Three years ago, Molly Keleshian was fresh meat in the pool as a freshman center for the Lakers water polo team.
A nine-time letter winner in high school, excelling in volleyball, fast pitch and swimming, Molly was not new to athletic success and credits her family for having such a positive impact early on in her career.
“I grew up in a huge sports family. My parents were always active in coaching each of us, and they loved watching us grow as athletes,” Keleshian said.
Being a freshman in college can be a scary time for a lot of people. You are surrounded by this sea of new experiences; the classes, the people, the places, the food and that is just the average student.
Keleshian was not just new to the school, but the Richmond Heights, Ohio, native was also new to the sport.
“Being a freshman on a sports team is scary enough, but being new to the sport was terrifying,” Keleshian said.
After freshman year she started to develop strong friendships within the team, and really began to love the sport.
Two years later in December 2009, her mother was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer.
“When I heard the news that my mom had cancer, I was with my teammate and friend, Hope Rozelle. It was the toughest day of my life, but I was really fortunate to have Hope there for me,” Keleshian said.
When Keleshian came back from Winter Break she went into workouts considering taking the year off or even quitting, wanting some time to herself to think and focus on everything that was going on.
Knowing that her mom would not settle for her daughter quitting a sport she loved, Keleshian, with the support of her water polo family, headed back to the pool for her junior season.
Looking back on the decision she made Keleshian still says she made the right choice.
“Playing water polo last season was a great distraction. If I didn’t play polo, then last year would have been unbearable for me,” Keleshian said.
This past spring “Relay for Life” came to Mercyhurst. Along with it came, Journey for Jo Ann, a team captained by teammate Laura Hennessey in honor of Keleshian’s mother.
Hennessey drew up t-shirts to sell, and the money raised was donated to the American Cancer Society.
Even though she was battling through heavy chemo treatments at the time, Keleshian’s mom made it to the event and walked along with her family, friends and teammates.
A moment which words truly cannot describe, Keleshian had to take a few minutes to step back to truly appreciate the support being shown for her family.
Now a senior Business/Marketing major, Keleshian prepares for her final season in the pool. Keleshian continues be selfless and dedicated to the sport.
“For polo, I never wanted my performance in the pool to suffer because of what I was going through. Having dealt with this made me that much more driven as an athlete to achieve my personal goals within the polo season. And for everyday life, I learned to appreciate my friends and family,” Keleshian said.
After graduating this spring Keleshian plans to stay close to home and continue her education at Notre Dame College of Ohio to pursue a degree in secondary education/special education with hopes of being a high school business teacher.