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Gigi Day ’22 and Mo Nuhu ’23 Discuss NESCAC Co-Rookies of the Year Recognition

Gigi Day ’22 and Mo Nuhu ’23 Discuss NESCAC Co-Rookies of the Year Recognition

Gigi Day ’22 and Mo Nuhu ’23 Discuss NESCAC Co-Rookies of the Year Recognition

COMMUNICATIONS

Nuhu and Day congratulated each other after being named co-Rookies of the Year.

Staff Writer

January 18, 2024

Jackson Grace '26

Gigi Day ’22 is a midfielder on the Middlebury College women’s soccer team. In her first season with the Panthers in 2023, Day was named to the All-NESCAC second team and NESCAC Co-Rookie of the Year along with Mo Nuhu ’23. She led Middlebury with 6 goals scored, including a brace against Williams, helping the team achieve a winning 6-4-5 record. During her Senior year at Hotchkiss, Day was co-captain of Girls Varsity Soccer. That season, she led the Bearcats to a record of 11-4-2 and the New England playoff quarterfinals. 


Mohammed Nuhu ’23, known to his teammates as “Mo,” is a forward on the Amherst College men’s soccer team. In his first season with the Mammoths, Nuhu was named first team all-NESCAC and NESCAC co-Rookie of the Year along with Day. He led Amherst with 8 goals, including a brace and game-winning goal in the NESCAC championship against Tufts, leading his side to a 17-3-4 record. During his Upper Mid year at Hotchkiss, Nuhu was co-captain of Boys Varsity Soccer. That season, he was the leading goal scorer for the Bearcats and was named an East Boys All-American. 


How has the school helped you grow as a player? 


Gigi Day ’22: Hotchkiss has helped me grow as a player, because it has provided a space where I have been able to feel comfortable making mistakes and had the support around me to learn from those mistakes on the field. My teammates and coaches have made playing soccer fun, which allowed me to grow my love for the game and as a player. 


Mo Nuhu ’23: Hotchkiss has helped me grow so much as a soccer player. The coaches and players I was fortunate enough to work with were all amazing. I was pushed every day in practices and in games to be better than I thought I was. The hard sessions, film reviews, friendships, and connections I made on the team really helped me to feel comfortable and motivated, which in turn helped me to be able to perform at my best. 


What are some of the differences between NESCAC and Founders League soccer? 


GD: The biggest difference is the speed of play. Everyone is older, bigger, faster, and stronger, so adjusting to that was quite challenging. People think incredibly quickly and always know what they are going to do next, so catching up to that level was the biggest adjustment, but the Founders League definitely helped me start to prepare. 


MN: NESCAC is a college league filled with very highly skilled players as well. The Founders League was not an easy league to play in, but the NESCAC is just a different level of soccer, because it’s college and not high school anymore, so the players are a lot better and the competition is a lot tougher as well. But they are both great leagues. 


Did you expect to be named Rookie of the Year and earn first team all-NESCAC honors? What does it mean to you? 


MN: Going into the season, I did not think for one second I was going to be NESCAC Rookie of the Year, and I was not even dreaming of making first team all-NESCAC because of how hard it is to do. My coaches and teammates at Amherst believed in me, and it is much easier to receive those awards when the players you are playing with are very talented and skilled players who just make me look good. Winning the Rookie of the Year and being first team all-NESCAC meant so much to me, because it is proof of how much work the team put in and how much we can achieve as a group. 


What does winning NESCAC Rookie of the Year mean to you? 


GD: I had absolutely no expectation of winning Rookie of the Year; I was honestly just happy to get on the field and contribute to the team. But winning validates all the hard work I’ve put into the sport over the past years, so that’s been really awesome. It also wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my teammates and coaches. 


What are some of your goals for the rest of your collegiate soccer career? 


GD: My goal is to win the NESCAC championship and have as much success as a team as possible. Everyone wants to win an NCAA championship as well, so that is of course always the main goal. MN: My goals for the rest of my collegiate career are simple. I want to win at least three NESCAC championships, and I already have one. My other goal is to win a NCAA championship. I would love to win some individual awards like NESCAC Player of the Year at least twice and maybe National Player of the Year once. These are not easy goals, and I will have to work extremely hard both with my team and individually. 


What is one of your favorite memories on your college team? 


GD: I really enjoyed preseason, because we were the only people on campus and got to bond and spend so much time together. I also loved playing Williams in our last game of the season and beating them, because that’s always been a big game for this team. 


MN: My favorite memory on the Amherst team was when we won the NESCAC tournament and went back to the locker room afterward to celebrate. We celebrated very well because we know it is not easy to win the best conference in DIII soccer, and that celebration made me realize how much winning means to us. My favorite memory of the Hotchkiss team was either beating NEPSAC Class A champions Northfield Mount Hermon or coming back down 2-0 to beating Westminster 3-2 in the last five minutes of the game. 


What would you say to players aspiring to play collegiate-level soccer? 


GD: Always remember why you play soccer and keep your love for the sport. There are a lot of challenges and setbacks along the way, so it’s important to remember that soccer is meant to be fun. Also, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication, so it’s important to stay disciplined and put in that effort while still having fun. It definitely took me a little to find this balance, but was important to get me where I am today. 


MN: For the Hotchkiss athlete who wants to play at the collegiate level, I would say put your head down and work as hard as you can. Even if it is as cliché as it sounds, the way to do that is to have people around you who you can trust and people who will be honest with you. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, be coachable, and want it more. Obsession is very good (when healthy) and being obsessed about wanting more will give you the right tools to make it.


Describe the game-winning goal in the NESCAC championship. What was going through your head? 


MN: It was very important for the team, because we had worked so hard to get there and the goal made so many dreams come true. The goal itself is still a little bizarre to me, because I do not remember most of the game. I was very focused on doing what needed to be done to win. The run, dribbling past three or four players, and scoring that goal was just all instinctual, because I was in autopilot mode. When I got the ball, I was thinking, “Do not lose this ball,” and then I ended up scoring. 


What does it mean to share Rookie of the Year honors with each other? 


GD: It is so awesome to share Rookie of the Year with Mo. I absolutely loved my time at Hotchkiss, and the fact that both of us are able to represent Hotchkiss within the NESCAC and college soccer is incredible to me. 


MN: Gigi is an amazing soccer player. I saw her play during our time at Hotchkiss, and I’ve always been amazed and wowed by how she plays. She is very technically gifted and her soccer IQ is something you cannot teach. I was not surprised at all that she won it, and we talked about it when we found out. She and I congratulated each other on the success.

Jackson Grace is a staff writer for The Record.

February 1st

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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