Well-round student is driven: ‘Helping others is the most important aspect of life’
By Ross Forman – Aidan Day has had quite the sporting career at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein – and he has already committed to run cross country in the fall at Loyola University Maryland. For the Corsairs, Day is the lone senior on the varsity hockey team. He also:
** Played varsity soccer as a sophomore and junior, and possibly will in the spring as it was postponed from the fall due to the pandemic;
** Played varsity tennis as a junior; and
** Competed on the varsity cross country and track teams.
Hockey is his favorite sport, thanks to his teammates, coaches, and fun memories that fill practices and games, he said. “There is never a dull moment with hockey; we always have something going on. It is always a blast with my teammates; they never struggle to make me laugh,” said Day, who wears uniform No. 22 on the ice, and No. 11 for soccer, and plays center and left wing at times.
Soccer was his favorite before the pandemic, he said. But, “I have not met my full potential in my soccer career, as I imagined,” Day said. “It was always my strongest sport and the one I committed most of my time to by playing club soccer as well.
“I ran cross country in grade school as my mom had been the coach at Saint Gilbert School in Grayslake. I qualified for state with my team two years in a row. I always enjoyed it, but never thought I would run again after eighth grade since cross country was always during soccer season. This year, due to the pandemic, I had the opportunity to run at Carmel, but was very unprepared for the cross-country season as I never realized until the week before the season started that I was signing up to run. I had missed summer camp for cross country and went into the season with no base. After the first race, I had become the top runner for our varsity team and held that position for the rest of the season. I had such an amazing time getting to meet new people on the team who eventually became some of my best friends. I had so much fun with cross country that I decided to look at my list of colleges that I had applied to and said, ‘Why not reach out to the cross country coaches and see what they say.’
Sure enough, Day will be a running Greyhound in the fall.
But he will never forget his sporting memories at Carmel – through all sports.
As a sophomore, for instance, he played on the school’s JV tennis team – and ironically, he long had been partners with hockey buddy Evan Morabito, who graduated last year. They played No. 2 JV doubles and faced Benet Academy in the first round of the conference tournament. “Their skill level was at a different level as these kids had been playing their whole lives,” Day said of their battle against Benet. “Evan and I had only been playing for two years, and though we knew the skill difference, we kept our heads in the game the whole time and ended up going into a tiebreaker.”
They ultimately defeated Benet to advance to the finals and became the #2 Doubles JV Conference Champions.
Day, 18, who lives in Grayslake, is much more than just an athlete. In fact, some of his greatest accolades and accomplishments have been off the ice. Just consider:
** He is a Carmel Catholic Student Ambassador, “which means I help out with a ton of events, such as open house tours, events for future Corsairs, lead Freshman Experience Day,” and more, Day said.
** He is a part of the Diversity and Equity Committee at Carmel. “We talk about how to make Carmel a better place and where we can improve,” he said. “We talk about how to make everyone feel like they are in the best environment possible for all of us to grow as a community and to have tough conversations with each other that need to be had.”
** He was in the Brand and Enrollment Task Force for Carmel. “I was the only student chosen to help with this task force, along with adults, which talks about where Carmel can improve for the future, and how else we should brand ourselves for future Corsairs.”
** He is part of the Street Scenes student show, which involves singing and dancing. “This has been a different experience for me but am enjoying getting closer to the other students in the show.”
** He was a part of the St. Jude Leadership Society and then a mentor for the Society.
** He was a member of Model United Nations at Carmel, and then the leader of the club until the start of the pandemic. “In Model United Nations my sophomore year, we had a four-day conference in Chicago where we met people from all different countries, talked about how to solve problems in the world.”
** He is a Senior Leader for retreats at Carmel, helping underclassmen on their spiritual journey at Carmel.
Day’s work with St. Jude is as good, as rewarding and as memorable as any overtime, game-winning goal against a Catholic League rival.
