While balancing school work, Morning lifts, and afternoon practices, freshman stand out Riley Cook continues to excel on and off the soccer field.
Cook began playing soccer at the age of four and never looked back. She is from Mechanicsville, Virginia and was a standout out for Atlee high school before she got to Christopher Newport University. She captured All-conference and All-region honors in each of her last three seasons at Atlee.
Although being a student athlete can be tough at times, Cook seems to enjoy every minute of it. Her typical day consists of team lifts on Mondays and Thursdays, then classes throughout the day until 3:00 pm. After her classes are over she has to go to practice at 3:45 and her practices typically end around 5:30 pm. On Mondays she has a 6:00 pm lab so she has to hustle straight from practice to the lab, which can be a hassle. One aspect of being a student athlete that can be quite troubling according to Cook is missing classes due to athletic competitions and having to do make up work.
Cook has been tearing it up on the soccer field this year as she has pieced together one of the most prolific seasons by a Christopher Newport University Women’s Soccer freshman. In a 2-0 win over St. Mary’s (Md.), Cook captured her twelfth goal of the year which passed Emma O’Reilly and Sam Ciaravino for most goals in a season by a freshman. “I’m really happy I was able to accomplish breaking the record. However, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates,” Cook Stated. She also passed O’Reilly for most points in a season by a freshman with 28. She is now up to 30 points on the year with more games to play.
Thanks to Cook’s outstanding play, the Women’s Soccer team is having one of their best seasons yet. They are currently 15-0-1 and ranked ninth in the country. Team chemistry is also a major part in the team’s success. “Our team is extremely close on and off the field. Coming into the first day of preseason, it really feels like you are a part of a family and everybody has each other’s backs making it translate onto the field to work hard for one another.” Cook said. Team chemistry can be created with little things like pregame rituals. Cook and some of her teammates have some rituals that they must do before games. She starts off by juggling before warm-ups with Libby Hinton, then she passes with freshman Maxine Borris right before the game, and lastly, she finds Maddie Cochran right before the game and does a handshake.
Although Cook is an outstanding soccer player, excelling in a sport isn’t new to her household. She has four brothers. The oldest brother, Jack, is currently playing lacrosse at the University of Richmond and her little brother Andrew, a junior in high school, just recently committed to play lacrosse at the University of Richmond, joining his older brother. Her two youngest brothers, Mark and Sam, play a bunch of different sports.
The Women’s soccer team has one more game against Marymount University left before they enter the CAC tournament as the #1 seed. The team’s ultimate goal is to win another CAC championship and make a big run in the NCAA playoffs to compete for a national championship.
Photo courtesy of CNU OCPR