Matthew Sauli approaches his school work the same way he prepares for a hockey or baseball game - like it’s a challenge.
“I’m competitive,” said Sauli, a junior honor student at Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood. “I want to get good grades. The better I do, the better it makes me feel.”
Sauli’s been feeling good for a while now. He was the Valedictorian at his elementary school, Immaculate Conception, and in his first two years at Molloy, earned straight A’s, with a 99 average. This year, taking advanced placement and honor courses in English, math, history, Italian and physics, he’s dropped down to a 96.
Keeping his grades up is tough when you factor in the time baseball and hockey require. In the spring and fall, Sauli, a second baseman on the baseball team, is busy practicing almost every day. And in the winter, although varsity hockey doesn’t take up as much time as baseball, he also plays travel hockey with the Great Neck Bruins of the Long Island Hockey League.
“Sometimes I do my work before games or practices if I have a free period,” he said. “But most of the time I do it after. There are some late nights, but I usually get it done.”
Sauli, an Astoria resident, says his favorite class is history, because “I like to see how things worked out leading up until now. What exactly led up to me being here?” He particularly enjoyed studying the Revolutionary War.
But Sauli’s true passion, what drives him and gets his blood pumping, is sports. When he isn’t out playing one of his favorite sports or catching up on his homework, Sauli, an avid New York Rangers and New York Yankees fan, will be following them on television or live at one of their games. His favorite memory is attending Game 5 of the Subway Series between the Yankees and New York Mets in October, 2000.
“He’s a very intelligent kid,” Molloy hockey coach Rich Rodgers said. “He’s one of those kids you could diagram a play on the bench for and he would be smart enough to execute it right the first time. He’ll do whatever you need him to do.”
As a sophomore, Sauli volunteered to play defense for the first time - Molloy’s weakness at the time. “He put himself in a tough position but he helped the team out tremendously.”
Sauli would love to play either baseball or hockey professionally, but at just 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, he understands that is quite unlikely. Sauli’s already narrowed down his career aspirations to sports management or marketing. A nine-to-five office job is not his cup of tea.
“I really love sports and anything to do with that obviously appeals to me,” he said. “Whether it would be [a career] with players or public relations with a team or setting up events with the team, that interests me. I can’t think of a life without sports.”
Hockey player makes the grade