-- By Natalia Chino '23 --
As a native of Wayne, New Jersey, linebacker and senior captain Will Kearney could not dodge the football scene that permeated his lifestyle. As a child, beginning at the age of eight, Kearney watched his older brother play throughout high school, listened to his dad reminisce about his playing days in college, and witnessed his mom's support of the New York Giants every Sunday. Since football was a huge part of his life and his parents encouraged him to take up the sport, Kearney began by playing in his backyard with his friends, which soon progressed to tackle football in middle school. He had an incredible first experience as a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne, where he was coached by his dad and made long-lasting friendships that still exist to this day.
Once Kearney reached high school, it was essential that he quickly learn how to balance sports and academics if he wanted to succeed as a student-athlete. He began by surrounding himself with the right people who were striving on the field and in the classroom, and he followed their lead. One of those positive influences was his brother, who provided Will with beneficial advice that would guide him on his road to being the best player and student he could possibly be. As Kearney began to master his time management skills and prioritize all the things that would keep him on track, he shifted his focus to college and all the ways he could apply these newly developed skills at Wesleyan.
And Kearney knew that Wesleyan was the right fit for him the minute he stepped foot on campus during his first visit on a beautiful spring day. Everyone he met was extremely welcoming, including Head Coach Dan DiCenzo. Kearney and DiCenzo had an invigorating conversation in which Coach easily convinced him Wesleyan should be his new home because of the beautiful campus and the opportunity to receive an excellent education while playing football at a high level, thus feeding his drive to play. He was assured of an established network of teammates and a coaching staff that would help him during his acclimation to Wesleyan, while also having the ability to focus on other passions outside of the game.
Once at Wesleyan, Kearney worked on adjusting to the college lifestyle and upheld the responsibility of being an active member of a demanding athletic team. Throughout his career, he has been encouraged by his parents and extended family from New Jersey who consistently make the trip to Middletown to watch him play. His experience as a member of the football team has been incredibly rewarding, as he has learned how to overcome adversity in a team setting and has developed the necessary leadership skills needed for the workforce and his future beyond Wesleyan. Additionally, Kearney has realized that if one is willing to work hard, they can achieve. Being part of a team and having one common goal has ensured him that when he does his job on the field, he is doing it for the greater good. Although Kearney has gained a lot from being a football player, it has also come with its own set of unique challenges that he has had to overcome. In addition to the responsibility of juggling tough practices with school work and social life, he also had to transition to being away from home for the first time. It took a strong commitment to excel in all facets while staying ahead of his academics.
Although Kearney has had several memorable games in his athletic career, his favorite was the Tufts game on October 12th of this year. He could feel how electric the atmosphere was that night and the excitement that radiated from the bleachers. There was an immense support from the entire student body and all the family and friends who attended to see the Cardinals beat the Jumbos. With the game tied 13-13 with 13 seconds remaining, the crowd erupted when quarterback Ashton Scott threw the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Matthew Simco. It was the loudest Kearney has ever heard Andrus Field as Wesleyan mounted an impressive second-half comeback to keep its unbeaten streak alive at 5-0.
Outside of football, Kearney is pursuing a degree in Economics. Initially, he wasn't sure what subjects he wanted to pursue in college but his love for the major began when he took Economics 101 his freshman year. Kearney enjoyed learning about the American markets and how the financial systems abroad worked because it showed how we are globally connected through our means of business. He also spends a lot of time with the Christian community Bible study and stays involved with Mass, helping Father Bill Wallace. He dedicates his free time to playing music with friends and getting involved in the vivacious music scene here on campus. When reflecting on the past four years at Wesleyan, Kearney can not believe how fast the time has gone. Looking ahead, his future plans include working in sales and relationship management for BlackRock, where he interned this past summer.