Walking into the locker room, Kenzie Kent feels the excitement pulsing through her veins. Nerves are nonexistent. Confidence is at an all-time high. As soon as she laces up, Kent joins her teammates for yet another game on the Heights.
For virtually any other athlete, the above narrative has a very clear setting. For Kent, however, the context is blurred. Unlike most athletes, who end up focusing on one particular sport, Kent has mastered two: ice hockey and lacrosse.
Kent maintains that neither one takes precedence, in terms of skill or affection. Her statline and specific playing style may differ from sport to sport, but one thing will always remain the same: Kent is a playmaker, especially when it matters most.
“I like the pressure,” Kent said. “When I am pressured to do something well, it gives me confidence.”
There’s probably no better attitude to have on the rink. After all, hockey, as Kent admits, is a game of mistakes. In her eyes, it’s imperative to think two steps ahead of the game. Because when the puck comes her way, she only has a matter of seconds to make a decision. Not only does that require hockey sense, but it also takes hours and hours of practice.
“Her work ethic is something younger players can aspire to,” head coach Katie Crowley said.
With that kind of diligence, Kent is able to balance it all—hockey, lacrosse, and academics.
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Kent’s fate seemed to be set from the start. Her mother, Jennifer, is an assistant lacrosse coach at BC. Head lacrosse coach Acacia Walker once told Kent that no matter where they both ended up, Walker wanted Kent on her team.
Throughout her high school career—first at Thayer Academy and then at Noble and Greenough—Kent was always a star, having been named named a lacrosse All-American three times during her high school career.
Kent’s lacrosse future may have been set in stone, but for a while, playing hockey at the collegiate level wasn’t a sure thing. Once Kent knew that hockey was definitely in the picture, her priority was making sure that the team environment was going to be a good fit.
“My whole thing when looking at schools was I needed to make sure that I like the girls on the team that I’ll be with,” she said.
It appears that Kent made the right choice. When asked about the culture of the team, Kent lit up.
“There is not really superiority on this team, which I think is amazing and the best way to go about it,” she said. “As long as everyone respects each other that’s all you need.”
Crowley’s teams are as tight-knit as any in the nation. In fact, Kent says that she’s still in contact with many of the girls who were seniors when she was a freshman, even though they are spread across the country from South Carolina to Texas.
At first, Kent was nervous about coming to BC, and rightfully so. But as soon hockey practice started, BC felt like home.
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For Kent, team is everything. All her life, Kent has adored the support and camaraderie that make all of the early practices and late nights in the gym worthwhile. She completely buys into the collective, regardless of the sport. Whether it be hockey or lacrosse, Kent directs her undivided attention to her teammates. Her commitment is infectious.
Now a senior, Kent will serve as one of Crowley’s co-captains. Just like those who bore the title before her, she will now have the opportunity to shape the lives of the incoming players, so that they can also fulfill their athletic potential.
“When I was a freshman, I always looked up to Emily Field,” Kent said. “When I was named captain, I was talking to a couple of girls, and they compared me to her, which is a huge honor.”
When asked about her goals for the upcoming season, Kent immediately responded that she wanted the team to win a national championship. It was only when she was pressed for an answer that she mentioned some of her personal goals. This pattern of a team-first mentality is present just as much on the ice as it is in the locker room.
“Sometimes we try to tell a lot of our kids ‘shoot more, shoot more, shoot more,’” Crowley said. “And Kenzie’s one of them. She’d rather set someone up than shoot it herself.”
Kent is a point scorer, not a goal scorer. Over the course of her first three seasons, she has totaled 107 points—76 of which have come on assists. Instinctively, she puts her teammates before herself.
“I don’t all of a sudden think she’ll be 30-, 40-goal scorer for us,” Crowley said. “But I think she’ll be able to do the little things, set us up on the backdoor, and do what you might not necessarily notice.”
Skating is a repetition of pushing and gliding, a constant juxtaposition of grace and power, speed and balance. The exact same can be said of Kent as, in making the extraordinary appear possible, she glides where others need to push and pushes where others choose to glide by. This season, however, her long-established rhythm will be interrupted. She doesn’t have captains to look up to—she is the captain that people will look up to. There is no more waiting in the wings for Kent. It is time for her to take control.
It will be her team on her terms as she looks to round out her BC hockey career with the one accomplishment that has always eluded her: a national championship.
Featured Images by Julia Hopkins and Amelie Trieu / Heights Editors