Twin sisters Alexa and Jamie Martinez, of Holmdel, N.J., who are both players on the RIT women’s soccer team, were named to the 2012 NSCAA Division III All-East Region team. Jamie, a first team selection, was part of an RIT defense that allowed just .78 goals per game during the 2012 season. Alexa, a second team selection, tallied four points as a midfielder, including a game-winning goal versus then No. 4 Ithaca in a 1-0 win.
Question: What brought you to RIT?
Alexa’s Answer: First and foremost I am a very academically driven person. I knew that I wanted to design coming out of high school, and gravitated towards RIT’s strong program. I also knew that I wanted to extend my soccer career into college, so I immediately got in contact with the coach. When it came down to everything that I wanted out of a school, RIT was the perfect fit.
Jamie’s Answer: RIT’s excellent reputation for career-oriented programs along with its great design school made the choice fairly easy. I knew I would be exposed to a creative and innovative environment here, and would walk away with a well-rounded education and important connections. The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences impressed me from facilities and professors to student work and success rate. Academics took precedence, but the ability to play soccer here was also a draw.
Q: How long have you been playing soccer?
Alexa and Jamie: We’ve been playing since we were just 5 years old.
Q: What is it like playing a sport with a twin sister? Is there a rivalry between you?
Alexa: Playing a sport with my twin sister is quite the advantage. In every aspect of the game we are there for each other. She is always pushing me to my limits, and isn’t afraid to give me tough love on the field. I wouldn’t say that there is necessarily a rivalry between us, but we certainly turn up the heat when we verse each other in drills. However the main advantage to playing with my twin is all about the bond we share and our ability to connect on the field.
Jamie: I would say we have an even more heightened rivalry than normal siblings do. We critique each other constantly, but it’s always in a good manner. As far as on the field goes, it was easy to come in and play side-by-side with Alexa because that is second nature for me. There has always been a connection in terms of reading and feeding off each other in soccer, and of course the competition never stops. Watch a practice and you’d see my sister and I eager to face off in one vs. ones and go in hard on tackles, but you’d always see us laughing and having fun.
Q: What activities are you involved with outside of soccer?
Alexa: School and soccer take up most of my time. However I am a very active member of SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) and am starting to get involved with the New Media Club. I also take advantage of opportunities to further my design experience, and am taking on two side projects at this time.
Jamie: I recently joined the New Media Club and have been an active member of SAAC for a long time now. For SAAC, we’ve worked on mural designs for the club, designed T-shirts and volunteered for a variety of community events.
Q: What are the most rewarding and most challenging things about being student athletes?
Alexa: I always love talking about how much being a student athlete has shaped my college experience and bettered me as a person. Most notably it has elevated my drive, ambition, and focus to amazing heights. Being captain and responsible for my team as well as having the highest expectations in school leaves me no time to fool around. Balancing academics and sports with everything else that comes with college has been difficult but in the end it is most rewarding. I wouldn’t trade my role as a student athlete for anything in the world.
Jamie: Seeing my individual progress as both an athlete and a student is definitely rewarding for me. I believe they completely go hand in hand with each other. My teammates, coach and overall athletic environment here help me develop life skills I wouldn’t have learned on my own. I’m a better student because of what I learn on and off the field with soccer, and the value I hold for my athletic career here is very important to me. The most challenging thing for me is keeping up with academics while still maintaining a social life, but I’ve learned to balance everything as best as I could. The struggle helps keep me in line and focused on what really holds significance.
Q: What advice would you give to other students at RIT?
Alexa: To other RIT students, I stress for them to use this time to figure out what is important to them. Set priorities and goals and don’t be afraid to aim high. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you accomplish if you try hard enough.
Jamie: Treasure the downtime you have! Like most of the athletes here, I’ve learned that time management is key, especially in-season. Also, find ways to make connections with your studies and whatever you immerse yourself in. I’ve been able to bridge my passions for soccer and design together in many instances.
Matt Gregory compiles “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact him at email@example.com with suggestions.