Whether it's hitting the books, staying busy athletically or making time for others, one central theme runs through Nikki Rosa's life: she's a go-getter.
A four-year starter in three sports — soccer, basketball and lacrosse — Rosa will continue her career on the hardcourt when the two-time Big Blue captain plays hoop at Roger Williams University.
A three-time Northeastern Conference all-star in basketball, she went from a team facilitator and defender in her ninth grade season to the squad's primary scorer and a team leader as a senior. She could play every position from point guard to center, according to her coach, Katelyn Leonard, scoring points and pulling down rebounds while guarding the other team's best player.
"Nikki played any role we asked, (and) she did it without any questions asked," said Leonard. "Every game, there was no question we were going to get her best."
Her athletic excellence went beyond the baseline, however. When the Swampscott girls soccer team needed a goalie, she moved from her field position in between the pipes and led her team to the state semifinals last fall. In lacrosse, she moved from midfielder back to defense when the Big Blue needed help there, and again she excelled.
"Many players would have pushed back on a move like this, but Nikki saw what the team needed and embraced the lower profile position," said Al Eaton, who coached her in both soccer and lacrosse. "Her highly aggressive play style added a missing element to our defense, (and) this helped us become the No. 11 defense statewide and earning her rare defensive Northeastern Conference all-star accolades.
"If you're on a team with Nikki," added Eaton, "be ready to play for keeps."
Ranked 41st in her senior class, Rosa is a member of the school's High Honor Roll and has taken five Advanced College Prep courses this school year, including English IV, Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry, and Spanish V. She has also been involved in Swampscott's Recycling Club and Peer Leaders all four years of high school, in addition to helping athletes compete in the Special Olympics.
"She is definitely a goal-oriented person who manages her time wisely," said Julie Mazzola, Rosa's school counselor. "Observing her ability to balance academics and extracurricular activities gives me great confidence to say she will be successful at the next chapter with both sports and course work."
"I cannot think of a more deserving student-athlete who represents all that high school athletics and education stand for," said Swampscott High athletic director Kelly Farley.
College you will be attending: Roger Williams University
What is your favorite book?: "Night" by Elie Wiesel
What is your favorite movie?: "Incredibles 2"
Who is your favorite singer?: Chance the Rapper
What is your favorite App?: Ball Blast
What is your favorite class in school?: Bio Ethics
What athletic feat are you most proud of?: Going into my sophomore year of varsity soccer, we had no goalie. My team came to me and said I would be great for the job, but I had never played goalie in my life. The team said 'You play basketball; you'll be great.' It wasn't what I wanted to do, as I love running the field and trying to score. I thought about it and said, 'If the team needs me, then that's what I have to do.' It took a lot of extra training and practice, but I made it and we went to the (playoff) quarterfinals that year — and I continued to play goalie for the rest of high school. We made it to the semifinals the following year, and this past season we were Northeastern Conference champions.
What does being a leader among your peers mean to you?: It allows me to set a good example for others, as well as allowing me to be a voice for those peers that don't feel they have a voice, whether in the classroom or on the field.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: I hope to be playing basketball overseas. This has always been a dream of mine.
What is something most people do not know about you?: Most people don't know that I have a brother. He's four years older than me, so even though we're very close, we just have different lives and different friends.