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Hockey: How Blake Rossi balanced his time at Ohio

While reflecting on his senior year, one word came to Blake Rossi's mind: fast

Most people say that your college years fly by. One day you're moving into your first dorm on campus and searching for your first classes. The next, you're saying goodbye to your home for the past four years and graduating. 

That statement, "time flies," is especially true for Rossi. It feels like just yesterday, the Latrobe, Pennsylvania native started his journey as a defenseman at Ohio. Although the last four years have been fun for Rossi, they've been anything but easy. 

The senior is earning his bachelor's degree in industrial system engineering, one of the more difficult majors at Ohio. Most of his courses require hours of studying. Combined with a demanding college sport, the workload is almost impossible to balance. 

Because of his schoolwork, Rossi had to make sacrifices during his Ohio career. While other players could show up to the rink hours before practice, Rossi used to get to Bird Arena with only five minutes to spare. He had classes right before and after practice, which didn't give him as much time to improve his skills as his teammates. 

While hockey is important to Rossi, as he's been playing for 20 years, school always comes first.

"It was really hard to balance," Rossi said. "I had my ups, I had my downs. When I was at my downs, there were times when I didn't even want to come to the rink, like I was so stressed with school." 

Rossi's classwork also severely limited his social life and time to bond with his teammates. When the guys would hang out, he often had to stay behind to focus on his 18 credit hour class load. Not spending enough time with his friends, especially the upperclassman on the team during his freshman and sophomore years, is one thing that Rossi regrets. 

He has found solace in other things, however. Rossi loves to be outdoors and uses golfing, fishing, walking and just driving around to get his mind off school.

Now that he's only taking 12 credit hours and nearing the end of his education, Rossi has been able to focus more on his final season as a hockey player. It has still been challenging, but not as taxing as years past. He's been able to enjoy time at the rink and not rush. 

The extra time Rossi has dedicated to hockey is visible in games. The senior has played in 35 this season and scored five goals. His 17 total points are more than he's had in the last two seasons combined. 

Not only that, Rossi has been more impactful on Ohio's penalty kill this year. He used to hate blocking shots but has fallen in love with it since coming to Ohio. His accomplishments on both sides of the ice have made him one of Ohio's most valuable players this year. 

"I transitioned to a completely different player here, and I love it," Rossi said.

Rossi played in his final game at Bird Arena Saturday, and there were a lot of emotions. While he was sad, he was also excited for his senior night.

"A lot of people ask me like 'are you sad it's going to be your last game in Bird Arena?' and yes, absolutely, but also very, very happy (because) all the enjoyment it's gonna bring," Rossi said. "We're getting celebrated, and I'm really excited." 

Rossi finished Saturday night with one assist, helping Ohio score its second goal in the 4-3 win. 

Although Rossi played his last game in Bird Arena, he's not done yet. Like the rest of Ohio, he's got his eyes on a national championship in Boston later this month. The team is confident that this is Ohio's best chance to win a title in a while.

"I'm really excited to see how it goes," Rossi said. 


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