on timely topics.
“While discussing the key aspects of what is a leader, how one can be a better leader, and how you would disperse your knowledge back to your school and amongst all of your peers, we would be competing against the rest of the teams as which team has the most spirit,” Lizarzaburu said. “And when you have teams all consisted of student athletes competing for something, you know it was very, very competitive.”
Lizarzaburu knows all about excelling in a competitive environment. Heading into his senior year, he started 13 games last fall and had a 2.63 goals against average. That came after the Mount Vernon native earned all-section honors for Yorktown’s soccer team and also excelled as a member of its highly regarded dance company.
But it was hearing the perspectives of the speakers at the conference as well as other student-athletes that Lizarzaburu found the most beneficial part of the weekend.
“The guest speakers, with their stories and motivational words, really sparked a flame in me, telling me that anything can happen but its what you do after that proves to you that you can accomplish anything,” Lizarzaburu said.
Among the guest speakers was former Olympic track star Mark Everett.
“Their inspirations, where they came from and how they turned it into a great future, their abilities, all were simply amazing, too say the least,” said Lizarzaburu, who is vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee at Mercy. “The student-athletes I've had the pleasure of really getting to know and connect with were truly one of a kind, each with their story and their goals, that really helped me see my goals clearer and really told me that, ‘Hey, if they can do it, so can I.’ ”
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