Records in sports are made to be broken. Records can give players a goal.
Some last longer than others, but, in the end, they are always broken.
Last year, 20-year-old baseball player Ethan Santora came agonizingly close to breaking the single-season home run record.
He hit 16 home runs, tying a Mercyhurst record that has stood since 1997. This was all the more impressive considering Santora was competing in his first year of collegiate sports as a freshman.
Santora, though, is completely modest of his achievements, which also include being named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Rookie of the Year, All-PSAC West First Team and a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America Honorable Mention.
“I didn’t really have any personal goals. Coming into the year, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Santora, who is a native of Mayfield, Ohio, said.
“I just wanted to go out and help our team win. All I did was try to do my part, and it ended with me tying the home run record,” Santora said.
There can be a heavy price to pay for a successful athlete.
Coaches, players and fans begin to expect more. That builds pressure, but Santora doesn’t feel it.
“I feel a little more pressure, but it’s from myself, not any outside sources. I put a little more pressure on myself to help my teammates out and help the team win, since I had such a big role in our success last year,” the third baseman said.
Breaking records and garnering awards was not new for Santora.
In high school, he won the Ohio Player of the Year award and broke the school’s home run record.
He believes that having this experience enabled him to cope with the pressure of college baseball and believes the pressure has actually died down since his senior year high school.
Santora admits last year was his best year as a baseball player based on his statistics, and not for the awards he won.
“I don’t really think about things such as records or things like that. I just try and take one game at a time and one at-bat at a time. I feel as though if I keep doing that and keep working hard to improve my game, then something good will come from it,” he said.
Santora said the team is going through a small rough patch, but he trusts that with continuing hard work, the team will come through it.
“I hope that we can make the conference tournament and hopefully move from there to the regional tournament, like we did last year.”