How did you get introduced to lacrosse?
My Father introduced me to lacrosse, He played at the University of Maryland (2x Captain and 3x All American Defensemen) . The minute he put a stick in my hand, I fell in love with the sport.
What’s the first 90 minutes of your day look like?
I always turn on my radio and Listen to music while I drink Coffee. Then I head out to Yoga
Growing up were you a multi-sport athlete or focused strictly on lacrosse?
Multi-Sport. I played soccer and Volleyball! I was the libero on the volleyball team loved diving all over the gym floor.
How did you get introduced to the coaching position at Draw Control Academy?
JoJo Marasco. He’s a New York Lizard and mutual friend of Greg Gurenlian and I. He put us in touch!
What's your current stick setup?
Axiom Head which hasn’t come out yet, and the Alta shaft.
In the men's game, there are heads that are faceoff orientated. Is their a women's head that is better for draws or one that you prefer for the position?
For the Draw we restring our heads differently (reverse pocket) so the ball sits better in the stick. I prefer a stick with side walls that are more narrow, This helps me scoop the ball out of the other girls stick better. I use a Maverik head now.
How do you tape your sticks?
Super simple, I wrap tape around my butt to keep it secure.
What do you look for in your pockets?
As an attacker I like my pocket super shallow but deep in the top three quarters of the stick. I feel the ball release much quicker and more accurately. For my draw stick I like my stick strung backwards and the strings not as tight. I prefer leather stringing for both sticks.
Do you string your own sticks or do you have someone else?
At UNC we have our sticks sent up to Syracuse to get them strung. Now that I have graduated I get my sticks strung at Sport Barn in Yorktown by Lauren.
What would we find in your gear bag?
In my sports bag I will always have at least 2 pairs of gloves, goggles’, mouth guards, hair ties and hair clips for under my ponytail, sunscreen and all different types of tinted chapsticks and lipsticks.
What's your mindset like going into a new professional league (WPLL) in 2018? Will you have a different approach going into this league then you had with United Women's Lax?
My mentality is always the same. Whoever I play for I give them 110%. I am always excited to play with my old teammates and close friends, plus all the great talent I get to play against in both leagues and the awesome coaching. I had the best time playing for Reggie Thorpe this summer and got to experience how he looks at the game, which is different and unique. I am also excited to be a part of Upstate pride! A cool new group of girls I get to play with and test my skills.
How do you feel the recruiting process has changed since you have been recruited to North Carolina?
The amount of club teams have exploded! More opportunities for girls to play at a higher level and get recruited. Also things happen much more quickly. Girls are choosing where they are going to college before they even play on a varsity team. I am happy that the rules have shifted back to deciding around your junior year. I believe it will be less stressful for everyone. Coaches included.
What drove to to North Carolina? Were there other offers in the mix?
I looked at many different schools, Maryland, Duke, Northwestern and UVA to name a few. I went on several visits with my Dad. But in the end for me North Carolina had it all. I wanted a big school feel with smaller sized classes. Besides the beautiful weather and its southern charm, North Carolina was always top three in womens lacrosse but hadn’t grasped the title. I wanted to be the difference to help the team grab its first national championship. Which we did in 2013 & 16!.
What does your weekly workout regimen consist of?
I do yoga probably 5 to 6 times a week. On top of yoga I love the Stairmaster and bike for cardio because it is less pounding on my feet.
What’s a workout every athlete should be doing (but which few are)?
Yoga. I am becoming an instructor because I want to teach other athletes like myself the benefits it has for your game. Most athletes aren’t flexible and stretching can be tedious and painful. But with flexibility there’s less injury. Your joints and muscles are able to help you fall with less damage to your body. Yoga also helps strengthen the little supportive muscles, for me it was grounding all parts of my feet which helped stabilize my foot and help me come out of my first season injury free this past year.
What was the toughest moment in your life? How’d it shape you?
