There are certain intangibles in a basketball player that separate the good ones from the great ones.
Those intangibles: heart, hustle and leadership, can be used to describe John Carroll University senior Caitlin Sureck and help to explain why the starting forward on the women’s basketball team has had such an illustrious career.
Her coach, who sees Sureck’s hard work on a daily basis, has nothing but high praise for the Walsh Jesuit graduate.
“Caitlin has a very strong presence and great heart,” said head coach Kristie Maravalli. “She has been one of the best, if not the best, team leaders that we’ve had. Caitlin does everything well and she’s been a blessing [to coach].”
On the laundry list of things that Sureck does well is playing in the low post, averaging 13.8 points, and a team-high eight rebounds per game despite drawing extra attention from the opposition’s post players.
And while those numbers are great, she really stands out in blocked shots, with her name being etched into the top spot on the all-time list in that category. That will happen when you average just a hair under 2.4 blocks per game your senior year.
“It was pretty cool,” Sureck said of the record. “In high school I never really blocked shots. I really don’t know where it came from, but it’s my biggest accomplishment here at John Carroll so far.”
Sureck said it’s her biggest accomplishment at the University, and that means something coming from a student-athlete with the resume she has.
Sureck is an exercise science/physical therapy major and on the Dean’s List.
On top of that, she has worked at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and is a Eucharistic minister. In the fall, she works as an athletic trainer for the football team.
Sometimes, out of necessity, Sureck serves that role in the winter, too.
“When we have a 6 a.m. practice, it’s too early for the trainers, so I tape my teammates’ ankles,” said Sureck.
To some that may sound tedious, but Sureck laughs and explains why she does it.
“We do everything together,” she said of her teammates. “They’re like my family.”
Taping ankles, while just a small gesture, is one of the “little things” Sureck does to help out her team any way that she can.
“She is always organizing team activities off the court,” coach Maravalli said of the senior forward. “Not even just this year, but for all four of her years. She’s a great teammate.”
After this season, Sureck hopes to enroll in graduate school next year to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Her team will clearly miss her. It’s tough to replace almost 14 points and eight rebounds a game.
It might be even tougher to find someone that is willing to tape those ankles, too.