Leading by Example

These three senior team captains bleed Suffolk blue, inspiring their teammates with their willingness to work hard and rise to every challenge
Turner Mitchell sprinting around the curve of an indoor track
“I’m driven to pursue the goals I want to achieve,” says Turner Mitchell, co-captain of both the men’s indoor and outdoor track teams. “And I expect the same from everyone else. That can come across as tough love sometimes, but I’m always pushing people to be their best.”

Making the Most of Every Opportunity: Turner Mitchell, BA ’24

Turner Mitchell, Class of 2024, discovered at an early age just how precious life is. During the spring semester of his freshman year, his mother, Amanda, died of COVID during the early stages of the pandemic. She was just 45 years old.

The loss was an enormous blow. “I realized then that I wasn’t immortal,” he says, “and there is a finite amount of time that I am given. I have to use it to be a better person every day, despite the obstacles that come my way.”

From that point on, Mitchell focused on making the most of his Suffolk experience. During his sophomore year, he was elected co-captain of the men’s indoor and outdoor track teams, a position he has held every year since. He has also worked as an orientation leader, resident assistant in 10 West, and teaching assistant in both the Sawyer Business School and the College of Arts & Sciences.

“Organization and honesty have carried me a long way when it comes to staying on top of everything that I do,” says the undergrad law major from Venice, Florida.

Mitchell’s main track event is the 200-meter dash, where his strength is building and maintaining speed. While he recorded his personal best time (23.19 seconds) this winter while competing in a Boston University invitational meet, what makes him proudest, he says, is his willingness to challenge himself.

“I’m driven to pursue the goals I want to achieve,” says Mitchell, who was an All-Commonwealth Coast Conference Third Team selection during both his junior and sophomore seasons in the 4x100-meter relay event. “And I expect the same from everyone else. That can come across as tough love sometimes, but I’m always pushing people to be their best.”

“Other student-athletes look up to Turner because of how hard he works and how willing he is to help them on and off the track,” says Head Coach Will Feldman. “He has a great way of connecting with people, and I think he’ll be successful in whatever he wants to pursue.”

Away from the track, Mitchell worked as a teaching assistant for both Amanda McGrath, dean of undergraduate student affairs, and Dave DeAngelis, associate dean of student affairs, in their courses geared to Suffolk freshmen. And he gained hands-on community experience while serving as a legislative intern for State Representative Joan Meschino, who represents the Third Plymouth District. Attending briefings and reporting on various bills that were being introduced taught him how “to be professional, communicate with authority figures, and understand the State House works,” he says.

Mitchell will return to Florida after graduation to work as a legal assistant at a law firm. After his gap year, he plans to apply to Suffolk Law School and hopes to eventually become a prosecutor.

“My role on the track team has given me a good foundation. I’ve learned how to take charge and interact effectively with people.” Bottom line, he says, “I just want to do my part in helping change the world for the better.”

Suffolk women’s ice hockey goalie Lily O’Neil standing in the net ready to block a shot
Goalie Lily O’Neil played a crucial role in the women’s ice hockey team’s 2023 Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game, making a remarkable 40 saves in the Rams’ 2-1 victory over Endicott College. A two-sport DIII athlete, she also plays shortstop/third base on the softball team.

Not Much Gets by Her: Lily O’Neil, BS ’24

Lily O’Neil is the consummate student-athlete.

“When it comes to sports and academics,” O’Neil says, “for me, they are one and the same. Having that competitive edge, that drive to practice and win the game, translates to studying and doing well on a test.”

During her time at Suffolk, O’Neil, a psychology major, has played for not one, but two Division III teams, and has earned both Dean’s List and Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) All-Academic honors multiple times. Balancing two sports, while also maintaining good grades, has, she says, “taught me to be disciplined with my time, and that will prepare me for managing all my responsibilities and commitments when I graduate,” she says.

As the starting goalie on the women’s ice hockey team, O’Neil played a crucial role in team’s 2023 CCC championship game, when she made a remarkable 40 saves during the Rams’ 2-1 victory over Endicott College. It was the team’s first conference title in program history.

