Lynden Ostrander, 12, Staff Writer
Since the day Pete Schielke set foot on the lush Merrimack campus, he has made his impact felt on and off the lacrosse field.
He is a consummate leader whose illustrious resume speaks for itself. On the field, he has been an “ironman,” playing in every single game over the past four years, and the backbone of the defense, causing over a hundred turnovers; he became the first player in Merrimack history to reach that plateau. This is attributed to Schielke’s incredible field vision, and anticipation skills, which Schielke was highlighted for this preseason in the prestigious magazine Inside Lacrosse.
The two-time captain is an acclaimed two-time first-team preseason All American, All New England reigning first team All NE-10 teamer. Moreover, he has racked up over 100 groundballs in his career, won an NE 10 championship, and was the defensive catalyst freshman year on the only Merrimack team in history to reach the coveted Final Four. He is arguably the most versatile defender in D2 Lax, accumulating six assists on the offensive side of the ball in his career, which is unheard of for a defenseman, especially at the top tier D2 level.
Schielke’s on-the-field achievements will never overshadow the type of man he is. One of the most outgoing and gregarious individuals at Merrimack, he works at a summer camp for underprivileged youth and he plans to go to England next year as a youth coach, or by befriending everyone he meets. Couple that with being the Student Athletic Advisory Committee president and part of the Blue and Gold Committee, the Dean’s Committee, the National Honor Society. He still finds time to work for Sodexo 20 hours a week as a student promotions coordinator, and is involved in moot court as a poli sci major. On top of that, he is a former resident advisor.
Schielke is a natural-born leader, who has had a knack for being a well-rounded and successful person since high school. Hailing from Ridgefield, Conn., Schielke was an all-conference selection three out of four years, was team captain, and team MVP senior year, all while being student body president. Coming out of high school Schielke had aspirations of playing at the D1 level, but scouts and Division 1 college coaches thought had had subpar stick skills and was too slow to compete at the highest level. However, they could not measure his lionheart, work ethic, or the intangibles he possessed: what does not show up in the stat sheet, which drove Schielke to play in a national championship and stick it back to them.
But Coach Mike Morgan saw that “it” factor in Schielke, made Pete feel at home on his visit, and assured him ample playing time. Schielke turned down multiple scholarships, eventually signed with Merrimack and has never looked back since.
“Choosing to come to Merrimack was the best decision ever made, and made the man I am today,” he said.
The most crucial lesson Schielke learned came from former defenseman Shane Maher: Keep your head in the right place. Last year Schielke thought the team underachieved, saying, “Last season our team focus wasn’t there.’’ So when he learned that Brad Mcadam, his best friend and an integral piece of the team, was not returning, Schielke took it upon himself to rally the troops, and keep the team’s eyes on the prize: a national championship.
During the grueling preseason three day “judgment day’’ training regimen, it was Pete keeping the unit mentally together. He said, “I want to take care of the little things and make sure everyone is on the same page, all striving for the same goal. No distractions this year, no partying, no mental lapses, I want to go out with a bang.’’
The four goals coming into this season for Schielke were to become a better teammate and leader, win an NE-10 championship, win D2 defensive national player of the year, and garner a national championship”I want a ring on my finger at the end of the year, and get over the hump,” he said.
In the two biggest games of the year this season, Pete put the team on his back defensively. Piling up five caused turnovers and three groundballs, aiding the win against number two nationally ranked powerhouse in Limestone. Against NE-10 champion Adelphi, Schielke was not to be denied notching a season-high six caused turnovers, one of which was number 100, and scooping up four groundballs along with clutch defensive plays in the waning minutes of the game to help keep Merrimack undefeated. Though Merrimack lost to Le Moyne as this went to print, the Warriors still have a shot to make it to the Final Four and obtain their dream of a national championship. But to a cool cucumber like Pete Schielke, it’s all about enjoying the ride of life.