“St. Jude is an organization like no other to me,” Day said. “I had been a part of the St. Jude Leadership Society my sophomore, which was a life-changing event. I learned so much through this program about leadership and the necessity to help those around you. Before this program I knew very little about St. Jude. In the program we had sessions where we discussed St. Jude as an organization and their purpose. We also learned about the leadership it took to make St. Jude Children’s Hospital a reality. In the program the purpose for us was to take leadership and put it together with their purpose: saving lives. We had to raise at least $2,500 for the program. In the end, after we all completed our fundraisers and leadership sessions, we had a final session down in Memphis, Tennessee at the hospital.
“This is where the life-changing event came in. Walking around the hospital, you got to see what you had been working toward. It was unreal to see what these families had been going through with their children. This was an event like no other to me. It was amazing to see the hope that lives there.”
Day’s fundraising for St. Jude came through a golf outing at Glen Flora Country Club in Waukegan, which included sponsors and donations.
He ultimately raised $12,839 for St. Jude, which was the second-largest fundraising total in the country for the Leadership Society.
“Helping others is the most important aspect of life,” Day said. “When you do good for others, it is honestly better than achieving something for yourself. To bring joy to someone else, even through the little things, like holding the door for someone, is important. I went on two mission trips with Catholic Heart Work Camp in my years at Carmel. They were some amazing experiences as we got to serve and help others in need. One of the years, we painted an elderly woman’s house and fixed up her yard. Her smile at the end was priceless.”
Day has shined in the classroom at Carmel, too. “I am taking two dual-credit courses and one AP course, along with an honors class. I earned a 4.25 grade point average last semester, and my cumulative average is a 3.86 over my four years,” he said with pride.
History is his favorite subject. Honors math is his most challenging class this year, while Honors Biology held that title during his junior year.
On The Ice
Day, who formerly skated for Rinkside Maulers Hockey, was the Carmel JV assistant captain last season. He admittedly is not the most skilled player on the team, but he always gives 100 percent.
He credits his family, coaches, and others for his on-ice success.
“My dad has been an influence as he was my coach at Rinkside. My mom has also been an influence, coming to every game and with all of the car rides home talking about my play and how to improve as she is a big hockey fan,” Day said. “Also, one of my sisters, Sofia, has been an influence as she has come to as many of my games as possible, even when they are late at night, even if she had dance class before.
“Carmel Coach Eberhardt has been my head coach ever since my freshman year. He has developed me as a player and person every single year, and really pushes everyone to get to a level of themselves that they never knew was possible.”
As a sophomore, in the Chicago Catholic Hockey League playoffs, Carmel upset Providence Catholic in the first-round, in overtime. Day and his Corsair teammates advanced to the playoff finals that year – a best-of-3 series against Saint Viator. “Although we ended up losing, it was still one of the best memories as the intensity throughout the playoffs was great and we had so much positive energy coming off our win against Providence,” Day said. “I bring leadership and enthusiasm to the team. I believe that everyone plays better when they have fun while doing it. I always try to bring positivity to everyone on the bench, even if we go down a goal. I try to bring everyone up on the team through my effort on the ice – if I am trying my hardest, I always hope that they see it and then try their hardest as well.”
Slapshots With … Carmel Senior Aidan Day
Favorite NHL Team: Boston Bruins
Favorite NHL Player: Brad Marchand
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Rocky
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: Banana and a Cliff Bar
Little-Known Facts: “I was born in California … I try to surf every summer … I love cars.”
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Adam Sandler
Sporting Times: “I love golfing with my buddies (during) the summer. I believe that helps me as well as my running all the time (for hockey) as it keeps my endurance up. Soccer has helped with the aspect of learning how to move without the puck as in soccer that is one of the biggest things, getting into the right positions without the ball and playing the ball to where someone will be.”
Being The Lone Senior On The Team: “It is definitely a different experience than I ever expected, but has also been an amazing experience. I believe it has brought me closer to everyone else on the team, as we spend so much time together, on and off the ice. It is also more responsibility as I am the only one they get to look up to, so I always try my best to be the best role-model for everyone as they are all great teammates.”
Best Hockey Tip: “Winning battles wins games.” – Carmel Coach Paul Eberhardt
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Gianni Greco
Hardest Slapshot On Carmel: Kyler Gornick
Most Accurate Shot: Jacob Dankelson
Fastest Skater: Leon Swaitkowski
Best High School Uniforms (other than Carmel): Providence Catholic High School
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.