Kenzie Kent loved hockey and lacrosse so much that she could never give one up.
So when she got to Boston College, she decided to do both.
“I just generally love playing both of those sports and the people I play with,” Kent said. “I had a hard time taking one out of my life completely. I do it because I want to do it and I love the game.”
Kent is one of the most versatile female athletes in all of college athletics. She stars for one of the elite women’s hockey programs in NCAA Division I and is also a standout lacrosse player in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) — the nation’s top conference for women’s lacrosse.
“I personally just love being on a team,” Kent said. “What I learn from hockey, I always bring into the lacrosse season. The experience is really cool and it’s different every year.”
Kent is a perfect example of the benefits of playing multiple sports, as opposed to specializing in a single sport too early. Specialization at a young age can lead to overuse injuries as well as a loss of interest or passion for the sport.
Playing multiple sports can advance motor skills and actually enhance an athlete’s ability across several disciplines. More and more athletes who make it to the Olympic Games were products of playing multiple sports in their youth.
Kent said her coaches and teammates have made it all possible.
“I personally would not be able to do this if it weren’t for my coaches,” Kent said. “They’re very supportive of what I’m doing and my teammates are the most welcoming in the entire school.
“When I join late, it’s like I’ve been there the whole year. My hockey teammates couldn’t be more supportive of lacrosse and my lacrosse teammates come to all the hockey games. It’s really cool.”
Boston College women’s hockey coach Katie King Crowley and associate head coach Courtney Kennedy won multiple Olympic medals with the U.S. National Women’s Team. Lacrosse coach Acacia Walker Weinstein was one of the best in the country as a player and a coach, leading her teams to the NCAA tournament 13 of the last 14 years, including three straight national championships as an assistant.
“They’re the best athletes in the world, so it’s amazing to have such a good support system,” Kent said. “It means the world [to me] for them to accept what I’m doing and to be so encouraging about it.”
Kent, a native of Norwell, Massachusetts, was a three-sport standout as a junior and senior at Noble and Greenough, playing hockey, lacrosse and soccer. She also played competitive club hockey with Concord, Massachusetts-based powerhouse Assabet Valley. Those experiences helped Kent prepare for college.
“The transition into college was way easier, and that’s kind of what I tell everyone,” Kent said. “It got me into that whole crazy schedule and having no time to really do anything else. I didn’t get a day off in high school, and in college you have to have a mandatory day off. It helped me the most going into college though.”
But Kent said playing multiple sports in college wasn’t the original plan.
“I was always going to play lacrosse in college until I got to Boston College,” Kent said. “Once I got to BC, I realized the hockey coaches were interested in me, so I stepped back a little bit. I just fell in love with the school and both coaches were so into making it work for me to play both.”
Going into her freshman year, Kent said if she didn’t enjoy playing both sports at any point, then she would stop.
“If something were to happen, and I hated it, that’s when I would stop and specialize,” Kent said.
But now heading into her senior season, that never happened.
As a junior, Kent helped guide Boston College to its third straight Frozen Four and the NCAA championship game in women’s lacrosse.
She’s a two-time all-region honoree in lacrosse and has twice been named to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, given to the top collegiate player in the sport. Kent was also named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, setting a record for points in a single tournament, including 10 in the title game to tie an all-time mark.
In hockey, Kent has 107 career points, including 76 assists, good for 14th and 10th, respectively in school history.
A career highlight came when she won three USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championships with Assabet Valley, while also representing the United States on previous Under-18 National teams.
“I always wanted to be on a U.S. team and to have that experience come true was amazing,” Kent said. “My whole family was there, so it was cool to experience that with them. It was a lot of fun, and to have that feeling makes you want to be part of that and represent my country again.”
Kent’s down time comes in the summer where she takes summer courses and plays hockey once a week. It’s different than the hockey and lacrosse-filled chaos that surrounds Kent during the fall and spring, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s nothing compared to what it’s like during the year, so it’s nice,” Kent said. “I just try to take it day-by-day. It’s hard, but most of the time, it’s bearable.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.