“That was one of the most exciting and rewarding moments of my entire athletic career,” says O’Neil, who has accumulated 1,483 saves as a netminder, including a school-record 61 stops versus Curry College earlier this year. “We were so closely connected as a team, on and off the ice. We will be like a family forever.”

Head Coach Abby Ostrom praised O’Neil for her formidable skills, including her leadership role as co-captain this past season.

“Lily is not overly vocal, but when she says something, people listen,” says Ostrom. “She is passionate in everything she does, and knows when to take life seriously—and when to have fun.”

Come spring, O’Neil hangs up her skates and pads and heads to the softball diamond, where she plays shortstop/third base for the Rams. “Softball is not as fast-paced as hockey, but I like how it’s more of a mental, strategic game that always challenges you,” she says. O’Neil rose to that challenge last season, when she hit a first-inning grand-slam home run against a powerful Endicott College squad—her first grand slam at the collegiate level. “I was excited because it brought energy to our team early in the game,” she says. “It gave us a boost we really needed against a very good team.”

As a psychology major, O’Neil worked as a research assistant for a doctoral student studying DBT (dialectical behavior therapy). Next fall, O’Neil will begin studying for her master’s degree in mental health counseling at Suffolk. And because athletics were canceled during her freshman season due to the pandemic, she’ll also have an extra year of athletic eligibility.

Her goal, she says, is to become a licensed mental health counselor, focused on high school and college student-athletes. “I want to use my own experiences to help change the climate about mental health and sports.”

Right-handed pitcher Garret Roberts gets ready to release a pitch

Pitcher Garret Roberts has been “one of the best all-around players on our team, in the conference, and the New England region,” says Head Coach Anthony Del Prete. 

Taking Care of Business: Garret Roberts, BSBA ’24

Before every Suffolk baseball game, two-year captain Garret Roberts, Class of 2024, addresses his teammates as if they were headed into a board meeting rather than onto a playing field—wearing pinstripe suits and dress shoes instead of polyester uniforms and cleats.

“It’s all about taking care of business,” he says. “My message is to do everything with a purpose”—and not just on game days, but at every team practice too, “from setting up the field and stretching, to taking infield and outfield practice. We have to make sure we stay focused on taking our jobs seriously as a team.”

Roberts has been making his voice heard since transferring to Suffolk from UMass Lowell, a Division I team, three years ago. He says he immediately felt at home on the Boston campus because two of his former teammates—current Rams’ infielder Jonny Gilbride and pitcher/infielder Harry Painter, both Class of 2024—joined him via the transfer portal.

“Playing for Suffolk with two of my closest friends and roommates is something I’ll always remember,” says Roberts, a management major from Stratham, New Hampshire.

On the diamond, Roberts has excelled as a right-handed pitcher/outfielder and versatile hitter for the Rams. His impressive play has twice earned him selection to the All-CCC (Commonwealth Coast Conference) Second Team. His individual highlights include striking out ten batters against Worcester State University and getting five hits in a single game versus Mount Aloysius College last season.

“Garret has been one of the best all-around players on our team, in the conference, and the New England region,” says Head Coach Anthony Del Prete, BS, ’05, MEd ’09, who recorded his 200th career victory this season with Roberts playing left field. 

With 14 freshmen and seven transfers on this year’s team, Roberts’ ability to lead and motivate others was evident from day one. “Garret was the catalyst in helping us build a cohesive unit,” says Del Prete. “He showed why he is a model student-athlete, mentoring other players about how they should carry themselves on and off the field.”

For his part, Roberts appreciates the mentorship that Del Prete and his staff provide. “Coaches here always have their doors open and treat you as an individual as well as an athlete,” he says. “They have so many networking contacts and are willing to share them with you.”

Roberts witnessed this firsthand when Assistant Baseball Coach John O’Brien helped him secure an internship with an infrastructure cloud company in Austin, Texas last summer. “It was a big learning curve and growing moment for me because I had never worked a 9-5 job,” he says. “It really helped prepare me for the workplace.”

Roberts plans to enter the software sales field in the Boston area—and to stay involved with the sport he’s loved all his life.

“I also want to be a college baseball coach,” he says.


Tony Ferullo
Office of Public Affairs

Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs