22 Sports, One Team III

Sara Peretti ‘23 is a star on the court and as the president of Head in the Game.

The student-led organization Head in the Game was founded in the spring of 2021 by Joel Hark ‘22, two-year captain of the golf team, and Natalie Smith ‘22, an essential leader in softball’s bid to the NCAA Tournament. Following their graduation the club, focus on prioritizing the mental health of the athletes here at Muhlenberg, needed new leadership to keep the group’s momentum moving forward. The answer? Star women’s basketball forward Sara Peretti ‘23.

Peretti has taken the helm of the organization and is teaching the athletes of Muhlenberg how to care for their minds. “After being the secretary of the executive board since the beginning of this club, under former co-presidents Joel and Natalie, my intention is to carry their standards through the future of Muhlenberg. They set very high standards, and we all shared one common goal: to increase mental health awareness amongst the student-athlete community. This passion for spreading awareness and forming this community over the past three years has been a very special experience for myself, and with knowing how much it took for this to happen, I only want this community to continue growing into everything it can be,” Peretti said. 

Many people hear that athletes have a lot on their plate, but not all know what that plate consists of. Along with (at least) the normal workload of any college student, every week is a grind, as almost every day of the week–even during their off-season–athletes must usually take part in some sort of team activity. Whether it’s a 7:00 a.m. lift, 6:30 a.m. conditioning practice, or a game/match, the schedule of an athlete can sometimes become overbearing, especially when also trying to experience the social life of a college student.

Not only does Peretti have to prepare for the grind of the basketball season, which begins in less than a month, but she’s also had to transition Head in the Game from being led by its founders to now being directed by her and Vice President Caleya Tereska ‘23, volleyball defensive specialist. “The transition into the lone president position has been challenging but incredible. There are many other student-athletes on the [executive] board that aid in the weekly planning of meetings and handle all other aspects of the club ranging from fundraising to social media and event planning. Although we have different titles and descriptions within the club, we have formed a tight-knit and collaborative community that has worked very well. I have a busy academic schedule with being a biology major enrolled in three biology labs this semester. Other members of the [executive] board also have busy schedules, so we make it work with open communication.”

After being part of the organization since its early days, Peretti knows that some weeks the club may vary in the way it is run depending on the schedules of all of its members. According to her, that is the beauty of it. When speaking about what she plans to do throughout the year, Peretti said: “My plan for the rest of the year is not set in stone. That’s the beauty of the club, believe it or not. It is not perfect and it will not be perfect. I have endless ideas for discussion-based group meetings, but there are some weeks when I notice exams and work are kicking into high gear for most people, so I’ll want to plan a group de-stressor activity. Those activities can range from taking a walk, watching football, or doing homework in good company. The [executive] board and I are currently working on a fundraiser to raise money for a speaker. I would love to incorporate an educational aspect into the club as Joel and Natalie did last year because it is certainly important for athletes to be aware of their nutritional, physical and mental needs.” 

There’s no denying that Head in the Game, which Peretti defines as  “a community of student-athletes that meet weekly to discuss and educate themselves about the many mental health challenges they face daily,” has been and will continue to be, a great addition for the student-athletes of Muhlenberg.


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