However, through her years participating in sports at St. John Paul II, senior Melissa Van Cott couldn’t help but encounter her dad – assistant coach Pat Van Cott – who has been closeby for many sporting seasons.
The elder Van Cott was girls’ varsity baseball coach last season, serves as an assistant this winter for new coach Gus Adams and also is an assistant with the Lions girls’ lacrosse team under head coach Russell Tierney.
“It’s something that’s really special to me,” said Melissa of the relationship with her dad. “We, surprisingly, don’t get really angry with one another. We laugh a lot.”
While some teenagers may not want their parents around to be a part of these high school moments, it’s just the opposite for Melissa and her dad.
“We don’t have the chance to cross paths a lot during the day with him at work and me at school, so it’s an outlet when we go to practice,” she said. “We share the love of sports and I know it’s helped us to grow closer.”
Melissa grew up in Sandwich, where her two older brothers, Sean and Nick, both played lacrosse and basketball while attending Sandwich High School. Her mom Lisa is a nurse and teacher at Cape Cod Community College.
When it was time to head to high school, Melissa opted to attend St. John Paul II.
“Making the decision to come here was one of the biggest decisions I ever had to make,” she said, “but it was one of the best ones. I’m so happy I had the chance to attend (JPII).”
Aside from basketball, Melissa was a middle hitter and defensive specialist on the volleyball team coached by Shannon and Haley Kennedy-Cabral in the fall and in the spring is a midfielder on the lacrosse team.
Of the three sports, basketball has been the one she has been at the longest, going back to when she was a second grader.
She mused that she and teammate Cait Mehl are in their ninth season together playing basketball.
“We’ve set our goal on winning a league title this season,” she said, noting that with Mehl, 6-2 junior transfer Skylar Gonzales, Alex Palmer, Sarah LoPiccolo and Ashleigh Reen, the season shows great promise.
20 Questions with Melissa Van Cott
1. Favorite subject: Biology
3. Favorite food: Pasta
4. Favorite movie: “Pretty in Pink”
5. Favorite TV show: “Friends”
6. Favorite Cape restaurant: K-Katie’s Burger Bar
7. Favorite Cape hangout: Sandy Neck Beach
8. Favorite sports team: The New England Patriots
10. Favorite ’pump-up” music: Usually any music from the ’70s/80s
11. Best advice I’ve received: “There is always room for improvement”
12. Person I’d most like to meet: James Franco
13. Hobbies and interests: Hanging out with friends and family, watching documentaries, and mountain biking
14. Own greatest sports moment: Winning the Massachusetts state basketball tournament with the Cape Cod Waves AAU basketball team
15. Most inspirational person: My father, Patrick Van Cott
17. Bucket list place to visit: San Francisco, California
18. Biggest sports setback or obstacle: Ongoing runner’s knee which flares up making a brace necessary, breaking my clavicle and missing the beginning of basketball season
19. College plans/major: I plan to attend a four-year college studying on pre-medical track in biology or chemistry in hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist
20. Advice to young athletes: It does not matter if you win or lose, the only thing that matters is that you played to the best of your abilities.