DOVER, Del. - Wesley College is located in a city with a heavy military presence. With the Dover Air Force Base and several other sites nearby, it makes sense that some of Wesley's best and brightest student-athletes have also served in the military.
Jason Berry is a senior on the men's lacrosse team who is an active member of the Delaware National Guard and holds the rank of Specialist, as a heavy equipment operator and engineer. Monshea Newsome-Murray is a dual-sport athlete, participating in both women's basketball and women's track and field in her freshman season. Newsome-Murray is a specialist in the Army National Guard. Derek Lauria, a senior linebacker from the football team holds the rank of Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps. All three have credited some of their successes as student-athletes to their experience as part of the United States Armed Forces.
"I believe being in the military has made me a better leader on the field," said Berry, "It has helped me become a better teammate and helped me earn a place as captain of the lacrosse team."
Their military experience has helped them to keep things in perspective during their civilian life on a college campus. Unlike some civilian students, these veterans see their everyday problems as paling in comparison to challenges they have faced before. "My military experience has helped me stay motivated and knowing that my civilian problems are miniscule compared to the problems faced when being deployed or during my training," said Lauria.
For Newsome-Murray, her military experience has broadened her horizons on and off the field. "Being in the military has allowed me to be more open-minded," said the freshman. "During training I encountered many people with different backgrounds and cultures and college is the same way. It's taught me to be more accepting of others' differences."
Military experience has translated to on the field results for all three student-athletes, helping them build confidence in facing obstacles and maintain their physical fitness as well. Compared to his time in the Marines, Lauria hardly feels any stress on a football field, "My training has taught me to perform under stressful conditions and to have confidence even when it's not easy to."
Newsome-Murray agreed that her training has her mentally and physically prepared for almost anything that college athletics will throw at her, "I always tell myself that if I can make it through [my training] then I can make it through preseason, conditioning, or whatever the challenge may be."
Berry was deployed between his sophomore and junior lacrosse seasons but claimed that even though he was away from the field, his time overseas proved valuable as it forced him to stay in top physical shape.
Wesley College Athletic Director Mike Drass had all good things to say about all of the student-athletes past and present who have served in the military, "We are extremely grateful to them for their service to our country and extremely proud that they call themselves Wolverines."