On Tap with ... Blake Dietrick and Anya Gersoff
Sophomore Blake Dietrick and freshman Anya Gersoff spend a lot of their time at Princeton in season — more so than most athletes. Both play for the women’s lacrosse team, Dietrick as attacker and Gersoff as midfielder, while also being part of a second varsity team. Dietrick is a guard for the basketball team, where she most recently hit back-to-back threes against the Seminoles in round one of the NCAA tournament, and Gersoff is a goalie for the field hockey squad that won this year’s NCAA national championship. The ‘Prince’ sat down to talk with Dietrick and Gersoff about hidden talents, lucky lacrosse jerseys and sophomore teammate Erin Curley.
Q: Where are you from, and what is it like there?
Blake Dietrick: I’m from Wellesley, Mass., just outside Boston. It’s a small town. My mom works at the college there, and I’ve had access to the gym and fields since I was little, so that really helped me develop my love for my sports.
Anya Gersoff: I’m from Greenwood Village, Colo., which is a suburb just outside of Denver. It’s kind of interesting being from Colorado because it’s not really a hotbed for field hockey or lacrosse, so I’ve had to travel a bunch.
Q: Have you played these two sports for your whole lives?
BD: I played soccer, cross-country, basketball and lacrosse growing up. My dad played lacrosse in college, so he always pushed lacrosse. I’ve been playing lacrosse and basketball as long as I can remember. I had a stick when I was born because my dad insisted on buying me one. Both sports have been a part of my life for a really long time, and it was really hard to imagine giving one up. So I didn’t.
AG: I’ve played lacrosse since around first grade, which is a pretty long time, especially coming from Colorado. I’ve played field hockey since seventh grade, but soccer was the first sport I ever played. I played soccer until my sophomore year of high school, and I also played basketball and ice hockey until my sophomore year. It just became too much eventually, so I just went with field hockey and lacrosse because I thought they’d give me the best opportunities in the future.
Q: Is it tough to balance two sports with academics here at Princeton?
BD: Yeah, I’m stressing at the moment. I’m taking five classes at the moment, and I’m transitioning right now because basketball just ended so I’ve been really stressed out right now. And this is my first year doing it, since I didn’t play lacrosse last year. So Anya and I are basically in the same place in figuring out how this is going to work. I would say the transition has been pretty challenging for me because I didn’t have any fall time and I haven’t been at any of the spring training until now. We’ll see how it goes; I’m still very indecisive about how the future’s going to play out. It’s more the five-class thing than anything else. I feel like a freshman all over again, trying to figure out my place on the team and where I stand with my teammates and stuff like that.
AG: I definitely think it’s a lot harder for Blake because going back-to-back seasons is really tough. With field hockey we were fortunate enough to go basically until the end of November, but then I had a month of preseason workouts for lacrosse that was really helpful for me because I was able to go to captains’ workouts and practices. Academically, it hasn’t been too hard. I mean, obviously there is a lot of workload, and I have a lot of commitments, but that’s how my whole life’s been. I’ve always been busy with so much to do so it really doesn’t bug me that much.
Q: What do you consider the best moment of your sports career?
BD: I think Anya can answer that one.
AG: Definitely when we won the national championship with the field hockey team in the fall. That was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Got to say that, for sure.
BD: I would say for high school, scoring my 1,000th point with my best friend in the same game. In college, I would say playing two Sundays ago in the NCAA tournament. Freshman year I didn’t play in the tournament, so actually getting to play and contribute to my team’s unfortunate loss, but still being able to say that it was my loss and that I was part of it, was really exciting for me.
Q: What is your hidden talent?
BD: I have played the flute since I was six or seven. I was in band in the wind ensemble in high school. [My dad] made me bring my flute to college. Freshman year he was like, “Yeah, you’re just going to play in your room or find people to play with.” I knew I wouldn’t have time for it, but I humored him and brought it anyway, and it gathered dust under my bed. So I didn’t bring it this year. But I think that’s really the only thing I do outside of sports.
AG: Yeah, I have absolutely no hidden talents.
Q: Are there any you wish you had?
BD: I wish I could sing and dance.
AG: Yes, I would second that. I wish I could sing and dance, for sure.
BD: Our coach wishes we could sing and dance. She has mentioned that before.
Q: Do you have a pregame ritual?
AG: I have a lucky shirt that I wear to bed the night before every game, and I wear it as long as possible up until the game until we have to put on our warm-up T-shirts and stuff. And usually before the game, I’ll eat a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich as my last thing.
BD: I don’t have a lot. I really haven’t figured out what I do for lacrosse yet. But before basketball I listen to a couple of songs that I always play. I listen to “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked,” which is kind of a weird song to listen to before a sporting event, but it gets me excited. And besides that I don’t really have much except a dribbling routine that I make sure to go through during warm-ups.
Q: What kind of shirt is it?
AG: Well ... it’s kind of a long story, but it’s a jersey T-shirt of a lacrosse player that I’ve followed since middle school.
Q: Who is your quirkiest teammate?
AG and BD: [both laughing] Definitely [midfielder] Erin Curley.
BD: She’s a sophomore, and she’s the sweetest girl ever, but standing on the sidelines during games listening to some of the stuff she says, you wonder how she thinks of it. It’s awesome and so funny. She’s really unique.
AG: Yeah, she’s definitely one of my favorite kids on the team but I’d definitely say she’s the quirkiest. Everything she does is just kind of funny. You have no idea what’s going on in her head.
Q: What are you studying?
BD: I’m majoring in English, but I’m taking a lot of econ courses, so I’ll hopefully pursue something in business. I just really like English, so I want to do my independent work about English.
AG: I don’t know exactly. I think I want to do something with international relations and maybe be an intelligence analyst or something like that. But that sounds difficult, so we’ll see how that goes.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
AG: I have not seen a lot of movies; I can tell you that.
BD: I’d have to say “She’s the Man” is one of my all-time favorite movies.
AG: That is a great movie. I’d have to go with “The Guardian.” I love that movie.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?
BD: I really appreciate how the coaches have been and how the team has been. They’re making it as easy for me as they possibly can.
AG: They’re definitely a welcoming group. I think we’re very fortunate to have the leadership that we do on the lacrosse team. It made my transition easier back in the fall. It’s been pretty smooth.
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