By  Sam Arneson

Junior Marissa Creatore is a multi-sport athlete who helped lead East’s women’s lacrosse team to a state title last year. Creatore’s primary sport is field hockey, but she also excels on the lacrosse field, partly due to her natural athleticism, but mainly thanks to her work ethic, which translates beyond the field and into her schoolwork.

Creatore first started playing lacrosse in the 7th grade to keep in shape during field hockey’s offseason.

“I was interested in lacrosse because I play field hockey… and my coaches told me that lacrosse would keep me in shape for field hockey,” Creatore said. “I’m so happy I played it because it’s helped me a lot with my mental and physical field hockey game.”

Even though Creatore started playing lacrosse to help her stay on top of her field hockey game, the sport has become an important part of her life. Lacrosse has been a social and athletic outlet for Creatore, helping her learn valuable life lessons along the way.

“To me, lacrosse is a time that I get to work hard alongside my sisters,” Creatore said. “The girls out on that field mean much more to me than just teammates; they’ve helped me with more than just lacrosse, and the memories we’ve made will be cherished forever…

“Lacrosse is also a way for me to release stress that has built up on me. It’s a great way to relieve any anger I have left over from my school day. In my long term plan, lacrosse has taught me many valuable lessons that I will use in college and beyond. Being a college-bound athlete (UNC Field Hockey) means that I will need to carry my time management and mental toughness on to the next level, and lacrosse has helped me develop these skills.”

However, because lacrosse has become a valuable part of her life, Creatore has had to work hard to balance sports and school. With most of her day gone from school, lacrosse and field hockey, Creatore has little time to study and do homework when she gets home from practices and games.

“It’s tough to come home from a hard practice and be able to focus and study for multiple classes,” Creatore said. “But as an athlete, you have the mentality that you simply have to do it. You don’t want to have to sprint back on defense when you lose the ball, but you simply have to do it…just like you need to complete the work. It’s hard to have this mentality, but in life, there are things that you don’t want to do, but you have to. Student athletes don’t have weeknights where we sit around and watch TV; we simply can’t. But we don’t mind. It’s our love for the sport and our yearn to succeed that makes us special people.”

With so many commitments to her sports, teammates and teachers, it’s almost unbelievable that Creatore can stay motivated to work hard in all aspects of her life. Much of that dedication has been instilled in her from her mentors, coaches and teammates, especially from former teammate Sydney Holman (ECHHS ‘13, UNC-CH ‘17).

“My coaches and teammates gave me a lot of motivation to keep training and improving,” Creatore said. “My freshman year, the upperclassmen made us work so hard in order to perform at our best. This paid off last year when we won states, and [knowing] that all of that hard work and dedication was worth it only makes me work harder now. It’s a great feeling…

“Sydney Holman has been the biggest motivator in my lacrosse career. Starting my freshman year, [Holman] showed me that my potential was limitless. She would push me so hard in practices and on the field because she knew I could handle it.  She showed me how your lacrosse game is not just about talent you’ve inherited, but the work you put in. Everyone knew she was the best, but this did not get to her head. She played for the team [and] no one else. She is now starting for the UNC lacrosse team, and she did not get there without a lot of hard work. [Holman] is a role model to me and my game and has taught me many principles that I will never forget.”

Due to her incredible commitment to her teams and her studies, Creatore has certainly earned everything she has achieved so far. Always giving 100 percent, Creatore and her work ethic prove her worthy of being the women’s lacrosse highlight player.

“In my daily life, lacrosse is about learning to be tough and fit. It’s hard sometimes to go to practice after a long day at school, then to field hockey practice straight from there, [and] then home to study. It is helped me manage my time, fight through the pain of a hard day, and know that my hard work WILL pay off at some point.”

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