For the first time in 2017-18, the Bucknell Athletics Leadership Institute is recognizing Leaders of the Month. Candidates for Leaders of the Month are nominated by coaches based on leadership qualities demonsrated on and off the field. The April 2018 honorees are a pair of seniors from the Bison diamond sports: Celina Antonellis of the softball team and Mike Stephens of the baseball squad. 

Each of the recipients was asked for their thoughts on various elements of leadership.

CELINA ANTONELLIS, Softball (Principal Leader)

Celina Antonellis is a catcher and outfielder on the Bison softball team. An English/creative writing and political science double major from Groton, Mass., Celina carries a perfect 4.0 GPA and is a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree. This spring, she received Bucknell's Edward W. Pangburn Award, presented to a senior athlete for sportsmanship, fellowship, and contribution to the University. 

What is your favorite part about being a leader? What is the toughest? 

My favorite part about being a leader is the accountability. Knowing that, good or bad, I am partly responsible for what my team achieves is a great responsibility to have. The toughest part about being a leader is having the confidence to know that I am good enough to represent my team. My teammates deserve the best possible leader, and it’s tough to believe that I can be that person.

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why? 

There hasn’t been a most important moment. Leadership is what happens in the big, high pressure moments, as well as in the little, day-to-day moments. Despite having the captain label, every person on the team has been a leader and has had an infinite number of leadership moments throughout the season, all of which have been equally important to our success.

What "gets you up in the morning?" 

My teammates get me up in the morning (sometimes literally, on the off chance that I miss my alarm). There is no group of individuals that I view more highly than I do my teammates. I love them immensely and want to be the best teammate I can be for them, and that’s what drives me every day: the need to serve my team.

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders? 

Listen. The best leader is a servant; do everything you possibly can to help your teammates, in whatever capacity they need.


MIKE STEPHENS, Baseball (Principal Leader)

Mike Stephens is a senior submarine-style relief pitcher from Frisco, Texas. Mike allowed only one run in 17 innings for a 0.53 ERA as a freshman, and he was a key part of the Bison bullpen for the next four years. He tossed two scoreless innings against Army in the Patriot League Tournament to close out his career. Off the field, Mike is a Dean's List student in accounting & financial management.       

What are the elements of leadership that you are working hardest on?

My favorite part about being a leader is seeing my teammates succeed both on and off the field. It is truly rewarding to be surrounded by a group of guys that are able to push me just as hard as I push them, allowing me to grow as a person every day. The toughest part is staying positive when you aren’t having the individual success that you’ve strived for. It is necessary to put the team’s goals ahead of your own when it comes to your attitude and your reactions to your personal challenges.

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why? 

The most important leadership moment on my team this year was when the pitchers and positon players were able to put our differences in opinions aside and come together as a unit to work towards our goal of a Patriot League Championship.

What "gets you up in the morning?" 

My family, friends, and teammates. They are my support system that motivates me to be successful in everything I do.

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders? 

As a leader, it is important to maintain balance between your sport, education, and social life. It will prevent you from burning out while still allowing you to maintain perspective, strengthen relationships, and perform at a high level both athletically and academically. You also have to lead by example whether it is in the classroom, the weight room, or on the field. You can’t expect more from your teammates than what you are willing to give up yourself.