Athletes Warehouse coach, Cassie Reilly-Boccia sat down with AW athletes, Ashley Stilo and Rilea Fusco. Ashley and Rilea both played high school lacrosse at Yorktown together before going on to start their collegiate careers. Ashley is now a sophomore at Virginia while Rilea is a freshman at Syracuse. Both athletes are extremely dedicated to improving themselves in all areas of their life. As rewarding as it is to train these athletes, it is even more rewarding getting tow know them as people. Hopefully you can enjoy this quick glimpse into why they are both extremely successful in all aspects of their life.


On routines and superstitions…

“Right before every draw, I’d say, “One” squeeze my left hand and that got me zoned in for each play.” -RF

“Even though you have your superstitions, it doesn’t mean that everything has to happen in a particular way. If you rely on them, you’re going to end up in a poor mental state for your game. It’s all about finding a balance in allowing things to happen but still knowing what to do in order to prepare yourself for the game.” -RF

On overcoming adversity…

“When I play defense, there are a bunch of times that I’m going to get beat. It’s just something that happens. What helps me when facing this adversity is having the team huddle right after a play and assessing what happened. Just knowing I didn’t let my team down and instead my teammates have my back is what helps me shake it off and move on to the next play.” -AS

“It’s always great to have people believe in you. It is definitely something that boosts your confidence.” -RF

“It doesn’t matter if you made a mistake, it’s bound to happen. Someone’s always going to make a mistake because no one is perfect. It’s all about how your teammates respond to it and how your team gathers behind you to fix the problem and get it back.” -RF

On winning a Section Championship…

“The mindset for that game completely changed. It was no longer an issue when something went wrong, it was immediately, ‘Ok, so what, we’ll get it back.’ -AS

“It wasn’t that the teams in the past didn’t have enough talent, because we had a lot of talent on teams before, if not more. It was 100% the mental game that made the difference.” -RF

On playing for Yorktown Lacrosse…

“It’s not just that you’re playing for yourself and your team, you’re playing for the whole entire town. You know they are going to be pumped up for you, everyone wants it for you and in turn, you want it for them.” -RF

“When we left for States, we had a police escort and our town had signs set up all along route 202. There were so many people rooting for us and wanting it for us. It was amazing.” -AS

“The love for Yorktown shows based on how many people come back and stay and want to see the younger generations spur.”  -RF

On deciding on college…

“Why I wanted to go to a bigger school: I always knew that it would challenge me. It is a challenge you are willing to face because you know that you will definitely become a better player.” -RF

“You are a part of something bigger than just yourself playing.” -AS

“The family atmosphere was huge for me. Our coaches are like our parents and they genuinely care about us and ask us about our lives. It helps us to connect on a different level outside of lacrosse.” -AS

“We get to play with some of the best of the best in the country. It makes you want to rise to that level and fight for a spot. That’s our competitive side. You’ll eventually be able to say to yourself, ‘I was obviously recruited here for a reason.’ Now I know I’m going to be challenged to be the best that I can be.” -AS

On advice for managing the busy schedule of a college athlete…

“Use your resources. Academic coordinators, sports psychologists, nutritionists, coaches – there are so many people that you can go to for help if you are struggling with anything. That has been extremely helpful for staying on top of time management.” -AS

“Planners! Use your planner. Just being able to write everything down instead of piling it into my brain takes about 10 pounds of stress off of me.” -RF

On what training at Athletes Warehouse has meant…

“Going into my freshman year of college, I didn’t use a trainer over the summer. Even though I was motivated and worked out a lot on my own leading up to college, I realized how harder the runs and lifts were once I got there. When I came home after my first year, I talked to my parents and looked into getting a trainer. After training for an entire summer at Athletes Warehouse and going back to school, I saw the biggest difference. Strength, conditioning, and mental. I was able to not psych myself out before running tests and it made such a huge impact.” -AS

“The trainers invest so much of their life into the people that they train. It really makes you feel like you’re important.  They want you to be the best. And you want to do your best not only for yourself but for your trainers. Because they are putting so much time and effort into it and you just want to prove to them that you can be just as great as they think you can be.” -RF

Advice to give yourself before you left for college…

“Embracing change. Don’t fear it. Use your nerves to push you. Instead of dwelling on how different college is from high school, turn it into a positive and realize how much better college can be from high school.” -AS

“Know that it’s not going to be exactly how you expect it to be. You’re going to have times when your confidence is at it’s lowest. Know that you’re going to be ok and you’re going to come out stronger because of it. Even though that sounds cliche, it’s true.” -RF

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