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Brooke Falsion ’19

Brooke Falsion ’19 is a record setter. During her time at SUNY Potsdam, Falsion became the first All-American in the history of the SUNY Potsdam women’s soccer program. She was also the SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Year during her senior year, while setting several new SUNY Potsdam women’s soccer records, including being the all-time leading scorer with 46 career goals. Academically, she was just as impressive—recently graduating summa cum laude with a degree in exercise science.

Mark Misiak, the head coach for the women’s soccer team, was instrumental in bringing Falsion to SUNY Potsdam. He attended several of her high school soccer games and spoke with her about the benefits of joining the soccer team and pursuing a SUNY Potsdam education. “His motivation and determination to get me here, not only for sports, but for academics as well, ultimately led to my decision to attend SUNY Potsdam. I’m very appreciative of that because if I wasn’t recruited, I probably would have stayed home and I wouldn’t have experienced the friends, community and everything that the College has to offer,” she said.

Falsion was part of an impressive soccer program spearheaded by Misiak, a team that made the SUNYAC playoffs the last two years in a row. “You can really see what Misiak has to offer, not only for the soccer program but the school as well,” she said. “Through our success, he’s been able to recruit higher status individuals as well, so I only think the program can go up from here. I will definitely be watching some games on my phone next year. I can only hope for their success.”

"I am forever thankful that I chose SUNY Potsdam. I knew nothing about it four years ago, and now I know what it has to offer. I wish I could stay a little longer."

Falsion had a wildly successful career, the best in the history of the women’s soccer program. She was the first woman to become an All-American in the history of the program, she earned first-team All-SUNYAC and SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Year honors, and she set school records for the most career goals (46), most game-winning goals (12) and the most overall career soccer points (112). “It’s a great honor and obviously that wouldn’t be possible without the team and Misiak’s recruiting process. I can’t credit all my success to myself and what I do, I get passes from people. I get assists. Rylie Murray has been a huge contributor to my success in the soccer world,” she said.

Falsion’s athleticism led her to also join the softball team at SUNY Potsdam—leading the squad as the captain her senior year. She set new records there as well—become the all-time leader in stolen bases (56), runs scored (95) and games played and started (138). She also formed new friendships and bonds that made her feel right at home. “I’ve been able to gain a second family from playing softball, so I’m very thankful for that. All my best friends come from these two sports that I play,” she said.

She also thrived academically and found a new home with SUNY Potsdam’s welcoming community. “The SUNY Potsdam community has been a huge support, not only in sports, but academically as well. Every professor is very understanding of the whole student-athlete experience. I would just stress that the community is honestly my favorite part of SUNY Potsdam and the best part of choosing this campus,” she said.

Falsion, left, stands with Hewitt the day before SUNY Potsdam's 2019 Commencement ceremony.

Within the exercise science program, Falsion took classes in personal training and kinesiology, gaining a better understanding of the functions of the human body. “I love exercise science! It’s because of the teachers in the program. Tanya Hewitt, God bless her, she is absolutely amazing! She’s the person who started the program and she has been nothing but helpful with literally everything—whether it was academics or real-life situations, she was there,” she said.

After taking a personal training class with Hewitt, Falsion did an internship at Agape Physical Therapy in Brockport, N.Y. During her time there, she implemented skills learned from Hewitt’s class—helping elderly clients improve their form during exercise sessions. “Hewitt’s class helped me succeed during the internship and help the people I was working with,” she said.

“In exercise science, you’re always trying to maintain the body and not let it deteriorate, and this major helps with that—concepts such as maintaining your normal bodily functions and the way that your skeleton moves on a daily basis. You learn about these topics through classes like kinesiology with Dr. Christopher Torres, a professor who was very helpful,” Falsion said.

Out of the classroom and off the field, Falsion bonded with a network of friends that included her fiancé, Jakeb Mitchell ’20, a goalie on the men’s soccer team. The two met in high school and both made SUNY Potsdam their new home. During a trip to St. Johns, Antigua, over the winter break, Mitchell found a quiet beach to propose to his longtime girlfriend. “We went on a cruise and found the perfect beach, he went down on one knee there,” Falsion said.

The couple has been able to support each other during their time at the College. “We are super competitive. Over the summer we would always train together. Sometimes, he’d like me to say this, he runs miles faster than me. It was nice having that counterpart to not only have the motivation, but the support in general for those tough days or the really high points in your career,” Falsion said. “I really appreciate the people who have made SUNY Potsdam home! It’s really sad to leave it, that’s for sure. Thankfully, I have Jake for one more year, so I can vicariously live through him.”

With her summa cum laude tassels dangling over her shoulders, and her student-athlete stole displayed in front of her gown, Falsion recently walked across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She has her sights set on becoming a registered nurse, and after taking a couple of electives this fall, she plans to enter a fast-track nursing program in her hometown of Brockport. Whatever path she chooses will be focused on the health field and be tied to her roots in exercise science, and her double minors in community health and nutrition.

“I am forever thankful that I chose SUNY Potsdam. I knew nothing about it four years ago, and now I know what it has to offer,” Falsion said. “I’m definitely thankful for the experience! I wish I could stay a little longer, that’s for sure.”

Article and photos by Jason Hunter