When my dad got seriously injured during the Metro North Train Crash in 2015. Not being able to be with him and seeing how much pain his was in, was very hard. Our whole lives had to change to help him do normal activities because he couldn’t walk. Also the mental and physical pain he deals with everyday is sad but empowering especially now that he is back at work. But through this rough time the Terp mens lax alumni really reached out to support him through it all. It showed me what people remember during your time on the team. Which is how you make them feel, and how you treat people. It was a very powerful lesson. . My final two seasons at Carolina I dedicated myself to being the best teammate I could be. Especially helping the younger girls on the team be the best they could be.
Favorite pregame/post meal?
Pregame meal I always have a soft boiled egg on toast. ( I can have breakfast anytime of the day) post game meal would have to be Saigon Street noodles a Vietnamese dish from Lime and Basil in chapel hill. It’s a favorite of me and my mom.
What is your career outside of the sport?
My career outside the sport would have to be becoming a yoga instructor which hopefully I will accomplish this fall.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” -- Jenny Levy(Head Coach at UNC) I always took this saying to heart. When you push yourself to be uncomfortable in all situations you are able to see your best and worse self. Being able to embrace that and crave that uncomfortable feeling has pushed me to do surprisingly brilliant things.
What's the best piece of advice you could give to a young Attacker/Draw Specialist looking to have success on the field?
CONFIDENCE! Being a draw girl can be a ton of pressure especially in tight games. Having confidence in yourself to do your job the best you can is important. Many times the draw doesn’t go as planned but being able to stay mentally balanced and cool, will not only make you a great draw girl but also a great leader.
Most memorable play and/or goal throughout your colligate career?
1. 2013 National Championship, scoring the 13th goal in triple overtime as a freshman to win the national championship. Clinching UNC first title. 2. My senior year, the ACC championship game, we were losing to Syracuse 12 to 13. (Syracuse called a timeout) Megan Ward was in goal and during the time out she grabbed my face guard and said score the 13th goal and tie this game up. I said of course. As we return to our opposite sides of the field, Syracuse was clearing the ball. I was able to bait the defender to passing the ball to a point where I could intercept it. I grabbed it out of the air and ran down the field and drew a foul for an 8 meter shot. I took a step down shot to tie the game. . Aly Messinger scored the go ahead goal a few minutes later for the ACC championship, our second in 20 years.
Can you describe the feeling of suiting of for your very first professional game with The Long Island Sound? Super exciting, getting to be able to play with such a dominant team! My close friend and teammate Sloane Serpe was on the team and she helped me adjust quickly and introduced me to all the girls I didn’t know. The first game was right outside of Boston at a High School field but we still had a big crowd. The rules in the pro league are awesome. The game goes by so quick and the ball moves fast and with flavor. Everyone is here to have fun and being able to play with superstars from all different college was fun.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the sport?
Hanging out with my girlfriends. They now live in New York City so its fun to go shopping, try new restaurants and relax.
Are you superstitious?
I would say so, I always carry around evil eyes I have them in all types of forms, in all my bags, cars, and bracelets. Ever since I was a baby my mom told me they protect me from hateful thoughts. I also have a Buddha that needs to be in the same place at all times.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
Game day makeup for me is huge. After our pregame meals the teammates I live with get coffee return to our houses blare the music and I put my gameday makeup on and dance around. You look good, you feel good, you play good.
What motivates you to get up everyday and get better?
During college , the goal for my teammates and I was always to win a National Championship, that’s what motivated us every day.. Now it’s the young girls I get to work with at my Draw Days and clinics. If I don’t feel 100 percent with my diet, sleeping, working out and making the right decisions I can’t help these girls fulfill their dreams and be the best they can be.
Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
My father. He is someone who has been through so much as a child and an adult. He has been able to push through all odds and become very successful. He always treats everyone he comes across with respect and demands a certain respect from others as well. The most important thing to him has been to be the best father, husband, brother and son possible. Its been incredible to watch and I am proud to be his daughter and I would love nothing more but to make him proud.
What's one thing most people would be surprised to know about Sammy Jo Tracy?
I love reading! Various books across all genres!