Hartford, Conn. - In recent weeks the professional sports world witnessed several class-act athletes rise to the top of their respective sports. From Jeremy Lin to Tim Tebow, highlighted athletes are becoming positive role models and men with strong Christian values. The Trinity College campus holds an athlete with equally strong character in their basketball captain, 6-foot-8 center Chris Applegate (High Point, N.C), the only senior on a roster that includes 11 first year students. After sitting down with Chris, I got to witness first hand the class with which he comports himself and how he handles the responsibility of being a leader.
Q: What do you attribute most to your great career at Trinity?
A: I have to attribute all my success at Trinity to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He gave me the ability and strength to go out and give it my all everyday, and stick with it even when times were so hard. Without Him, I would have never made it and been where I am today. I have always believed in my teammates. For my first three years, I had great guys to look up to who really set the bar high for myself and for the program. It was a very rewarding and learning experience to learn from so many guys who gave their all into every practice and every game. And now this year with so many new faces and young guys, a strong core remained behind to carry on the foundation of the team.
Q: Your the 16th Trinity player ever to record 500 rebounds. Does achieving this mark mean a lot to you?
A: Honestly, with regards to the 500 rebounds I did not even know about the stat until I heard about it on Senior Day. I thought it was pretty cool, but I didn't even think twice. I was definitely proud of the accomplishment, but basketball is a team game, and yet again, this would not have been possible whatsoever without the guys I have had around me.
Q: You're involved in Teach for America. Will you incorporate any basketball references in your lesson plans to keep the kids interested?
A: I am certainly going to draw on as many basketball and athletic references as I can when teaching, especially if my students are drawn and intrigued to the sport. I remember growing up and looking at basketball players as super heroes. If there are still kids out there like me, which I'm sure there are, I will use as many basketball references and descriptions as I can. Basketball is what got me through the day as a kid, so the opportunity to hear something new about it in class would definitely make me more interested in school. Kids will learn and have fun when they can relate to their subject matter
Q: You've seen three coaches come through the Trinity basketball circuit. Do you sometimes feel you are the most tenured Bantam basketball player?
A: [laughs] No, I don't really feel like I am the most tenured basketball player at all. With the season being over, it certainly brings about a great change in my life. My games may be over, but now I'm just a different part of the Trinity family that grows larger and stronger every year. We have had three coaches since I've been here, and now I believe the program is right where it needs to be to reclaim its success. My season may be over but I will always be a Bantam. That will never change. Now I will just be sitting with my former teammates in the bleachers or watching on the web rather than playing on the court.
Q: Speaking of family, you have siblings going to very different schools than Trinity and are involved in interesting things. What sort of intriguing activities do your siblings partake in?
A: I certainly have siblings all over the country now. It's crazy. So my sister, who is the oldest, is attending graduate school at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and has aspiring hopes to be a champion on Jeopardy. My older brother who was the football captain at Elon University is managing a restaurant back home in North Carolina. My older brother was the reason why I always wanted to play basketball growing up as we used to play day after day in the driveway back home. And my younger brother is living his dream down in a Southern fraternity at Alabama University. Roll tide
Q: Roll Tide indeed. How would you react if someone called you the face of Trinity basketball on the Trinity Campus?
A: If someone called me the face of Trinity basketball, I would be honored and certainly humbled. But I don't deserve it at all. Without a doubt, Trinity basketball has been my life for the last four years. But this has been the same for all my teammates. There are so many guys who make our family work. It all starts with Coach Cosgrove and it goes all the way down to the last guy on the roster. No one man deserves this credit.
Q: Regardless of your humility, I for one think you are the most NBA ready player on campus. Are there any NBA players you model your game after?
A: The athletes I model my game after would have to be Tyler Hansbrough and Tim Tebow because of their work ethic and determination. Now I know Tebow plays in the NFL, but he is the ideal leader and athlete in my eyes. All he cares about is his teammates. He understands that the most important thing is not the game itself, but the way in which it is played. I love that about him and I don't know how you can't pull for a guy like that.
Applegate's leadership was vouched for by his head coach, James Cosgrove, and sophomore guard, Len Chenfield. "Chris was the best captain I've ever had," says Chenfield, "He honestly put the team before anything and was constantly the hardest worker in practice on the team." The work ethic Chris displayed was contagioius for his teammates, as they fed off his relentless energy en route to a difficult 10-14 season. It was a tough end to the senior's career, but his leadership will live on for future Bantam basketball teams. "Being the one senior, his responsibilities were really magnified," says Chenfield, "And he rose to the occasion." Despite the tragic end, it is no doubt Applegate's tremendous example will live on at the campus he loves so much.
written by Jack Owens'13