Thanks to pandemic-related fifth-year eligibility, standout student-athlete alumni continued earning sports accolades
In the spring of 2020, Peter DeMaria’s sophomore baseball season with the Jumbos was over before it began.
“I can still remember sitting in the locker room my sophomore year when Coach John Casey came in and told us that our season was just canceled,” DeMaria, A22, remembered.
After finishing a standout 2019 season with a .361 batting average, a team-high 40 RBIs, and two home runs, infielder DeMaria was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year and earned NESCAC All-Conference First Team Honors. DeMaria was optimistic for the 2020 season, but it turned out to be a devastating year for him and his teammates.
“I still had the ability and opportunity to continue my baseball career for a few years after that time so personally, I was OK,” DeMaria said. “But I still think of my teammates, especially the 2020 seniors, who were some of the best guys ever, who never got to play baseball again due to COVID.”
After graduation, DeMaria also got a bonus season. The NCAA allowed student-athletes impacted by the pandemic season shutdown one additional year of eligibility beyond the typical four-year period. With a bachelor’s in economics from Tufts, he decided to continue his education and his baseball career—this time at NCAA Division I Fordham University as a graduate student and baseball player.
“From the minute I started my recruiting process in high school, my family and I sat down and developed a strategy to be able to play baseball at a very competitive level while having the opportunity to obtain a tremendous education,” DeMaria said. “So, when I had my extra year of eligibility, I stuck with my plan.”
DeMaria’s plan is working in his favor. This spring, he earned Second Team All-Atlantic 10 performer honors, was a College Sports Communicators Academic All-District and Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference pick, and is working toward a master’s in finance from the Gabelli School of Business.
He’s happy to be enrolled closer to his hometown in New Jersey, and hopes to work in finance once he completes his degree.
“I’d love to pursue something in that field,” DeMaria said. “I will always love sports, so if the opportunity were to arise where I can pair both finance and sports together, I’d love to do that.”
Extending Their Playing Careers
DeMaria isn’t the only player to stretch playing time beyond graduation at Tufts.
While studying psychology and English as a Tufts undergraduate, Molly Laliberty, A22, found time to excel on the lacrosse field for the Jumbos. After having her sophomore season cut short due to COVID, Laliberty returned as starting goalie and allowed just 11 goals the next season.
She was named the 2021 IWLCA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Goalie of the Year, earning a spot on the IWLCA All-Region Team, as well as the NESCAC All-Conference team. Her senior year, she was awarded NESCAC All-Academic honors, and named IWLCA Division III Women’s Goalie of the Year for the second consecutive season with 405 career saves.
After Tufts, Laliberty went to Northwestern University to earn a post-baccalaureate business certificate, and joined the 2022-23 Wildcats women’s lacrosse teamstarted all 22 games for the Wildcats (21-1), leading to Northwestern taking the national championship in the final against Boston College. For the season she recorded 159 saves (.473 save percentage) and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team and the IWLCA All-Region Second Team.
At Tufts, Mac Bredahl, A22, was a dual Jumbo all four years, on the lacrosse field and the golf course . In his senior year on the lacrosse field, he was named to the All-NESCAC First Team, recorded team records in assists (77) and points (150), and led the team with 73 goals, tied for fourth-most in program history.
Although he earning honors such as the 2020 NESCAC and New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Player of the Year, Bredahl opted to focus on golf at Boston College for his final year of eligibility, where he is working toward a master’s of business administration in the Carroll School of Management. As an Eagle, Bredahl was one of four golfers named to the All-ACC Academic team, with 19 rounds under his belt and a 76.2 stroke average.
Isaac Gorelik, E22, captained the Jumbo men’s tennis team as a senior, when he played in the No. 1 singles spot, earning himself the national ranking of No. 3 that same year. He helped lead the program to its first appearance in the NCAA final four in 2022 and was named a two-time ITA All-American.
After Tufts, Gorelik entered the master’s degree in computer science program at Stanford University, and took up tennis again. At Stanford, he was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete and to the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll, notching a pair of wins at the ITA Northwest regional championships.
Max Waldbaum, A21, was a standout lacrosse player for Tufts his sophomore through senior years; his 68 goals in 2019 are fifth-most all-time in Jumbo lax-men history. He went on to play two seasons at Jacksonville University, one the extra pandemic-related bonus, while earning a master’s of business administration degree.
He was an All-American at Jacksonville in 2022, scoring 48 goals with 24 assists for 72 points, the most for a single-season in team history. He was named the Preseason Player of the Year in the ASUN conference for 2023, though missed some games and finished with 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points in 13 contests.