YORK, Pa. – The Capital Athletic Conference continued its release of its end of year awards on Thursday, announcing its Medal of Inspiration winners, and Salisbury University senior Breck Sullivan was one of three honorees.
The Medal of Inspiration is awarded to individuals from the CAC who have persevered through extraordinary circumstances and whose determination, devotion, and passion are exemplary, revered among their peers, and worthy of special recognition.
Sullivan finished her playing career in field hockey this past fall, helping Salisbury to a four-year record of 65-13 record, three CAC titles, four NCAA tournament appearances, the national semifinals in 2014, and the national championship game in 2013, but Sullivan had to battle injuries from her first practice on campus.
A top recruit four years ago, Sullivan sprained her ankle on the first lap of her first preseason run. It was the first of numerous injuries to plague her throughout her four-year career. By midseason of her freshman campaign she was getting regular playing time until a right hamstring strain sidelined her for the remainder of the season. As a sophomore, injuries kept her out of the entire season until the semifinal round of the NCAA tournament. Even knowing there was a possibility she could make the injury worse, she played, and saw her worst nightmare come true, tearing the hamstring in the first half. But she didn't come out of the game, playing through the pain of the torn hamstring during the second half of the contest, helping her team to the win and a trip to the national championship game.
Working through the off-season again, she attempted to heal and strengthen her hamstrings in order to participate during her junior year. She was able to start every game that year, but spent almost all of her down time in the athletic training clinic, going in for treatments early in the morning, and both before and after practice. She used painful trigger point therapy, where needles are placed in the skin to release the knots. She trained and played through the pain and helped the team to the NCAA Final Four. She was named a captain during her senior season and yet again battled through a strained hamstring throughout the year. However, she played in all but one game her senior year and showed why she is one of the toughest players in program history.
Sullivan accumulated numerous accolades during her career. She was one of three finalists across all three NCAA divisions for the prestigious Honda Inspiration Award, and was two-time first-team All-CAC selection (2014, 2015). She also claimed all-region second team honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) in 2015, earned first team ECAC Mid-Atlantic Region in 2014, was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team in 2014, and won the NCAA Elite 89 award in 2014.
Sullivan is the second Sea Gull to earn the CAC's Medal of Inspiration award since its inception in 2013.