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Senior athlete spotlights

The PEAR Department is taking this opportunity to recognize and celebrate the seniors on our varsity athletic teams. We know that they have poured their hearts and souls into their teams during their time at Carleton and we are excited about what the future holds for each of them!

Alex Chertoff: Kicker, Football

Varsity sport played at Carleton: Football, 4 years 

Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.          

Major: History

What are your plans after graduation?     

I will be moving to Washington DC to start a role in business research.

What was your favorite sports moment at Carleton?      

My favorite football moment was beating Macalester at home, and celebrating with the book of knowledge with my teammates.

Why did you choose Carleton?      

I chose Carleton because it felt like a place where I could pursue all of my interests, and connect with a good group of friends.

Outside of athletics, what will you miss most about Carleton?  

I will miss living in a collaborative learning environment with cool people, and the beautiful campus–especially the Arb. 

What else has your Carleton experience included?         

My Carleton experience was greatly enhanced by a study abroad trip to Italy through the History department, which was an excellent and fun program. I was also able to participate in the two externships that were incredible: a program with MIAC analytics, which was an amazing look into a new field, and a legal research role, which gave me interesting and relevant work, and helped me start my career.

What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective student-athletes?   

I’d say follow your instincts and trust yourself when it comes to picking a school – it’s important to remember that the choice is yours, and you should make it for yourself, not others.

What is a favorite memory you have of your head coach?

My favorite memories of Coach Journell were his pre-game breakdowns of the weather and wind patterns during the special teams meetings.

Quote from Head Coach Tom Journell:

Alex was our starting kicker his sophomore year and starting punter his junior year. He is a great teammate with a great leg!

Grace Leuchtenberger: Rightside Hitter, Volleyball

Varsity sport played at Carleton:    Volleyball, 4 years 

Hometown: Newton, MA 

Major: Biology

What are your plans after graduation?     

Graduate school or research assistantship in marine science.

What was your favorite sports moment at Carleton?      

Beating St. Olaf our freshman year in five sets. We had a huge crowd at West Gym and it was electric! 

Why did you choose Carleton?      

The small, tight-knit community and outstanding academics/professors were a huge draw for me, and I’m happy to say I made the right decision.

Outside of athletics, what will you miss most about Carleton?  

The friends I have made will last a lifetime, and I will miss being only a five-minute walk away from them. 

What else has your Carleton experience included?         

I did a SEA Semester study abroad program in New Zealand; I am a tour guide and a member of the Carleton Choir; and I did a marine biology REU at Friday Harbor Labs at the University of Washington with a Carleton professor.

What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective student-athletes?   

Enjoy every second you have playing here. You never know when it’ll get taken away from you. Don’t sweat the small stuff and do what makes you happy.

What is a favorite memory you have of your head coach?

During Jacki’s first year of coaching us, we went to get a post-game meal at a drive-thru and she danced her way through. I don’t think she knew we saw her but it was hilarious.

Quote from Head Coach Jacki Smith:

It’s been a PLEASURE to see Grace mature. She is kind and compassionate towards her teammates and was deeply committed last fall to pouring into her relationships with teammates and getting to know them better. Grace will leave a legacy on this program of HARD WORK – she’s always been a workhorse, hardest worker in the weight room, and never beaten in sprints. She’ll also leave behind a strong legacy of growth and determination.

Grace Leuchtenberger.

Kaela Mali: Defender, Women’s Soccer

Varsity sport played at Carleton: Women’s Soccer, 4 years

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.  

Major: Biology, Minor: Biochemistry

What are your plans after graduation?     

I will be attending medical school at the University of Rochester in New York.

What was your favorite sports moment at Carleton?      

Our pre-season trip to Boston during my sophomore season. We tied MIT after double overtime.

Why did you choose Carleton?      

I chose Carleton because of the high-caliber academics and the friendly, welcoming people.

Outside of athletics, what will you miss most about Carleton?  

Definitely the people. My friends, my professors, my coaches, and generally all the nice people around campus.

What else has your Carleton experience included?         

Junior winter I had the opportunity to study abroad through the Carleton Architectural Studies in Europe program. For the past 3 years, I have been doing student-research under a biology professor. In addition to doing this research during the school year, I also had the opportunity to work on it throughout the summer after my sophomore year.  I have also felt very rewarded by my student work position as a TA for biology classes.

 What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective student-athletes?   

Enjoy the process and don’t be afraid to talk to someone currently on the team. We love talking to prospective student-athletes about our experiences and answering their questions.

What is a favorite memory you have of your head coach?

Jocelyn Keller was the head coach for most of my time on the team. My favorite memory of her is when she had the team over to her house for dinner and to watch the US Women’s National Team game.

Quote from Head Coach Jessica Mueller:

Kaela is one of the most driven student-athletes I’ve ever coached. She has very high standards for herself and she does what it takes to get as close as possible to reaching them. A starter since her freshman year, she has helped raise the soccer standard in our program and has often been the unflappable presence we’ve needed both on the field and off, especially during this past year of uncertainty. And while solid, driven, and humbly talented, she is also hilarious – like, makes-us-laugh-until-our-stomachs-hurt type of funny. We’re going to miss those stomach aches.

Kaela Mali.

Aaron Forman: Goalkeeper, Men’s Soccer

Varsity sport played at Carleton:   Soccer, 4 years 

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA. 

Major: History, Minors: Archaeology, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Middle East Studies

What are your plans after graduation?     

Pursue a doctoral degree in medieval Jewish history.

What was your favorite sports moment at Carleton?      

Playing for, and winning, the 2018 MIAC championship in front of a huge crowd at Bell Field.

Why did you choose Carleton?      

I wanted to attend a college that would challenge me academically, provide me with the opportunity to represent my school in varsity soccer, and offered a strong sense of community identity.

 Outside of athletics, what will you miss most about Carleton?  

I will miss my friends and professors who have supported all of my pursuits at and beyond Carleton. 

What else has your Carleton experience included?         

Summer archaeology fieldwork in Israel (through Paradise Israel Experience Fellowship) and Greece (with Prof. Alex Knodell), history research projects with Profs. Thabiti Willis and Victoria Morse, presentation and board member at Undergraduate Judaic Studies Conference, Best Presentation award at 2019 UCLA Undergraduate Scholars in Israel Studies conference, presentation at 2021 UNC Graduate History Association Forum, internship with CoronaNet Research Project, Teaching Assistant for Carleton Hebrew program, Vice President of Jewish Students of Carleton, History Departmental Curriculum Committee, Archaeology Student Departmental Advisor.

What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective student-athletes?   

Being friends with your teammates is terrific, but it is also critical to make friends on other teams and outside the athletics community to fully be a part of the Carleton community.

What is a favorite memory you have of your head coach?

Coach Bob made a gutsy decision to substitute Bryan Kim for me before the MIAC championship penalty shootout against Augsburg. I know penalties are not my strongest area in goalkeeping, and I had complete trust that he was making the correct call. I had played a strong 110 minutes, and when he told me that Bryan was going in I think we had a moment of mutual connection and hunger to win the game. After we won the shootout, Coach Bob gave me a big hug and told me how much he appreciated my attitude toward the whole situation.

Aaron Forman.

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